Finland-based Juha Ruokangas has built a reputation for making exquisitely crafted guitars that utilize modern-leaning designs and gorgeous woods. We've had a few pass through the shop over the years and have always been really impressed with the feel, tone, and build quality. What we're really looking for are guitars that inspire us with their musicality above all else. Every Ruokangas we've played - including this Duke Sonic - has passed that "test" with flying colors.
The Duke Sonic features a sleek offset Strat-meets-Les Paul Special shape, upping the comfort & balance factor on this classic 2 P90 design (LP Special). The Spanish Cedar neck features an Indian Rosewood fingerboard, 1 11/16" nut, jumbo nickel silver frets, and what Juha calls a "fast C" carve. Though that moniker might conjure memories of 80s style carves (ultra flat), this carve feels a bit like a slightly flatter 60s Oval C carve commonly found on a Strat. However you slice it, it's really comfortable and would be suitable for a wide range of players & styles. The playability and setup are excellent.
Loaded with a pair of Haussel dogear P90s (the same pickups found in Huber guitars), this guitar sounds incredible! Haussel manages to keep what we love about a great 50s style P90 - chime, pushed mids - but also makes them far more open sounding. Not modern per se, just clear, open, articulate and really inspiring/musical. We simply couldn't get this guitar to sound bad!
Condition: Very light worming on the back and a few light indentations on the neck (can't really feel them due to the open pore finish - you can't feel anything on the neck when playing), light pick markings on the guard/back plate/P90 covers, light tarnishing on the bridge, and very, very faint fret wear are the only signs of prior ownership. Setup is excellent.
Strat lovers looking for a Gibson style guitar would be wise to check this guitar out. Juha has done a fantastic job of taking elements of those styles and rolling them into something new, super fun, and tone-filled. Priced with original Hiscox hardshell case.