Finland is a pretty amazing place. For a start its 5.3 million population mainly live in the south because the north is a subarctic climate and at Finland’s northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and does not rise at all for 51 days during winter. I also just found out that Finland is made up of 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 mÂ²) and 179,584 islands! This has absolutely no bearing on the post but I thought it was a pretty interesting fact! Now despite the harsh climate and according to my Finnish friend Kati the need for triple glazing and door frames that seal like fridge doors they produce some amazing talent. Finland seems to produce exceptional Rally drivers and Formula 1 drivers for instance. They also produce some great Luthiers. I recently featured Ruokangas Guitars out of Finland who have an impressive range of instruments and now I have discovered another great company, Amfisound Guitars. Scandanavia is well known for all things metal (albeit a little on the dark side) and have some interesting sub-genres like Melodic Death Metal, is that a paradox? Well anyway with all that metal being forged (ho ho) the Finns need someone to produce some axes worthy of their screaming solos.
I chose to feature the Arctic Kelo finish guitar because of its absolute uniqueness but be sure to check out all of their other models there are some great finishes. So first of all here is a quote from Amfisound about this finish:
“Getting bored with all those vintage and typical aged-style guitars which you can nowadays see everywhere?! Well, we did, so we wanted to develop something new and unique, something which no one else has and which truly represents the heart of our beautiful nature up here in the North. Kelo is Finnish and refers to a certain kind of old and dried-out silver-grey tree, which you can find in our vast forests.
The woods which are used in this series are maple and alder. We use our own special technique and 'œrecipes' to make the wood look like original old Kelo wood.
The hardware, including the frets (YES, also the frets), are blackened, aged, and rusted, just like all the other metal parts in this instrument series.”
They wisely keep their aging process close to their chest but they do mention that a guitar with this finish will take at least 8 months. I assume that is on top of any backorder waiting time so don’t expect to get a custom job built anytime soon unless you happen to be a Happy Satanic Thrash band residing in the Arctic Circle! A nice feature for these guitars is that you can order hand forged ornaments made by a professional Blacksmith designed specifically for you, you can see an example of these ornaments on the photo above. If you prefer you can also substitute metal for wood and have the ornaments aged in the same Kelo finish.
Some extra info I thought you would find interesting about how Amfisound started.
“The whole “story” started in 1997 when I and my company mate Sampo LeppÃ¤vuori were accepted at the guitar building school in Ikaalinen. That is the only school in Finland where you can study guitar building. Already there, we decided to start a company together, and after graduating we began to plan and prepare everything, so that in spring 2002 we were ready to start with our company Amfisound. Sampo takes care of all our basses and classic guitar styles and I am more specialized in metal guitars and extreme designs.
Why we are doing this? We love music and we have an endless passion for building and creating new things and for making musicians' dreams come true.Our policy is to make instruments which go together with the music and the image of the musicians. For us the instrument is part of the music, not just a tool.
Many companies offer plenty of different custom options in their custom quotes. But these options are standardized and limited. You just fill out the quote and try to get the guitar as cheap as possible. This is usually the way most of the companies work. We, however, prefer to discuss everything directly with the customer. Actually, the best ideas and the spirit of the instrument emerge and take shape when speaking about normal, everyday life and not just about guitars. And this is what makes a huge difference between us and normal custom companies. We do not have any standardized criteria or anything that puts a limit on what we can build for our customers. The main thing is to make YOUR sound and YOUR image!” – Tomi Korkalainen