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FGN J-Standard Iliad telecaster review. (with pictures)

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Guppy, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    Hello TDPRI.
    I would like to post a review of my newly acquired FGN guitar. When I was considering buying this guitar (second hand) there where hardly any reviews about this guitar in particular and FGN J-Standard in general. I took the gamble and bought it. I wasn't sorry.

    Build:
    The only thing every review I could find mentioned is the high standard of craftsmanship that went in to building these guitars. And the second I picked up this guitar for the first time I could confirm this. It's a great piece of wood and the fit and finish is impeccable. The gloss poly finish isn't to thick but perfect. The neck pocket is so tight that the mounting screws are only the for decorative reasons (this might be a slight exaggeration ;)).
    I have a 2015 Les Paul Junior and that is way on the other side of the "craftsmanship spectrum". Compare the two guitars and the gibson is a total piece of garbage. It barely makes up for this with playabillity and mojo.

    The neck has a very comfortable satin finish. To me the profile is right on the border between "nice and slim" and "nice and chunky". So it's very nice. The profile feels slightly D-shaped but it can pass for a C-shaped.
    The fretwork is outstanding. No sharp edges and a perfect crowning. This guitar is fitted with the "circular fretting system". It means that the frets are very slightly curved. You can barely see it and definitely can't feel it. It's supposed to help for notes to be more in tune than with standard fretting systems. I don't know the science behind it but the guitar intonates perfectly. It has a modern style, six saddle bridge which is made of nice, thick solid steel.

    The sound:
    The guitar is fitted with a Seymour Duncan Jerry Donahue single coil bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan SH-1 alnico humbucker in the neck. The humbucker measured 8,2 kohm so it's fairly vintage output.
    I haven't A/B'ed the guitar with a more traditional telecaster but I think this guitar has slightly more mid focus and the highs are more airy and soft than forward and present. But it still has a nice acoustic quality when played clean. With overdrive and fuzz (and I use a lot) it howls and sings but still has plenty of cut. No signs of microphonic squeeling.
    The potmeters are Alpha and, again, have a nice quality feel about them. The tapers and values feel just right. The Volume control has been factory fitted with a treble bleed which does the job (again) just right.
    The only thing that's bothering me is the fact that there is barely any difference in sound between the three way switch in neck position or middle position.

    Conclusion:
    As you can tell I am very impressed with this guitar. It looks stunning. A sort of soldibody hybrid between a '69 Thinline and 72 deluxe. The sunburst really pops.
    The build quality is outstanding and it oozes with decades of guitar-building experience. The sound is punchy with definition and attack. Sustain is plenty. It's a little more "Allround" than a real vintage style Telecaster and adjusts more to different styles of music than impart it's sound on it.
    The only niggle I had is the middle position sound I mentioned before. I understand that this is more the result of a mismatch in impedance than in output between the two pickups. The other thing is a totally subjective one: i wish the neck had a tinted finish. The neck doesn't quite gel with the body visually. But again, this is subjective and has nothing to do with the quality of this great instrument.
    FGN guitars are not really cheap guitars but looking at quality and playability you get more than enough bang for your buck.

    [​IMG]

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    61fury, MatsEriksson, shupe13 and 4 others like this.
  2. mojorowe

    mojorowe TDPRI Member

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    Great review.. Beautiful guitar!
     
    Guppy likes this.
  3. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    Some more pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    shupe13 likes this.
  4. Teledelphia

    Teledelphia Tele-Holic

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    Congrats. That's a killer guitar. FGN makes very nice guitars. For those who might not know, FGN is Fuji Gen who have made great guitars in Japan for many outstanding brands (Ibanez, Greco, Yamaha, Orville by Gibson, Epiphone Japan and Fender Japan from '81 - '97). Regarding the middle position (both pu's) and neck pu sounding the same you should just keep playing around with the pu heights. Try getting the neck 'bucker down lower (almost flush w/ the pickguard) and get the bridge up as higher w/o without creating any string pull.
     
    Guppy likes this.
  5. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    Yeah. That was some background info I forgot. Thanks.
     
  6. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    This only remedies the symptoms and not the cause. I tried this and the outputs became so out of balance it didn't make sense anymore. I think I'm going to wire the pickups out of Phase to get a more distinct sound.
     
  7. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's

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    oh yes that is a beautiful guitar. I went to the site and they had lottsa' nice looking stuff.
    There is not a distributor in England WalesScotlandd Ireland/Eire north or south or the north american continent. I see you're from the Netherlands, so that explains that you're not from Los Angeles or Barstow.
     
    Guppy likes this.
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Gorgeous guitar, great review!
    I'll check them out.
     
    Guppy likes this.
  9. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    This is hilarious!

    They pop up on eBay or Reverb on a regular basis.
     
  10. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Looks real nice. The Japanese are quality builders, so I'm sure you got your moneys worth.
     
  11. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry, for a necrobump. I find this particular version of Tele intriguing, but they seem to be very hard to get hold of, as they only exist in USA. Now I wonder about the Circular Fret System. Not any of the pictures on their site, or the pics you've provided seems to "sport" any CFS, they seem pretty straight and parallel to me.

    I understand it, and on a Telecaster with 3 split bridges it seems a little more important, but you have got 6 individual saddle bridge. Is the "curve" of the frets so subtle that it is neglible? I can't see it. The frets curve has to follow the radius of the neck, I can get that. Even it seems it has compound radius.

    Is it that obvious difference from regular frets, regarding intonation?
     
  12. Guppy

    Guppy TDPRI Member

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    Hi Mats.
    The curve of the frets is very very subtle. I have learned that the curve has to compensate for the difference in width between the nut and bridge that makes the strings"fan out" from but to bridge.
    You won't notice while playing (at all). It probably helps with intonation but it's extremely subtle I guess.
     
    MatsEriksson likes this.
  13. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for a reply!

    Yes, I have an understanding for that. The intonation thing. It's like thinking of the 2 outer strings really. All intonation rules should follow a "Rule of 18" in mathematics. However, this calculations are only valid for if the fretboard is completely flat, since only then the distance from the string down to the fret - and angle - is the very same always even if a) the strings gets narrower towards the nut b) or not. I have yet to see any guitar that has the same spacing between strings at the bridge as up at the nut. I e b) is ruled out.

    However, I have seen guitars with flat and - no radius - fretboard. But those are only, by and large, the Classical Nylon String guitars. I've always been stumped, dumbfounded, and wondering why a fretboard that is most suitable made for bending strings without choking out on the frets, is done on a classical nylon string guitars where a) it is almost impossible to bend nylon strings anyways b) all of the music that is played on it doesn't involve any bending at all ever...beats me. :confused::rolleyes:

    Now if any guitar has any radius (like most steel string acoustics) no matter how slight, you can't follow the rule of 18 - and expect decent intonation - unless you bend the frets accordingly to follow the radius gradually. Since the strings spacing narrows down towards the nut. This is more likely to happen with the 2 outer strings. Just like they did on your guitar. However, I have my doubts that this kind of C.F.S works equally as well for all kinds of gauges, say works equally as well for 008 set and a 011 set, or even a 012 set with spun third.

    One can mitigate this somewhat with compound fretboard, but it's made only for ease of bending strings up there past 12th fret without choking out. For intonation purposes it's an even wash I think. If there were any, it's so subtle that it is neglible.
     
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