NGD - Ever hear of a Jensen Stratatone? Neither had I. Now I have.

cybermgk

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I was perusing Reverb for no particular reason. I'm pretty happy with my current collection of Guitars. But, I found this Reverb store, Jensen Custom Guitars. He lists them as Garage builds, custom makes, MIA for very entry prices from $175 to $250. I read the reviews, and they were all glowing. He has mostly Strat types, though he does have currently a LP style. I saw the guitar below and it intrigued me,

It sported Alinico 5 P90s instead of traditional strat pickups. It also was listed as having a blend knob in place of the 2nd tone knob. This post when at 10 does nothing but when turned down blends more and more of the bridge pup into positions 1 and 2 to give all 3 pups or neck and bridge combinations.

Well the builder is super accessible, will answer any questions. From those I found out he sources the parts and basically finishes them and builds parts casters.

He did mention in the listing "fretwork is detailed and neck is straight and smooth. Professionally set up, ready to play " And he undersold that, Guitar came setup perfectly with fantastically finished frets. I've paid premium guitar prices, and not gotten frets dressed any better. The neck is finished in a satin finish, very thin. I suspect it is Nitro Cellulose, because it does react to rubber hangers (caught that early, thank god). Frankly it is one of the nicest necks I've played.

The pickups were surprisingly good, Alinico 5 with vintage cloth wrapped wire inside woven ground. The pots were Alpha like mini pots. I say were, because I replaced them. They worked fine, but I didn't like the taper on the Tone pot. Plus they were 250K and I prefer 500K for P90s. So, I swapped in some CTS pots I had.

I also replaced the pickups with some Gibson P90s I had from my Tribute I had put Lollers in.

The Trem block was typical small, Squier level. But the bridge plate was actually thicker than most, cheap entry level assemblies. So not the cheapest, but not USA Fender either. I did fork out $25 for a Fender MIM bridge with a full size block and put that in.

Tuners were decent quality, with an 18:1 ratio. I only changed those out, because I had a set of Gotoh Locking tuners on hand that dropped right in. I also copper shielded all the cavities and grounded it when I was in there.

As delivered, the guitar fought wat above it's weight class. It was easiky Squier Classic Vibe level, at quite a bit less. Now, it's one heck of a guitar. Plays fantastic, and sounds unlike any other guitar I have, including my Fender Delux Roadhouse Strat, that has one preamp setting that does a good P90 impression. One hell of a bargain, even with the upgrades I did. Easily equal to 2-3 times what I have in it.


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cybermgk

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The Fretboard is Rosewood, but it is really good rosewood. Tight grain and about as darrk as ebony. Kind of goes with the whole black on black theme.
 

Dolebludger

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I looked up Jensen guitars on Reverb, and saw some in the $200 - $300 range. But I didn’t see one like yours with three P90s. They were all Strat types with one LP type. But they looked very good. I wish I could have found one like yours. Based on your review, I might have pulled the trigger! I am not afraid of inexpensive guitars. My Strat is a $200 partscaster. Back 10 years ago, my daughter found it at a garage sale in the Dallas area, in unplayed condition.She called and asked if I wanted it for Fathers Day. I said hell no, as I can’t play a Fender Strat very well. She got it for me anyway. When she gave it to me, I noodled around and was pleasantly surprised. Then she wanted me to hook up and play a song. I thought “Oh God, this will be interesting”. It was interesting, but not in the way I expected. It played and sounded great, and I thereafter did several gigs with it!

