FUJIGEN (FGN) J-STANDARD ODYSSEY JOS-FM-R

Music Connection | (08) 8331 8920 | www.musicconnection.com.au | RRP: $1269.99 — $1389.99 (Depend­ing on specs)

Japan­ese plant Fuji­gen has been build­ing gui­tars for some of the biggest names in the busi­ness for decades, but the com­pany has branched out into mak­ing their own instru­ments too. FGN gui­tars have been avail­able in Japan for quite a while, but they’re a rel­a­tively recent entrant on the Aus­tralian scene. The J-Standard Odyssey JOS-FM-R is a great place to start because it has a bit of the tra­di­tional and a bit of the modern.

A NEW STANDARD

FGN describes the J-Standard series as ‘Mod­i­fied ver­sions of some his­tor­i­cal gui­tar brands’, but that’s really sell­ing their own designs short, because they’re quite dis­tinc­tive and iden­ti­fi­ably FGN even if you can look at them and say “Yep, I can see where they started with this one.” Even the basic S-style out­line is heav­ily mod­i­fied to be more aggres­sive yet more ergonomic. The body is Bass­wood with a beau­ti­fully book matched Flame Maple lam­i­nated top and a three ply pearloid pick guard that stops a lit­tle short of the treble-side cut­away so you can see more of the fin­ish. The top is sur­rounded by ele­gant cream bind­ing, and the ‘Jeans Burst’ fin­ish looks great in pho­tos but even bet­ter in real life. The neck is hard Maple and the fret­board is made of Rose­wood with 21 medium high frets inlaid with FGN’s pro­pri­etary Cir­cle Fret­ting Sys­tem (CFS). This is a sub­tle mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the reg­u­lar way of doing things: the frets are very slightly curved like a smile, which allows for the same dis­tance between each fret. It’s hard to explain but it makes sense when you see the graphic on the help­ful hang tag. The result is that it improves into­na­tion and seems very slightly eas­ier to play too. It is very sub­tle though and most play­ers might not notice it, but might put its results down to ‘some kind of awe­some gui­tar mojo.’ The neck joint is con­toured for easy access to the upper frets.

The scale length is 25.5”, and the strings are anchored to an FJTR-S2Pbridge, a two-point ful­crum style with a push-in bar. It per­forms quite well, and a lot of care seems to have been taken in opti­mis­ing the break angle of the strings over the nut on their way to the tuners, allow­ing for great return to pitch. The pick­ups are a trio of FGN mod­els: two sin­gle coils and a hum­bucker. Switch­ing is stan­dard S-style with the excep­tion of a mini tog­gle for coil-splitting the hum­bucker, and there are mas­ter con­trols for vol­ume and tone, rather than hav­ing two tone controls.

SURPRISE!

There are all sorts of tones lurk­ing in this gui­tar, but what’s per­haps most sur­pris­ing is how very high-quality the sin­gle coils are. When you review enough gui­tars you start to expect own-brand sin­gles to be kinda phoned in, but FGN would never try to get away with such a thing. They both sound great on their own and really vibrant when used together. The hum­bucker is rel­a­tively dry-sounding, per­haps some­where between a Sey­mour Dun­can ’59 and Cus­tom in terms of son­ics. It has a pleas­ing upper midrange with just enough chirp in the highs, and a tight focused low end. In sin­gle coil mode it’s sharp and punchy, with a lit­tle bit less out­put than the mid­dle and neck pick­ups. This means you can set up some cool ‘vir­tual channel-switching’ sounds if your amp’s gain level is set just right.

LIKE A COMFORTABLE PAIR OF OLD JEANS

This is a world-class gui­tar from a world-class fac­tory, with great appoint­ments, great tone and great playa­bil­ity. FGN might not be the first brand you’ll think of when con­sid­er­ing this type of axe, but it’s wor­thy of a test drive, whether you play hard rock, shred, coun­try, blues-rock, top-40 or fusion. It’s as ver­sa­tile as it is good-lookin’.

Hits and Misses

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Great sin­gle coils

Very playable neck

Beau­ti­ful finish

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Humbucker’s sin­gle coil mode doesn’t quite keep up

Specs

 

  • Bolt-On Con­struc­tion
  • Maple & Bass­wood Bodies
  • Maple Neck
  • Rose­wood Fingerboard
  • 21 Frets Medium High (C.F.S.)
  • 25.5” (648mm) Scale
  • Gotoh Tuners
  • Fuji­gen Orig­i­nal Bridge & Pick­ups (Pick­ups : FGN JOS-Sn (neck), FGNJOS-Sc (cen­tre) FGN JOS-Hb (bridge) )
  • Poly­ester Finish
  • Includes Gig Bag
  • Colours: JB Jeans Burst; 2 Tone Sun­burst; Antique White; 3 Tone Sunburst

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