”The first time I saw this guitar it was sitting on a display stand in a guitar shop, nestled inbetween old japanese strats and Les Pauls. It was stunning, and I thought that it had to be a showcase guitar or the owners personal guitar, surely not a guitar that was for sale. After playing a 1969 Greco FA67-70 (a blonde ES-175 copy that was great) the owner of the shop asked if I wanted to try the Valkeapää.
I was almost too afraid to play it but ofcourse I did and the difference between the Valkeapää and every other guitar I had ever played was immedeate. The way it felt in my hands, how loud and resonant it was even unplugged, how every note was equally loud. It felt like a precision instrument. An instrument that had been built not just to sound good or play good, but an instrument built to sound and play perfect. No compromises or corners cut, just built as good as it possibly could be. At the time I played flatwound 11s, the guitar was strung with 13 gauge acoustic strings and yet I could play it almost as effortlessly as the archtop I had at home. I stayed and played that guitar for an hour before handing it back to the owner and left the shop thinking ”what the hell was that, Ive never played anything like that”.
Some while later I found Valkeapää on Instagram and messaged him about the guitar. He invited me to his shop in central Stockholm and I got to play more of his amazing instruments, but I always gravitated towards the tobacco burst G5 model. And once, while playing blue in green on it and experiencing how dynamic and capable the guitar was, I had to have it. After a few more visits to his shop, once bringing my father along to meet Tim and see the instruments, my father gifted me the guitar as a graduation gift.
Now that I own the guitar, and have gotten to know it more personally, I still feel the sensation when I first picked it up. The sensation of holding and playing something truly special, a precision instrument built without compromise. It plays so honestly, it lets your playing come through without changing it or hindering it. That also puts pressure on the player, if you play bad, the Valkeapää doesnt let you off the hook. But conversly, if you play good, the Valkeapää doesnt hold you back. The neck is straight and the fretboard immaculate, it doesnt get in the way. No dead notes, no quiet spots, you can play whatever you like without being hindered by the guitar, on the contrary it encourages you to. It sits so good on your body, shaped in a way that makes it feel way smaller than a 16″ archtop yet sound like one. And the sound, its almost hard to describe but to me it doesnt sound like just any guitar, it almost sounds like its mixed. Not the begining of a great guitar sound but rather the finished guitar sound you look for. Very articulate and punchy if you need it, but if you play softly it doesnt loose its articulation, it just settles down a bit and whispers to you in a mellow, mature voice. It offers so much to the player, you can control almost all of the parameters of your sound with your fingers and your picking, truly an expressive instrument.
To summarize: the Valkeapää is a guitar that while having a distinct character and sound, doesnt impose itself on you. Rather it invites you and encourages you to play whatever you can and want, in the best way you can, all the while not taking anything away from your playing but instead amplifying it.”