Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (12 votes)
Fender: Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster

Price paid: £ 490

Purchased from: Nevada Music

Sound — 9
The sound on this is full and fat, and sounds exactly how you would expect Jim Adkins guitar to sound, I use mine through a Vox AC30 C2 which perfectly compliments the guitars sound, especially with it cranked a little. With the pickup switch in the down position, you get a tone that is quite trebly yet still manages to be warm and is perfect for pop rock, whereas in the up position you get a more bassy fatter tone, which to me sounds absolutely stunning through clean tones. The guitar is not noisy on either setting even though it uses single coil (P90) pickups, and there is plenty of variety in the tones but I do not think the guitar would be much good for metal as it just does not have that harshness. My style is mostly pop rock and this guitar is the perfect guitar for that, the AC30 compliments it and when pushed with a Proco turbo rat you can achieve a great distorted tone that is rich and harmonic yet you can still hear every note as if clean, this tone perfectly matches the one in "Beech Like The Tree" by Lower Than Atlantis.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall if you want to play pop rock/pop punk this is the guitar for you, it is versatile enough to explore other genres but I feel this is where it sits best, if it were stolen I would get another one without thinking about it. My favourite feature of the guitar is the pickups as they suit the guitar perfectly and compliment my playing style, if I had to find any flaws in it, I guess it would be that the tone knobs on the guitar do not seem to make any difference until turned down below 7, but overall a fantastic guitar.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I think the guitar will withstand heavy playing live and everything seems solid, although cannot vouch for this as still a pretty new guitar to me.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was set up perfectly and the finish was brilliant, can't currently find any flaws with it.

Features — 9
This guitar may look like a telecaster, but plugged in the sound and feel are of something completely unique, instead of the usual standard single coil pickups this guitar contains two Seymour Duncan pickups, one "Custom Soapbar SP90-3" & one "Vintage Soapbar SP90-1", these are controlled by a three way selector switch with the middle allowing you to blend the pickups using the separate volume and tone controls for each pickup. The guitar has non locking tuners and an adjustamatic-bridge, I chose the natural finish on my particular guitar but each one has a mahogany set in neck and a semi hollow ash body.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Although I am not the biggest Jimmy Eat World fan (Clarity is a beastly album though) I was thinking of buying one of these because it just looks stunning!
    you won't regret it, they sound absolutely amazing as well, I'm in no way the biggest Jimmy Eat World fan, I actually played the guitar and put my deposit down before I even knew who they were
    Tbvh most people who buy them buy them not because they are a Jimmy Eat World fan but because it's a sick guitar. I love Jimmy but I love this guitar for what it is, that's why I'm buying it.
    i almost bought one of these but got a Gibson SG 70s Tribute with P90s instead. I love it, but I do always wonder what the Adkins Telecaster would be like
    I remember the tc-90 this was based off of. sweet guitar set up like a champ. except that one was a double cut away.
    Wonderful. share a website with you, -- mcaf.ee/q1i0h -- Believe you will love it
    I bought one today and I love it. Great fit and finish and the set up was spot on. I have 6 tele's and this is the most unique one of the bunch. I can't wait to explore the sonic possibilities - and will do so at a gig tonight!!
    I picked up the JA-90 in Transparent Red and play through a Hot Rod Deluxe III. Sounds great w/ pedals (MXR Distortion +) and clean tones. Input jack is a problem, but I believe I have solved that issue with some Lock-Tite. I would expect better from the factory but oh well, everything else on this guitar is super-sweet. Rock On!
    I want this guitar so bad. How does this compare with the strat and, standard tele and the 72 thinline tele? I owned a MIA strat but felt like it lacked something tone wise. Decided to swtich to a tele but found the standard tele too twangy and bright. I'm looking for a guitar that has a fuller, smoother sound but still has that tele twang. Now i'm stuck between a 72 tele and a JA-90. Any suggestions?
    iv had one of these in red for about 6 months now, and after putting 10's on it (it comes with 9's) it has become my 1st choice gigging guitar, taking over from my Gibson SG Coil Tap! Lovely to play, sounds grate and has a wide range of sounds. build quality is better than i expected and is as good (if not slightly better) than the made in America SG! playing both guitars at gigs, and i get lots of possessive comments about the JA-90 (more than the SG) the only negative was, that i had to tighten the truss rod when i first had it.
    I had this guitar from a big online music store in the UK. When opening it I noticed that the 3 way switch was poking out the cardboard box (glad I filmed it) anyway it still looked like a beautiful guitar so I plugged it into my amp and... Nothing, not a squeak. I tried it in a different amp and got a little but of sound so I knew it was working on some level. I turned it over and opened the back where the jack plug goes in, and noticed the input jack was not holding very tightly,, so I tightened the clip that holds the jack and boom, the guitar took off, then I noticed it, the fret buzz when playing it acoustically was really annoying, strange that it didn't happen when plugged into an amp. The control knobs 2 Volume and 2 tone were terrible very cheap and plastic and it went from zero to full with about a millimetre of movement. I took it to a local Luthier, and he said it needed a fret dress and a set up, cost £100. I thought I'm not going to pay that for a new guitar, and played with it for another few days, and it was a beautiful machine to play, I was playing further and further up the neck with some precision, but I kept noticing the little faults such as when the switch was in the middle only one of the pickups would play and finally decided to send it back. A good guitar and I would have chose the set up myself, but for £600 not worth it, add on £100 for the luthier work and it was too pricey, so I won't be buying a guitar online ever again. It pissed me off big time as I've been a bit obsessed with the Thinline style for a long time, even bult one from a kit last year another abortion, but I got it working, but not really useable, so try playing it before you get it.