Sound — 10
I play through a Vox VT20, tube preamp bedroom amp. When I played this guitar at GC I knew I was going to go home with her. The neck pickup is pretty much a P90, it has a warm and fat tone but with a nice pop to it, though not twangy like a Strat. Somewhere in between a regular single coil and a humbucker. It's great for anything clean, I play alternative like The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Smiths on the neck position and with chorus effect it's perfect; I find it works well for metal especially solos that don't need to be too high gain. The middle position get a fat undertone with shimmering highs that put a little growl on a clean channel, excellent for surf rock and with distortion for garage rock to hard rock. The bridge is hotter that what one would expect on a stock Fender, while it may not handle high gain metal like Pantera perfectly, most other metal is handled well Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc. What really impressed me was the quality of the pickups, compared to my last guitar they really cut through the effects and don't sound muddy or too bright. From Dire Straits to the Pixies to Black Sabbath, this ax has it covered.
Overall Impression — 10
Classic country, surf, 80's alternative and metal, paired with a decent amp the Jazzmaster can handle just about anything other than really high gain metal, but if you wanted to play in a Venom cover band, why buy a Fender? Wonderful pickups. I've been playing since 2006 and play pretty steady, never been in a band; nobody else wants to do Wall Of Voodoo covers. If it were lost or stolen I would she'd a few tears and save up for another one. I do love this guitar but have plans to mod it, but I would mod anything I got. If you are thinking of getting a Strat or a Tele or even an SG, give this one a try. For the price the quality is surprising.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This Jazzmaster feels like it could last me the rest of my life. I care for my possessions so they tend to stay in good quality while I own them, so I couldn't say for sure what would happen if someone whooped on my Blacktop with a baseball bat. I would gig without a backup though. After two months of playing for at least a half a hour a day I have noticed no wear to the finish, which is nice since it looks so good.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Plays like a dream, no fret buzz and the action is interesting even though it's not super low I have no trouble with fast solos. I think it may be the low angle of the the strings coming off the bridge to the tail piece, real easy to play. However because of that low angle of the strings past the bridge they will buzz a bit but can not be heard through my amp, one last issue is the saddles the strings sit in, because of the low tension they can pop out, but with a little adjustment of the saddles with an allen wrench I haven't had anymore trouble. All of this could be fixed with a buzz stop, an after market bar that puts tension on those strings, so no more buzz or popping out. BUT I prefer the low tension on the strings, it's not a deal breaker for me. I love the pots on this guitar, they turn smooth and sound like they are better quality than the ones on my last guitar. Well made especially for the price.
Features — 10
2011 Made in Mexico (MIM) 21 Medium Jumbo frets. Rosewood fret board, maple neck, alder mody. Beautiful staggered concave body in sunburst. I traded in my MIM Fat Strat for the Jazzmaster, I much prefer the shape, it's a classic but not so common that she loses her uniqueness. Vintage Jazzmaster styled bridge and long tremolo arm, also this guitar is a few inches longer than a Strat, had to get a new case. What makes this a Blacktop is simplified electronics, 1 volume and 1 tone pot, 1 three-way selector. The truly great feature of the Btop is the Seymour Duncan designed Jazzmaster pickup in the neck and the SD HOT Vintage Alnico humbucker on the bridge. Quite a bit of a step up from the stock Fender pickups in my Mexican Strat.