New Toys: Fender JV Modified Series

The new Fender JV Modified Series combines the classic look and design of '50s and '60s electric guitars, with the playability, solid modern construction/materials and more precise intonation. The JV Modified Series is fashioned after the highly sought-after "Japanese Vintage" reissues from the early 1980s. What a great idea! There are four models priced from $1,299 to $1,349 MSRP. They are: '50s Stratocaster HSS, '60s Stratocaster, '60s Custom Telecaster, and the '50s Telecaster.

I tried out the JV Modified '50s Telecaster ($1,299 MSRP) with a thick, soft "V"-shaped maple neck with a 9.5-inch radius and maple fingerboard with medium jumbo frets. You get a solid basswood body and two single-coil pickups that offer the classic Tele tone. I liked the guitar's color a lot! Called White Blonde—it casts a translucent pink under certain lighting. I also like the anodized gold-colored aluminum pick guard—it matches the three brass barrel saddle bridge pieces. This guitar has a solid feel in my hands and responds well to every move! The back of the neck is not too smooth (slick) so it provides a little "purchase" for my hand to stay put while playing.

I especially thought the 4-way pickup switch wiring and design was well thought out. Both the Volume and Tone controls are smooth working and pulling up on the Tone knob flips phase of the pickups but only in pickup switch positions 2 and 4. In position 2 (pickups wired in parallel), flipping phase produces a super thinned-out sound but in position 4 (pickups wired in series) the sound is still thinner but with a warmer and louder mid-range. Great choices here and, depending on your guitar amp, is unlimited.

I enjoyed playing rhythm guitar parts on the JV Mod; its sound always fit in the track while retaining a unique character.