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Rating and Reviews: Fender Troy Van Leeuwen

This darkly distinctive Jazzmaster is built to Troy's specs. Create huge and heavy alt-rock sounds with 3-position pickup switching and dual tone circuits.

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"Beautifully excellent guitar" submitted August 18, 2014

By Erik Seja in SAN FRANCISCO, CA
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Overall: The TVL Jazzmaster is hands down one of the most beautiful guitars around, period. It's like museum quality gorgeous. The pickups sound amazing, the tremolo works fantastic, and the craftsmanship of the guitar is actually really great (despite coming from the Ensenada Plant). I really enjoy this guitar, and even though I personally think it's about $150-200 too much, all in all I'm pleased with my purchase. You're basically getting a MIM custom painted 65' AVRI for $1300. That's fine with me.
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"A True Work of Art" submitted February 20, 2017

By Brandon Gutierrez in Albuquerque, NM
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Music Style: rock, blues, alt rock, indie rock, etc.
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Overall: I've never been much of a Fender guy, but this guitar has put Fender into a whole different perspective for me. First of all, great sound! If i'm not mistaken the pickups on this Jazzmaster run hotter (especially the rhythm circuit) than the classic player and '65 reissue; it's a pretty interesting touch, especially if you play a lot or rock and blues. When I first took it out of the case, it seemed a little "wonky" and felt different, but after playing if for a few hours it felt just right. I will say as a brief admonition, the guitar may need a minor setup and a good fretboard oiling. Overall, if you can get passed these minor issues, then this guitar is definitely worth it.
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"Shione damn good tone-shaping options with some assembly required" submitted July 5, 2018

By Ildefonso M in San Jose, CA
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Musical Background: 15 years professional live performer
Music Style: Indie rock, garage rock, alt rock, blues, punk rock, ground-core, metal, worship music.
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Overall: Had this stellar guitar for 3 months now. I wanted to wait until I felt it out before giving my full honest opinion. I have always wanted a jazzmaster but was always so hesitant in getting one due to the technicalities that come with intonation issues via bad saddles and a strictly professional only setup required; rumors and word of mouth jabber. Not to mention, some players I've encountered become impatient with trying to learn the various tone options. But I didn't want all that to stop me, so I spent years researching what it takes to learn the basics of standard care and maintenance, what have you. And then TVL pushed this sexy beauty out of the Fender Mexico factory and had a slightly bigger handful of other stuff to keep up with on top of the basics. Rhythm circuit, mustang saddle, and dire need of immediate setup. I was nervous and all, due to the hefty price tag, well for my budget at least. But eventually said, screw it! Upon receiving it, I learned how to do my own setup, really took my time with it. Lemon oil the neck, change strings on the vintage style machines (a minor learning curve), setting the intonation, but most importantly, the mustang saddle. Mark my words when I tell you, save up a little extra and go all in. Get yourself a Mastery Bridge for this guy. The difference is literally night and day, and it's a super easy install. I never looked back. The mustang saddle was a decent upgrade in comparison to the older ones, but there is no better investment for your jazzmaster/jaguar than a mastery bridge upgrade. Infinity sustain and clarity for days, the strings really sing now. The pickups may be single coil, but they're chunky man, they got some bite. The signal comes out pretty hot when the rhythm circuit is active too. I understand this install, but I feel it definitely isn't for everyone. It mirrors the tone, one on top of the other, and comes out with a certain uniqueness that I can't really put into words. I strongly recommend watching the review videos on YouTube WITH HEADPHONES to get the best term of reference. The rosewood fretboard is a stunning compliment to the sexy custom candy oxblood color on the body and matching headstock. Feels good in the hand and it isn't heavy at all when playing live. Feel free to dig in to your pedals with this thing. I've found tones I didn't even know where there just waiting to be discovered. Overall, I'd highly recommend this guitar. But only if you're willing to upgrade to the mastery bridge. But hey, if you'd rather save some cash and run with the tape trick, all the more power to you. And plus, when everyone sees you rocking this bombshell, I promise no one will care Happy shredding
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"Incredible guitar - incredible value" submitted February 16, 2015

By Todd P in Alexandria, VA
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Musical Background: Player for 15 years
Music Style: P&W, alternative
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Overall: Incredible Jazzmaster. Set up nicely right out of the box; I had my tech do a setup just for good measure but it didn't need much work. The color is stunning… people crowd me after a set to get a closer look. The Mustang bridge works great: no string slippage issues whatsoever. Can't say enough good things about this guitar: everything there is to love about a Jazzmaster plus a few tweaks to enhance reliability and accessibility.
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"Fender Twang with Gibson good looks." submitted January 15, 2015

