This luthier duo from Finland draws inspiration from their homeland and offers a wide range of instruments with both a “classic” and “extreme” line.


The solidbody Halla model is part of Amfisound’s classic line of guitars and this particular example that’s finished in a high-gloss red has an alder body with a flamed maple top, and a bolt-on maple neck that’s dressed with a rosewood fretboard. Hardware appointments include Hipshot locking tuners, a Bigsby and TonePros Nashville-style bridge, and Amfisound non-slip potentiometer knobs. For electronics, this regal-looking axe has a pair of TV Jones Classics.

Finnish luthiers Tomi Korkalainen and Sampo Leppävuori met in 1997 at the Ikaalinen College of Crafts and Design where they were both students in the guitar-making department. And though they came from different parts of the country—along with completely different personalities and tastes in music—they quickly found they had a lot in common and became close friends. One of those commonalities was a huge respect and love for nature and the “North.” Another was a shared belief that music is more than just sound—there’s something deeply emotional and personal about it. “These are things that we have always applied to our guitar building,” says Korkalainen.

After finishing their initial studies in 2001, the two founded Amfisound Guitars in 2002 and decided to base their shop in Oulu, in Northern Finland, “because our Northern roots and attitude are very important for us. A lot of things about Finland are pretty extreme: the climate, the nature, the history, the people, the music, etc. But there is also a deep sense of tradition and that deep love for nature. Our guitars often impart these feelings,” shares Korkalainen. “In fact, the name for each of our models refers to something Finnish or Northern that is deeply meaningful to us.”

Korkalainen and Leppävuori choose not to use CNC technology their for bodies or necks. “We build our guitars in a traditional way by using old-school machines that are operated by hand, because it gives us endless possibilities for shaping the wood. Almost all of our machines are from the ’70s—older than we are,” says Korkalainen. “People often ask if our guitars are available in a left-handed version, and questions like this seem funny to us because it just shows that mass-production companies are much more limited when it comes to doing things even a little bit differently. Since we do everything by hand, there are no limits to our building.”

“It gives more personal meaning to the work we do and a more rewarding feeling. Listening to our customers and understanding what they want is really, really important. In my personal opinion, this is the only way to build a truly custom guitar."
—Tomi Korkalainen

The luthiers essentially have two lines—“extreme” and “classic.” Korkalainen says that the company’s reputation as a primarily heavy metal guitar outfit is somewhat misleading since the pair has always made classic-style guitars as well. “I have always had a big heart for the beauty of the classic guitars, and the reason for my conservative soul is probably because I have always respected the traditional violin and cello makers.”

For the most part, however, Koralainen is focused on designing the company’s extreme and metal guitars and taking care of special paint work, while Leppävuori’s main focus is on their bass guitars and classic line. “It rarely happens that one man builds one guitar alone though,” says Korkalainen. “Most of our guitars have various custom features, so the contribution or the specialized skills of the other builder is often needed. That way, we manage to optimize our potential and our time, and share our individual skills and abilities.”

The pair says their biggest inspiration comes from their musician customers and the “crazy and cool ideas” they come up with. “From them, we also learn what they want for their music, what sort of improvements are needed to keep up with the music styles or developments in music technology, and what works on instruments and what doesn’t. For all these things, we find it really important to keep in close contact with our customers and to provide a warm and welcoming family atmosphere,” says Korkalainen. “It gives more personal meaning to the work we do and a more rewarding feeling. Listening to our customers and understanding what they want is really, really important. In my personal opinion, this is the only way to build a truly custom guitar.

Pricing and Availability
The two-man shop builds about 40 custom guitars a year. Emailing, calling, or visiting the shop is the best way to get the process started since Amfisound deals direct for the most part. Approximate build time once an order is placed can be as little as three months for a bolt-on basic model, and up to 12 months or more for more involved, unique custom instruments. Depending on the build, pricing ranges from approximately $2,800 to $9,800 (including EU VAT). And for customers outside the European Union, pricing ranges from approximately $2,265 to $7,900.

Equipped with noise reduction and noise gate modes, the Integrated Gate has a signal monitoring function that constantly monitors the input signal.

Read MoreShow less

Luthier Maegen Wells recalls the moment she fell in love with the archtop and how it changed her world.

The archtop guitar is one of the greatest loves of my life, and over time it’s become clear that our tale is perhaps an unlikely one. I showed up late to the archtop party, and it took a while to realize our pairing was atypical. I had no idea that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with everything about what’s commonly perceived as a “jazz guitar.” No clue whatsoever. And, to be honest, I kind of miss those days. But one can only hear the question, “Why do you want to build jazz guitars if you don’t play jazz?” so many times before starting to wonder what the hell everyone’s talking about.

Read MoreShow less

A modern take on Fullerton shapes and a blend of Fender and Gibson attributes strikes a sweet middle ground.

A stylish alternative to classic Fender profiles that delivers sonic versatility. Great playability.

Split-coil sounds are a little on the thin side. Be sure to place it on the stand carefully!


Fender Player Plus Meteora HH


After many decades of sticking with flagship body shapes, Fender spent the last several years getting more playful via their Parallel Universe collection. The Meteora, however, is one of the more significant departures from those vintage profiles. The offset, more-angular profile was created by Fender designer Josh Hurst and first saw light of day as part of the Parallel Universe Collection in 2018. Since then, it has headed in both upscale and affordable directions within the Fender lineup—reaching the heights of master-built Custom Shop quality in the hands of Ron Thorn, and now in this much more egalitarian guise as the Player Plus Meteora HH.

Read MoreShow less