Fender Music Australia | RRP: $3,999
It’s not often that an entirely new product explodes onto the scene in any industry, let alone when discussing musical instruments. The golden era of guitars, the ‘50s and ‘60s has resulted in a market often saturated by re-issues, replicas, emulations and, more recently, lawsuits.
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That’s why the last few years, where Fender has slowly trickled out the Acoustasonic range, is such a breath of fresh air. While admittedly combining two existing guitar designs, they’ve really managed to push the envelope and create a guitar that is neither an acoustic or an electric but somehow an amalgamation of both.
The Acoustasonic range features electronics similarly placed to their electric counterparts, but a smaller sound hole between the neck joint and bridge, similar to an acoustic. What’s produced is a tone that feels simultaneously organic but unfamiliar and new, like some impossible tone of piezo-like clarity.
This Jazzmaster features a Fender Acoustasonic Shawbucker in the bridge position as well as a Fishman Under-Saddle Transducer. These are controlled by a master volume pot and a “Mod” knob that blends between the various electronics, as well as a five-way switch.
The specifications of this Jazzmaster in particular are where this guitar gets interesting. Jazzmasters are generally constructed from ash or alder, while acoustics are often a variation of spruce or maple. The Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is a mahogany body, and is a blend between a chambered body and a full-blown acoustic. The mahogany is finished in a pearl satin polyester finish that controls the tone of the wood.
The neck is also constructed from mahogany, and features a Modern Deep “C” shape, similar to Fender’s more recent American Ultra series. The fingerboard is ebony, which provides an interesting contrast to the generally warm sound of the mahogany. The frets are narrow tall, so you’ll feel right at home switching between different Fender guitars, and the 12” radius of the fretboard feels relatively modern.
A Graph Tech TUSQ nut gives the whole guitar an articulate and balanced response. The mahogany provides a girthy warmth, controlled by the scooped sound of the ebony board that gives the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster the response of a jazz-box, at least when it’s unplugged.
Amplified, the Fishman and Fender collaborated pickups in the Fender Acoustasonic Shawbucker, Fishman Under-Saddle Transducer and Fishman Acoustasonic Enhancer provide a wide array of tones from amplified acoustic to electric rhythms. These three sounds are blended with the “Mod” knob, or can be used solo with the five-way switch and master volume.
The Acoustasonic range overall is somehow both what you’d expect from such a modern acoustic design, but also unlike anything you may have played before. Unplugged, the tone is beautifully controlled and does away with the boominess of some larger bodied acoustic guitars, even when strummed hard.
On the other hand, nothing is missed with quieter playing and subtle nuances, providing an overall balance that’s difficult to find without employing a compressor. The tone is snappy like an electric, particularly when amplified, but even unplugged it sings and inspires. Straight out of the Deluxe Fender Gig Bag, the action was set nicely and the guitar played in tune. The 25.5” scale length feels familiar, and the frets feel closer to a jumbo, so it’s definitely a more modern player.
Blending between the three pickups you can muster piezo-esque dynamics or solid rock chords when tweaking the “Mod” knob, and the five way switch offers the option to switch into a really interesting sound in the Shawbucker.
The Shawbucker is a common humbucker choice for a lot of Fender guitars in all price ranges, but the Acoustasonic Shawbucker really is an entirely new beast. It retains the woody quality of an acoustic, and pushes the mids without becoming overly revealing or unflattering to the player.
The Acoustasonic Jazzmaster in particular may very well be the missing element in the pursuit for tone. On this model it contains a new three-way system for picking up and amplifying your tone, as well as blending and shaping controls to nail it, no matter what you’re going for.
Both unplugged and amplified it can muster tones you may have only dreamed of. It’s neither an acoustic or an electric – it’s both, but also in a class of its own.
The specs feel modern, but stellar choices of wood and construction make for a well-tuned and designed guitar. The Acoustasonic Jazzmaster will arrive safe in a Deluxe Fender Gig Bag, ready to rock both unplugged and amplified. It features revised specs from the Acoustasonic Telecaster and Stratocaster that came before it, making the Jazzmaster the flagship model for the range.
Redesigned pickups, a refined body shape and construction really make for an unparalleled playing experience. The future is now and it’s coming to fruition at Fender.
Check out the Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster in further detail over at Fender Music Australia today.