Fender Jimmie Vaughan Strat Review

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Fifthstone, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    OK, I just got this earlier this week, but I've had Strats before and I've put this one through the ringer, so not really a honeymoon review. Here goes...

    2006 with maple neck. Came with a nice gig bag, but purchased a standard Fender hardshell case for it. Came with straplocks installed, vintage American tremolo bridge and some accessories. Purchased from Sweetwaters (my first purchase with them) and was set up perfectly for me, though I will likely swap out the strings for Ernie Ball Slinky's soon.

    The neck has a modest V shape and feels slim in a good way. The fret ends were all smooth and the neck felt nice and fast. Nut was neatly seated and cut, with a single vintage style string tree. Tuners hold pretty well and feel good. Only negative here is that the low E runs very close to the edge of the fretboard, more and more as you run up the neck. It's not a huge issue for me, as the distance is fine up until about the 15th fret, and I don't bend UP on the low E. Still annoying to see. But overall I would give the neck a 9 out of 10.

    The pickups, a Tex-Mex set, are very bright and have some good character to them. Not too noisy, but are single coils afterall. At first they seemed TOO bright to me, but now I set the tone controls to about 5 and turn them up when I want to cut through more. It's nice having the extra high end available when needed. With the tones turned down a bit, I can get a nice, mellow, vintage pickup sound. Very cool. At first, I thought the volume pot lost too much high end when rolling down and didn't give enough range. This was playing through my Peavey Delta Blues. But now that I've played it through my Reeves Custom 6 it works just fine, with nice range and high's retained. Hmmm. Overall, I'd give the pickups a 7. Not the best I've heard, but versatile enough for me. And again, they do have some character to them.

    The overall fit and finish is really very good. On par with my American Standard Strat I purchased in '94. Paint is flawless, neck finished nicely, though with a couple of very minor biffs on the fretboard and the aforementioned alignment nit pick. The American vintage bridge is MUCH nicer than the chromed Ping version I've seen on low to mid priced Strats. This alone would steer me to picking up another JV instead of the new upgraded Standard Strat. I'd give this an 8.

    The pickguard is a thin single ply. I've read some posts where people go off on this, saying it's flimsy, but I like it just fine. It doesn't flex too much or feel flimsy to me. The pickup selector was not mounted tightly to the pickguard though. I tightened up the screws and its fine now. Oh, and the selector operates with no fuss or noise. Feels solid.

    Overall, I couldn't be happier with this guitar. I think it's a phenomenal value, especially with the American vintage bridge and the Tex-Mex pickups. It's very versatile and wails for blues and rock. I'm also playing some reggae and ska with this and it works great in this context as well. Before buying this, I had tried out the new MIM Standard Strats (pretty nice actually) as well as an American 60th Anniversary Strat (disappointing given the cost) and this was the right choice for me. Excellent value, feel, tone, and versatility. I may have to pick up a few more down the road in different colors. Overall rating would be a solid 9.
     
  2. yannis

    yannis Member

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    great writeup man. Would you suggest that the JV can be a MIA std alternative and the best MIM so far? I am after a classic strat for Hendrix, RHCP, SRV, etc tones, blues and rock basically.
     
  3. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Yes, I think this is the best MIM I've played to date. The new MIM Standard was actually quite good. The new heavier mass bridge definitely makes a difference, as do the larger frets. I've also tried out the Lite Ash Strat (MIK I think) and the Player's Strat, etc., but not the MIM Vintage reissues. Of all of these, I think the JV Strat I have felt more solid, resonated more and was worth the up price from the Standard MIM and is a bargain compared to the higher end MIM's (while being a better overall guitar). I thinks the American vintage bridge which comes with this guitar is key much of its high end feel. I do lots of Hendrix type stuff and this guitar was great for this, as well as RHCP and SRV. Again, the tons of available high end with the Tex-Mex pickups means you have lots of flexibility here. Very ballsy sounding IMO. Definitely worth checking out.
     
  4. Roodboy

    Roodboy Supporting Member

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    Congrats on the axe. I love mine. Plays like buttah.
     
  5. yannis

    yannis Member

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    good to know man! i wish it was also available in RW board. I tried a dlx players MIM with maple and a 50s RI with maple neck and in both occasions my fingers were sticking to the fretboard whereas on a RW necked MIA std i was gliding.
     