By Mike B in Cranford, NJ
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Musical Background: Semi Pro Guitar player and front man
Music Style: Rock and Roll. What else is there?
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Overall: I am very happy with my Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster. I was wanting a JM for a while and the sexy and sophisticated look of this model blew me away. I got mine discounted as it was a return. There is a small chip at the neck pocket but it is barely noticeable. It saved me 300 dollars on the guitar, thanks zZounds. Out of the box there were setup issues. The action was very high down past the 12th fret but a good setup from my tech sorted that out. What I ended up with was a Mexican built American Reissue for $999. The hardware and pickups are the same as the 2,000 american reissues. Most importantly the tremolo unit is place in the vintage position on the body. The other mexian Jazzmaster move it closer to the bridge to improve the break angle over the bridge but you lose the magic harmonic overtones and ghost notes of those long strings behind the bridge. The tone on this guitar is outstanding. It's not a strat and it's not a tele but falls somewhere in between. The twang is wonderful. More than I expected really. Rolling off the volume a hair tames the high end nicely and acts as a bit of a treble boost when you crank it. The tremolo unit is very stable and slick. It gives you the vibe of a Bigsby without the tuning problems. I didn't know who Troy Van Leeuwen was when I bought this guitar but he's got damn good taste. Lastly I got the guitar the day after I odrered it even though it was standard shipping. Turns out the warehouse is in NJ and UPS was working double time for the holiday.
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"Jazzmaster" submitted January 7, 2015

By William von Zangenberg in Tampa, FL
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Musical Background: Playing since I've been 9 years old now 65 if that matters.
Music Style: Jazz, pop, 60's Rock n Roll, Rock, Blues, Country, Gospel and Classical, Brazilian Jazz, and some Reggae. Plus anything else I'm
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Overall: The guitar is good It has descent pickups and finish is beautiful. Sounds like a Jazzmaster. Bridge is good and strings won't slip. Mine was delivered with the wrong tremelo arm. I called Fender and they said many were delivered that way and sent me another within a couple of days. Unfortunately the second arm was for a 65 Jazzmaster which did not fit the new one either. I sent a letter to Fender and they assured me that I'd have another by Nov 19. Well that has come and gone and today Jan 7 I still have no tremelo arm. The Fender rep told me that it was back ordered. So I wait. The arm for this guitar is apparently a screw in type and they two I have so far were push in types so they didn't fit. Other than that guitar has a good sound. I own a 62 Jazzmaster from 62 and a 65 from 65 which I bought new back then for 250 dollars. Imagine that one. Those both are great instruments. They are similar to the new one but the necks on the old ones are a bit slimmer and have a great feel. The Troy neck feels a little heavier although not by much. Sound is comparable but the old ones have more mellow on the neck and more jangle on the bridge. I would buy the guitar again because is sounds good, feels good and is relatively sturdy from what I can see. I guess time will tell. If it holds up as long as my first two then my son will be using it long after I'm gone. If not there's always the wood chipper! LOL. Hope this helps. If I buy any more guitars from this point on I'm probably going to have my luthier build them for me because the major companies seem to be getting more expensive but their quality isn't keeping up.
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"just got this about two weeks ago..." submitted August 27, 2014

By kenny stinson in penns grove, NJ
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Musical Background: I've been playing for about 12 years....bedroom studio artist lol
Music Style: rock,punk,etc.
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Overall: overall id prob rate this a 7.5 out of 10.well...i was surprised it was made in mexico.the finish is more of a maroon/purple as opposed to the metallic red people make it out to be(even in light...idk what settings a lot of cameras are on or what spotlights they've got on this thing in videos). a great feature is the bridge on this-no strings are gonna pop out of any saddles even if you wail...and from what i understand it has '62 fender jm pickups. i use a few pedals and whatnot but the tone is decent. quite a looker btw but i wasn't thrilled with the setup out of the box at all and the fretboard was bone-dry. its surprisingly light as well. for being basically 1300 bucks i figured fender mexico would put a little more tlc into things. i wish zzounds did setups like sweetwater does on their products but its all simply straight from the factory i was told. the case was pretty flashy too(nice and if they didn't include one it'd prob knock it down a point for the price being so high). never used manufacturer support but its all a runaround game anyhow due to past experiences with a couple companies(neither of which were fender....i buy stuff,play it,and forget about the tags). i miss when fender had a korean plant-some superb stuff came out of there.i have a cabronita thinline in shoreline gold and right out of the box everything with that was perfect.ive also got a japanese made fender pawnshop '72, and despite how some rave about map fenders in my eyes its all a hit or miss. hell even american made passes off duds with companies nowadays(not necessarily fender but I've picked up a fair share of gibsons that were just godawful.this axe makes a nice addition to any collection.break away from the typical standard.
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"Beautiful guitar but..." submitted July 20, 2015

By Anthony I in belmar, NJ
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Musical Background: 10 years
Music Style: Rock
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Overall: The guitar came very fast but im also in Nj so that is expected. I was amazed how great the guitar felt and looked. It is a Mexican with American quality. The thing that bothers me is it arrived broken. I couldn't plug it in the toggles were smashed out of it. It comes in a hard case so there ia no way this thing is played before shipping. Upon further investigation there was a paint crack by neck joint and the nut had been re glued. The guitar isnt worth the price tag I suppose. You won't get resale value out of a mexican. The company was great with the refund and return but ill never order again.
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