So a couple of questions about Jensen. what is the neck and body wood(s)? And does Jensen have a web site and other contact info so I can learn more? Finally, do you have any problems with P90 buxom?
 

cybermgk

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I looked up Jensen guitars on Reverb, and saw some in the $200 - $300 range. But I didn’t see one like yours with three P90s. They were all Strat types with one LP type. But they looked very good. I wish I could have found one like yours. Based on your review, I might have pulled the trigger! I am not afraid of inexpensive guitars. My Strat is a $200 partscaster. Back 10 years ago, my daughter found it at a garage sale in the Dallas area, in unplayed condition.She called and asked if I wanted it for Fathers Day. I said hell no, as I can’t play a Fender Strat very well. She got it for me anyway. When she gave it to me, I noodled around and was pleasantly surprised. Then she wanted me to hook up and play a song. I thought “Oh God, this will be interesting”. It was interesting, but not in the way I expected. It played and sounded great, and I thereafter did several gigs with it!

So a couple of questions about Jensen. what is the neck and body wood(s)? And does Jensen have a web site and other contact info so I can learn more? Finally, do you have any problems with P90 buxom?
I get the feeling his stock chages as he comes up with stuff. I don't think he's high volume.

1. MY Neck is maple.
2. I'll ask him on the body. It;s full thickness but very light. If I were to guess basswood.
3. All I know is he has a Facebook page and the Reverb. BUT, He has no problems answering any questions. You can msg him via Reverb on one of his listing
4. Sorry not familiar wit the term p90 Buxom
 

Brek

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Damn, that’s given me a ridiculous idea involving my goldtop.
 

Dolebludger

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No, I am serious about the problem of buzz with P90s. I bought an Epi 56 LP Goldtop P90 new back in 2009, and the buzz was so bad with any gain at all that I had to change pups to SD noise cancelling P90s if I wanted to keep the guitar (which I did). Then, I bought a Dean Palimino hollwo body with three P90s that buzzed and howled so badly that I immediatlely took it back. I like P90 tone very much, but I have had this problem with them unless I keep my amp totally clean.. I am not a "super high gain" player, but like to have enough gain to get some "attack sensitive" overdrive.
 

Uncle Remus

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I just ordered one of these. I got the standard strat sss with Fender style headstock. He claims they are ash bodies and finished in nitro. I'm going to change the electronics as soon as it gets here. It comes with alnico5 of some sort, but I have a couple of sets of pickups laying around.
 

Uncle Remus

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Update. I guess these are a mixed bag. I found the frets level, but a little sharp on the edges. The rear cover is split from over tightening and two other screws in the back are not drilled straight. There are also a few dings and scratches. The scratches are obviously from a hasty finishing job. I would consider this one probably less than bullet strat quality. If anyone else is interested. Buy a used MIM.
 

cybermgk

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Update. I guess these are a mixed bag. I found the frets level, but a little sharp on the edges. The rear cover is split from over tightening and two other screws in the back are not drilled straight. There are also a few dings and scratches. The scratches are obviously from a hasty finishing job. I would consider this one probably less than bullet strat quality. If anyone else is interested. Buy a used MIM.
Sorry to hear that. I can just report on what I received. Only real issues were the small, cheap trem block and no cavity shielding.
 

Uncle Remus

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Sorry to hear that. I can just report on what I received. Only real issues were the small, cheap trem block and no cavity shielding.
No problems. I'm glad yours is great. I'll mid the hell out of this and treat it like a red headed stepchild. I'll probably take it to work and play it during downtime and never worry about a nick or ding here and there.
 

cybermgk

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No problems. I'm glad yours is great. I'll mid the hell out of this and treat it like a red headed stepchild. I'll probably take it to work and play it during downtime and never worry about a nick or ding here and there.
That IS the beauty of cheap guitars. Plus, it's a cheap guitar, not made by chinese slave labor.
 

cybermgk

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I have a feeling most of it is Chinese with a bit of American assembly.
Not according to him, though I couldn't get exactly where the trem was made. The P90s he said were MIK, the Neck made in Canada, as was the body. Tuners allegedly MIK as well.
 

Uncle Remus

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Not according to him, though I couldn't get exactly where the trem was made. The P90s he said were MIK, the Neck made in Canada, as was the body. Tuners allegedly MIK as well.
Good to hear.
 


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