  6. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I've always preferred maple, so works for me! But I know what you mean. The finish on it is satin (I think) so it's smoother than full gloss.
     
  7. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    I keep threatening to buy one myself. Nice review.
     
  8. yannis

    yannis Member

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    Hmm so a satin maple neck will glide more like a RW neck? The satin neck on the dlx players left a lot to be desired.
     
  9. dani

    dani Member

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    i am so wanting one of those jv strats. nice review bro!
     
  10. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Thanks, guys. It's definitely worth checking out.
     
  11. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I'm just saying I've found satin finished necks to "glide" a bit more freely than a gloss finish, though the gloss finishes look really cool. I tend to sweat a lot from my hands as I play so I have the problem of the neck getting sticky after a while, but I've found that to be more a function of the finish on the back of the neck rather than the makup of the fretboard. Most of my contact is on the back of the neck, not on the fretboard. In fact, my LP with the gloss finish on the neck and rosewood fretboard feels way more sticky to me. Different strokes.
     
  12. yannis

    yannis Member

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    True that fifthstone. On the other hand my LP with poly gloss finish is super gliding for me and i am sweaty (Tokai).
     
  13. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice review Fifthstone. I have a Tex-Mex Strat, the predecessor to the JV, and I dig it. This one's a maple neck, I sanded most of the finish off the back of the neck, so it glides great now. Some laquer finishes glide for me, some stick - this one stuck so off it came, now I'm happy.

    I replaced the p/u's w/ Fralin Vintage Hots, good pots, switch, and output jack, and it's wonderful. Cheap too, relatively.

    I think I'll keep it (GRIN)

    Dana O.
     
  14. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I'd have to put the Limited Edition Vintage Player Strat in the the running for best MIM Strat. I liked its neck better than the JV's, and I rate its Texas Specials over the Tex-Mex pups in the JV as well. That said, the JV is very, very cool. There'll be one in my basement guitar room sooner or later.

    peace,

    jb
     
  15. sannella

    sannella Member

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    I find the Tex Mex pickups to be more sensitive to height adjustment than almost any other pickups I've ever used. As soon as I lowered mine a bit, they sweetened up a lot, and turned into some of my favorite Stat pickups ever.
     
  16. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree - too close, they're too bright. Backed away, they sound much sweeter and more balanced. I also have the bass side probably a full 1/8" lower than the treble side, on all 3 p/u's.

    Adjusted like that, they sound pretty good, but I had this Fralin set, and they're better still, IMHO.

    The stock p/u's sounded way better to me when I replaced the pots, switch and jack, BTW.

    YMMV, Dana
     
  17. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    The JV Strat is the best Strat I've played in a long time and one heck of a bang for the buck. Like others have already stated, you have to adjust the pickups height to find their sweet spot. It took me about 3 gigs to tune mine in. Also, your "low E string to close to the fretboard edge" problem can be fixed by slightly loosening the neck screws and rotating the neck in the neck pocket until the strings are centered on the fretboard....then retighten the neck screws. It's common for Strat necks to get knocked out of alignment in shipment. Both of my JV's arrived like yours and, after a good setup and nut lube, are now what I consider to almost be the perfect Strat.
     
  18. keith_t4e

    keith_t4e Member

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    Tell me have they changed the neck recently. I played an older one at a local shop and the neck was very beefy almost fat especially towards the end near the headstock. I played a newer one and liked it. Did you consider trying out the 60th MIM as it, too, has tex mex pups. I used to have a california strat and loved the tex mex pups.
     
  19. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    Congrats! The JV Strat is the best deal Strat in Fender's line up right now, IMO.

    The Tex-Mex pickups are sweet when you lower them. I found a great sound with mine set real low on the bass side like Dana says.

    I've moved on now to something a bit different for my JV now though, some Chubtone '67 Reverse Stagger. They sound great too, but in a totally different way.

    I like the T-Ms so much though that I couldn't just replace them, so I pulled the whole pickguard ass'y with them installed and built another pickguard for the Chubs :D
     
  20. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I'm going to have to try lowering the pickups some time like some of you suggest, but for now I'm digging playing around with all that available high end. Mine did come with the pickups fairly high and the bass side much lower than the treble.

    To keith_t4e, I would've thought the neck profile would have been the same for the JV production run but maybe not. It is a bit beefy at the nut, but the neck feels slimmer than my shallow C profile American Standard.
     

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