J and D S890 Reviews 5

A fellow 'budget guitar' fan brought this guitar to my attention at one of my regular forums. It looked stunning, and at the price, well worth taking a chance on. As the online retailer had this model in their ebay shop front, I placed a bid of 77 (UK) and won.

First off, it has killer looks, strat shaped ash body, finished in 'mid' red colour, maple and nato thru' neck with rosewood fretboard. It also has a almost flat fretboard, something I personally like. S-S-H pickup configuration, 5 way selector with 1 each of volume and tone pots. The usual tunomatic-esque bridge, closed die cast tuners. It played so well, it literally felt, within hours, that I'd owned it for years.

There were a few niggling little faults, the humbucker had come loose from it's cover, meaning that no matter how much I tried to raise/lower the pickup, it stayed in the same place, but this was soon fixed. The sound was nothing special, the pickups were plenty hot enough, but just lacked character somehow. For some unknown reason, J&D always fit their tunomatic bridges with the intonation screws facing the pickups, not a big problem, but bizarre all the same. The main problem with the bridge, was that it was fully screwed down on the treble side, giving no more scope to lower the action. This is not to say the action was bad, it was lower than most guitars I've played/seen, but could have been better.

The overall build quality is superb for the price I paid. Again, there are a few minor issues, the nato inserts on the thu' neck aren't finished quite as flush as they could have been. I can see the lack of a laquer finish being a no-no for some people, but it doesn't bother me unduly. All the hardware appears solid enough, but only time will tell.

I've since replaced the stock pickups with 2 GFS Lil Killers and a GFS Bigmouth bridge, and I've also had the bridge slightly recessed to lower the action further. The addition of these pickups and work on the bridge, has turned a already good guitar into something very special. The sound is now fantastic, and the action has to be seen to be believed. Even adding the extra money I paid for the new pickups, and work done to the bridge, to the original cost, I've still got a killer guitar for around 200. If it had a better known name on the headstock, and came with the improvements I've had done, I would expect to see a retail price of 600+, and still think it a bargain. It really is that good.

Ian B rated this unit 5 on 2007-05-11.

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