I dare say that many guitar players are not familiar with FGN Masterfield Guitars as a brand – Yet most guitar players will have owned, played or be familiar with the thousands of guitars that have been produced in the FujiGen factory in Japan – For many years the FujiGen facility has produced many fine guitars for Ibanez, Antoria/CSL, The Roland Guitar Synth, Yamaha, Epiphone replicas built in Japan, some Gretsch Guitars, Orville and Greco – And remember those highly rated Made in Japan models that Fender released around 1982 ? – They all came from the FujiGen factory – In fact all/most Fender Guitars with the ‘Made in Japan’ decal were built in the FujiGen factory – I believe they were the first, or one of the first guitar factories to install a CNC machine in the wood work department – And in the early 80’s I believe the FujiGen factory produced more guitars than any other factory in the world – In 2009 FujiGen thought it was about time that they commenced with their own brand and as I’m sure you can fully appreciate, they are not a bunch of new comers to the guitar world – So this now leads us to the birth of the FGN Masterfield models, including this used semi acoustic model, from 2011 – I dare say many players are familiar with some mighty fine 335 style models that have been built in Japan – The Tokai 335 style vintage models, the Ibanez AS and smaller bodied AM models, plus the excellent Yamaha SA models can all give a Gibson a good run for the money – I would now add this used FGN Masterfield MSA-SP Semi Acoustic guitar to this list – It is a very special instrument, both with regards to its build quality, attention to detail, feel, playing experience and tonal character – They may well be one of the best kept secrets in the guitar world today
In no particular order, then let me update you with a host of info with regards to this FGN Masterfield MSA-SP :-
- Whole guitar only weighs 6lbs and 12oz
- 15″ body, so a touch smaller than a ES335 – Spec’d with a centre block, in the body, as per a 335 – Yet with ‘scooped’ sections – Click here for product info on the FGN site
- Bound mahogany sides, yet figured maple top/back
- Mahogany neck with a very dark, almost black, rosewood fingerboard
- A set of medium jumbo frets over the binding, so no nibs – CFS fret system – see info on earlier link for more details – FGN own the patent on this simple idea, which is effectively a ‘curved’ fret designed to produce more accurate intonation/tuning/articulation
- Gotoh hardware including ABR traditional style bridge on ‘vintage’ style small posts and a light weight tailpiece, plus a set of vintage ‘Kluson’ style machine heads with tulip buttons
- Glamorous appearance with a traditional ‘antique sunburst’ gloss finish on a figured maple top
- Medium C neck profile – measures .820″ around the top nut end and fattens out to .944″ around the 12th fret – Similar to a PRS wide/fat profile and a touch slimmer than most LP Standards with a 50’s neck profile – Hence a comfortable amount of girth to the overall feel/depth
- Includes a deluxe FGN case
- Re-strung with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and set-up with a nice and slick action that responds to a light touch
- Condition wise this guitar is exceptionally clean, yet not that ‘as new/mint condition’ clean – I found a couple of pin prick size nicks to the very top surface of the finish, on the front of the guitar – A slight surface graze, again only to the top surface of the finish, on the rear of the body – But such marks are close to minimal, so you’d have to be very fussy to have any issue with the guitars overall condition – No fret wear – Maybe the biggest negative regarding the condition is a ‘gnarled’ edge to the top of the tailpiece post, where you’d adjust it with a screw drive – Not the first time you’ll see such a blemish
- Fitted with a pair of custom wound P90 Soapbar pick-ups – Both are wound to a vintage output around 7.75K
Playing experience :- This is one of the nicest guitars I have ever played – So much so that I nearly kept it for myself – Indeed I still keep asking myself that should I be keeping it – But these days I’m a business first and a guitar player second – I’m a big fan of PRS Guitars, in part as they offer such a slick and easy playing experience, with an action that responds to a light touch – This FGN reminds me of playing a PRS with the wide/fat neck profile – Just enough meat to the neck to aid tone, sustain and stability, yet not to much meat that hinders the feel/playing experience – You can dig in and attack those big blues bends, as required – Hence milk and savour each and every note – Yet burn up and down the fast lane and show of those cascading licks and tricks you’ve worked on – Yet melodic, jazz based chords, sound so perfect as you move up the fingerboard – It is effortless to play and feels so comfortable
Tonal character :- Probably comes in with more of a 330 character than a 335 character – More polite than ballsy – So probably more Steely Dan and Larry Carlton, than say Clapton/Cream – Maybe not as ‘woody’ as the full hollow body nature of a 330 – The centre block will minimize/eliminate the feedback issue that you find on a 330, yet it is more airy and light sounding, than a 335 – That doesn’t mean you can’t plug it into an amp that is set-up with gain/overdrive, but in my opinion it is more polite sounding, plus more educated, so less gain suits the guitar more than a Metallica’ style hi-gain setting – Yet it works well for those 40’s and 50’s ‘raw’ style of blues, aka BB King and John Lee Hooker – The neck pick-up is lush and smooth – If Lindt made guitar neck pick-ups then this is how they’d sound – The bridge pick-up possesses bite and attack, yet musical and full sounding, so it is not brittle or harsh – The P90 pick-ups can deliver somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde character as they morph from that chilled out jazz/blues voice, that the neck pick-up delivers, to more bite and attack from the bridge pick-up – For the jazz/easy listening styles of Burt Bacharach, to the pop style of The Beatles, to the clean blues of ‘The Thrill has gone’, to the melodic pop styles of Squeeze, Crowded House, Aztec Camera, to the Rock-a-Billy styles of Setzer, to the jazz/blues fusion styles of Ford and Carlton, this FGN is on home turf – Overall a very pleasant guitar to play and enjoy
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.