Submitted March 15, 2018 by Justin P in Allen, TX
"Great American made, classic sounding shred machine"
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I have been an Ibanez JEM and RG player for years. I have installed push pull coil splits on an RG just to try to get a more strat like sound. Also being an Yngwie fan, I really loved the sound and tone he was getting from his Fender. I toyed with getting a different strat and possibly switching pickups and modifying it. But the Yngwie strat ticked all the right boxes already. And I was very curious about scalloped frets, and had read about all the supposed benefits.
So I went for it, bought one here, am very happy with the purchase. The guitar is very easy to play. Neck shape is just right, not to fat, not too thin, with a smaller width than most Ibanez necks which is fine with my hands. (cursed with shorter fingers!!) The scallops take some getting used to, but after you do, you'll see that bending and vibrato are amazingly easy and expressive with a scalloped neck. And it really isn't a big deal switching back and forth to your non scalloped necks. But I find myself missing the control the scallops give you. Action is a tad higher than my Ibanez typically are, but I find it not affecting my playing and I love the acoustic like tone of the guitar so well I'm leaving it as not to mess with the sound.
The new YJM pickups are actually stacked humbuckers, and are crazy silent. They have great output, and very clear bell like sound. You can hear every note. Suddenly my chords are not muddy with the same amp settings I've used with my Ibanez. And notes are very articulate. The guitar is very responsive to dynamics and is very resonant. With the upper horn hitting my chest while sitting and playing, I can feel the vibrations when playing it. It is awesome. Intonation was great out of the box, easy to hit harmonics and great clarity.
I checked several different places, even made a few guitar stores weight the Yngwie guitars they had in stock. I noticed 8 pounds and more to be on the mid to high end for them in weight. So I scoured the internet for sub 8 pound models. The one I got was a little over 7 pounds, and is light and fun to play.
The guitar stays in tune very well. But I did smooth out the string channels on the brass nut with fine sand paper, and lubricate the nut and other contact points. I have heavily abused the tremolo system and it stays in tune very well now. It actually takes a decent amount of abuse after you have broken the strings in and have it lubricated well, to make it out of tune.
The guitar was not without a few issues, and I will list those below. Overall it is an amazing guitar, good price for an American Fender guitar, and having it makes me want to pick up and play it all the time.
This guitar is very expressive. The pickups are clear and bell like on clean, and retain this aspect even with distortion. Chords are not muddy, easy to tell individual notes. Plenty of sustain, and the body reverberates well. To me this guitar just sounds so great, I'm having a hard time going back to my other guitars.
Features of this guitar are perfect for a Fender. Vintage bridge works well, pickups sound amazing, fret finish is good. Very comfortable neck profile.
Ease of Use
There is a slight learning curve with this guitar because of the scalloped fret board. But the neck profile is great. I've been primarily an Ibanez player, plating jem and other wizard necks. I did not find the profile hard to get used to and I am able to switch back and forth easily. After you get used to the scallops and the benefits of them, its hard to go back to a normal neck! the scallops just make bending and vibrato so much more easy and expressive. You really have extreme control of the strings. The neck is not as wide as Ibanez necks though, and if you are used to having a few millimeters of thickness extra next to the high and low E strings to prevent slippage, you will not have this. I did have to adjust my playing to prevent the high E from slipping, because this will happen if your vibrato is wide, pulling the string towards the outside of the neck. This can easily be adjusted in my case. I rarely have an issue with string slippage now and do not have to think about it.
Although the guitar is really well made. I do have to disclose a few issues. When I received the guitar, the neck was not aligned. This made the high E string easily, VERY easily slip off. So the first thing I had to do was look at the center fret dots and loosen the bolts on the neck and straighten the neck up. (There are YouTube videos explaining this very issue and how to do this if you need them) And this problem could easily be seen IN the pictures before the guitar was sent to me, so this did not happen in shipping I believe. Also I noticed right where the neck pocket and body meet, there was a extremely small gap between the paint and wood. Almost as if the paint did not adhere to the wood well, almost like a bubble in the paint. So me, being like an inquisitive idiot, pushed the paint there. And that put a hairline crack in the paint in that area. So not extremely happy about that, but to me this guitar is a player, and I'm not actually worried about minor cosmetic details at this price point. I guess I'll just be starting on the natural relic process of this guitar early. :)
I must also disclose that the inside of the spring cavity is painted, but you can tell it was horribly finished inside as far as smoothness and saw dust under paint there. But this is normal on many guitars and something I'm okay with at this price point. I still think that a guitar over one thousand dollars should be cleaned up a little more. Especially American made.
Intonation is still perfect out of the box, and after neck alignment and re string. Fret finishing is good, neck is very comfortable and smooth with rolled edges. Nitrocellulose lacquer can get a bit tacky if your hands are getting warm or sweaty, but it is easy to adjust and clean. The neck did really well with this winters hot to cold temperatures with the heat on. No fret popping out on the sides. Just a good and stable neck so far.
I think this guitar, despite the above mentioned quality control issues, is great for the price compared to other American made Fenders. And the added features, like scalloping on the neck are a bonus value above your typical Fender. Guitar strap that came with it is high quality, but I am not using it because it will not adjust small enough for me, and I prefer the guitar riding a little higher. The tweed fender case that it comes with is beautiful.
I have not dealt with the company/ manufacturer of the instrument.
The Wow Factor
This is a great looking, classic Fender with amazing sound from the YJM pickups, and lots of extras. I wish they would do these in a few more colors.
I've been playing a little over 20 years i think?
Anything and everything. Love classical music, instrumental guitar of all kinds, shred, many metal genres, blues, classic rock.
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