Reviewed: Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster

Distributed by: Fender Music Australia | RRP: $3,299

Fender’s American Professional range has been the top-tier range of American-made Fenders that retain the classic style, aesthetic and feel of Fender’s 70 year history of producing musical instruments. While the last few years have seen ranges such as the American Elite and, more recently the American Ultra, lead the way with more contemporary incarnations of Strats, Teles and our offset favourites, the American Professional is, as their name suggests, American made Fender for the working player.

The new American Professional II range pushes those designs further. Fender have ingeniously taken the best parts of their classic designs in the American Professional range, as well as their boundary-pushing designs in the American Elite and Ultra ranges, and combined them for a new and refreshed American Professional II range for 2020.

 

This Jazzmaster in particular, finished in Mystic Surf Green, plays like a fine-tuned and modded classic. It has heft like a traditional Jazzmaster, but modern appointments and specs for the more discerning contemporary player. The combination of revised Vintage Mod pickups, a Deep-C neck shape and refined hardware make for play that’s simultaneously every Fender you’ve ever loved and no Fender you’ve tried.

 

Jazzmasters are traditionally quite heavy guitars, but their contoured and offset bodies make for a super comfortable play, and this new American Pro II is no exception to that. This new range borrows the rounded heel from its Ultra counterparts and allows easy access right up to its 22nd fret (and beyond if you’re so inclined). The American Pro II Jazzmaster features a Deep “C” neck that offers classic and familiar Fender feel with a more comfortable and streamlined play, better for complex chord shapes and leads.

 

 

The overhauled Vintage Mod II pickups offer classic Jazzmaster sound with modern improvements, a lower noise floor and more articulate dynamics. They're super clean when you need them to be, but can turn dark and gritty when you wind the classic Witch Hat knobs up to ten. On the lead circuit, the bridge pickup is bitey when dimed, and the middle pickup position is mid-forward and aggressive when need be, but classically chimney and bell-like when rolled back.

 

The rhythm section really shines, offering thick and driven rhythm and an impossibly tube-like overdrive and warmth, even through a clean amp. The guitar also resonates wonderfully, even acoustically, which is always a sign of a well-constructed and assembled guitar.

 

From headstock to Panorama tremolo system, the American Professional II Jazzmaster is everything you want from a Jazzmaster, as well as everything you didn’t know you needed. 22 narrow-tall frets make for a pleasing play along the maple neck, available with either a rosewood or maple board. A 9.5” radius matches the radius of the Jazzmaster bridge before the lockable Panorama tremolo system takes control.

 

Fender’s new “Super Natural” satin finish on the back of the neck offers a very comfortable play, and the gloss urethane finish on the headstock helps retain the classic Fender aesthetic. The body is alder, covered in gloss urethane that’s available in a bunch of different colours. The nut is bone, the pick guard is classic 3-ply Fender and the hardware is chrome. 

 

The American Professional II series overall is, in my opinion, some of Fender’s best work to date. It seamlessly blends Fender’s history, tradition, aesthetic and honours it all while blending this new range with modern appointments and specifications. American made Fender are top-tier instruments for the working musician, and the American Professional II range push the envelope for the discerning and busy musician.

 

They’re masterfully designed, very well put together, and allow every sound from super traditional Fender single-coil stuff right down to modern dynamic and control over your tone. The Jazzmasters were always designed as a flagship model with maximum flexibility and the American Professional II Jazzmaster pushes this reputation further than you may have thought possible.

 

The Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster in Mystic Surf Green.

Hits and Misses

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Classic Fender style with modern appointments

Revised Vintage Mod II pickups

Rounded neck heel

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May not appeal to classic or traditional Fender fans

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