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flamenco, cutaway and electro-nylon string,
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Liikanen Lens Resonance System(R) - Reviews on the Internet

Liikanen's classical guitars built with the Lens Resonance System(R) have not yet been widely reviewed. There are two reviews in the very well-used Harmony Central (http://reviews.harmony-central.com). The first of a prototype instrument in 2002 and the second of a "Model H" in 2006.

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Product: Liikanen Musical Instruments Model H
Price Paid: 2000 (Euros)
Submitted 04/15/2006 at 03:48pm by Tomi Meskanen

Features : 9
This is a classical guitar made in 2006 in Helsinki, Finland. It has a solid spruce top, and solid Indian rosewood back and sides with this neat light-coloured rosewood strip dividing the back. The neck is made of mahogany and sports an ebony fretboard with 19 positively shiny frets. Compensated nut. Gold plated Gotoh tuners with ebony knobs (per my request). French polished all over.

What sets this guitar apart from many other classicals out there is the patented bracing technique called the Lens Resonance System. It's something of a departure from the basic Torres bracing. The soundboard is thinner towards the edges, and there is this "double-top-esque" plate (smaller in Model H than in the high-end Model A) under the bridge, making for a quite stiff bridge area. Basically, this is supposed to reduce evil, horrible frequencies, and the end result would of course be a more balanced and better-controlled sound. It might sound like another cheap trick, but let me tell you, it does work.

The guitar came with a humidifier and a pile of extra strings.

Sound : 10
Ah, the sound. I very nearly end up crapping my pants every single time I play this beauty. I don't know how they do it, but the string definition is absolutely phenomenal. It's like playing six different guitars at the same time. Absolutely no cloudiness at all. The basses are very clear and rather bright, but not overpowering. Good trebles too, sweet and responsive. And this beast sustains for ages. All in all, the sound is very balanced and "tight", consistently impressive in all positions. Even though this is a very versatile guitar, the sound is definitely better suited for Baroque and Classical repertoire. For Latin stuff or flamenco I would recommend something else. I suspect the overall unbelievability of the sound is largely due to the Lens Resonance System, which is inexpensive to produce and delivers sound that is miles above this price range.

Action, Fit, & Finish : 8
The action is perfect for my tastes. High enough not to fail you when you need to be loud, but still comfortable to play. There are no fret buzzes at all, and the neck is uber-smooth overall. The French polish is absolutely flawless, and it looks amazing. You can actually see the grain of the top reflecting in the lacquer, which would be impossible with these armor platings that you usually get for this price. Speaking of the top, it has probably the only obvious flaws in the entire instrument. There are these two slightly darker stripes running symmetrically across the lenght of the bookmatched soundboard. Furthermore, viewed from certain angles, the top actually looks like it's made from four pieces. This is of course only an illusion caused by the reflection of light from the wood. Both of these are minor cosmetic issues, but since the guitar is so good in pretty much every other respect, they look out of place, and these are things that could have been prevented by choosing the woods a little more carefully. The bracings are nearly perfect and the rosette (made by a contractor in the Far East) is quite tasteful indeed.

Reliability/Durability : 9
Well, what can I say...it's a classical guitar, not a cinderblock. Seems reliable enough for what it is, but I'd probably have a stroke if I dropped it. The downside of a French polish is that it scratches and dings very easily, and it doesn't think very highly of sweat, so the guitar has to be handled very carefully, and even then it'll slowly wear out. But I guess this sacrifice is necessary, considering the sound...

Customer Support : 10
The workshop is only about 20 miles from where I live, and dealing with the guys was a pleasure. All of my e-mails were replied the following workday, and even problems were addressed properly and in a friendly manner. In fact, this is my second Liikanen. The first guitar I took home from them had this inexplicable groove on the soundboard (a result of some sanding, I was told). I wasn't happy with it, especially as I had still paid full price, so I asked them if there was something that could be done. I took the guitar down there, and, to my utter shock, the guys offered to replace the guitar with a similar model, and that's the guitar I'm talking about in this review. So, as far as customer support goes, these people can't be topped!

Overall Rating : 10
I haven't been playing this guitar very long, but I've played it a lot, and I think it has already seen every possible playing situation it will ever see in my possession. I'm sure the sound will mature quite delightfully in the next few years, and I'm really looking forward to that. It sounds great, it feels great and it looks great. What more can you hope for? Despite the couple of flaws I mentioned, this is an absolutely astounding guitar. And it's a bit of a bargain, too.
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Product: Liikanen Musical Instruments Lens Resonance Proto 0044
Price Paid: 2166 (Euros)
Submitted 06/07/2002 at 11:12am by Tatu Varis

Features : 10
The guitar was made in Finland in the year 2000. Now, after i've played it for two years i can give a good review.

It's a classical guitar with one big difference, the Lens Resonance System. That means that the guitar has a small second top under the first one (... it's a bit hard to explain). It's a patented innovation, and not a cheap trick. Also, there are other smaller additions like a compensating nut and a slightly different soundhole placement. Tuners are very high quality schallers (?).

The sides and the back of the guitar are brazilian rosewood, the top is alpine spruce and the neck is indian mahogany with an ebony fingerboard. The finishing is french shellack, that gives a natural shine and won't hinder the sound at all. The woods and it's simple scandinavian styling look great.

It came with a Hiscox case and a Planet Waves- humidifier.

Sound : 10
It's a classical guitar for classical music. The sound it gives is very balanced, and versatile. The high notes are clear and the bass is deep and controlled. And no matter on what position my right hand is, it always gives an even sound. Sustain is great, so is playability. Because of the brazilian rosewood, the sound is warm and full. The unique construction can be heard in the dynamics as well... if it's played loud or quiet, it always sounds and sustains great!

But my guitar is one of the prototypes of the Lens Resonance System they developed, and the never models are even better. They have more volume and sustain, and even more high and low end.

I have no dislikes on this guitar, it has a very beautiful sound.

Action, Fit, & Finish : 10
No flaws and great playability. High quality workmanship from the beginning to the end.

Reliability/Durability : 10
The finish slowly wears out, but that's the price for a good sound. A thick layer of acrylic laquer would affect the sound A LOT.

It is made from high quality woods by experienced luthiers. It's not a bulletproof yamaha stratocaster... duh. It's a classical guitar. I have played it for two years, having no problems.

Customer Support : No Opinion
Great, just walk in with your guitar to the workshop and they're all over you! Extra friendly people.

Overall Rating : 10
I chose this guitar from the other prototypes because of it's warmer and fuller sound and great balance. It looked great, too...

I wonder why no-one had submitted reviews before, because guitars made by Liikanen are shipped to Stockholm and London as well. They produce around 70 guitars every year, so these are not just some custom cuties.

Serious guitars for the serious player. And the pricing is very low considering the quality of the guitar.
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15 December 2018