Gear Review: Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Fender released their first Acoustasonic guitar as a Telecaster model back in 2019.  Since that time, they also launched a popular Stratocaster configuration in the spring of 2020. This may be their boldest release in the Acoustasonic line, but it is also my personal favorite. Meet the new Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster.   

Let’s explain what Acoustasonic means. Fender has developed this line to appeal to electric guitarists who want acoustic guitar sounds but don’t like a beefy neck or a big cumbersome body. The Acoustasonics, which would be a great name for superheroes who use sound as their super power, are essentially hybrid instruments that offer several electric guitar sounds and a variety of acoustic body sounds in one package.   

A number of Nashville, Tennessee musicians, such as Daniel Donato, have been seen playing Acoustasonic guitars. This line is ideal for singer/songwriters because it is smaller and more portable than your average dreadnaught acoustic guitar, and it offers you more sound options when playing a songwriter round.  

For review, American Songwriter accepted delivery of an Acoustasonic Jazzmaster in Tobacco Sunburst finish, but other top finishes include Tungsten, Natural, Arctic White and Ocean Turquoise. I have played many Jazzmasters but never owned one. In the Acoustasonic configuration, this guitar was ergonomically balanced on my lap while sitting down. Like its acoustic brethren, the top is made of Sitka Spruce wood, which is a dominant tone wood. Mahogany is the wood of choice for the neck and body, which warms up the sound, and Ebony rounds out the woods for the fretboard, bridge and knobs.  

Most of us know the Jazzmaster electric guitar as an instrument for Surf guitarists and Indie Rockers, but it’s not the mainstream Jazz instrument that Leo Fender hoped it would become. The electronics and body construction designs are what set Fender’s Acoustasonic guitars above other hybrid guitars. As you can see from the pictures, there is an actual acoustic humbucker pickup in the top of the guitar.  The inside of the body features a body sensor acoustic pickup—so you can tap out rhythms on the body—and also features Fishman Matrix under saddle electronics with ten different voices.  

The controls look like they are set up for an electric guitar, but what they control is much different. To alter the acoustic guitar choices, you adjust the 5-way selector. The Blend control is where a normal Tone control would be. Most acoustic guitars have one pickup under the bridge, but this Acoustasonic has three different pickups that can be mixed, blended and matched to your sound preferences.   

One of the major advancements in the Acoustasonic line is SIRS (Stringed Instrument Resonance System), which means they designed this body guitar to sound louder and more like an acoustic even when it is unplugged. Just sitting around the office, the Jazzmaster was plenty loud to write and practice with, and it is very capo and tuner friendly. To my ear, the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster has a better and truer electric guitar sound, and the acoustic tones are more robust. This could be due to the larger size of the Jazzmaster compared to past models? The mahogany neck with laser etched Fender logo in the headstock plays easy and looks classy too.  

If you are stuck plugging in direct to a PA system at a songwriter round, I guarantee you could find the sound you seek with this guitar. I had a lot of fun blending the sounds to achieve what I wanted for a particular song. Tom Shaw, the designer of the Shawbucker pickup on this guitar, truly outdid himself on the clarity and string separation of this Fender. I don’t usually pop and thump my guitar tops as many players do for added percussion, but the P3 Body Sensor pickup allows you to dial in the beat sounds you desire. Most of us who play acoustics are familiar with the Fishman piezo pickup system, and it’s always dependable. I would recommend dialing in your favorite acoustic sound on the Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster before you show up for a writer collaboration or a round, so you aren’t tweaking knobs when you get there. It’s kind of like tuning your guitar on stage instead of before you step up to the mike. The audience and your sound person will appreciate the pre-planning.  

There are no 9-volt batteries needed for the Acoustasonic since it has an internal rechargeable battery, comes with a USB cable for charging and lasts for 20 hours.  The deluxe Fender gig bag has plenty of padding and space for picks, capos, tuners and a backup guitar cable. Don’t be intimidated by the electronics of the Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster. They are simple and straightforward to operate. Street price on the Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is $1999.99, which is a deal considering how many different guitars you can make it emulate and the flexibility it offers while performing. 

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