Freshman FJ2 - Archtop Guitar

It’s not often that a new piece of kit arrives on my desk and I’m really impressed – no, I mean seriously impressed. Freshman is a company known for its attention to detail and an almost obsessive approach to getting it right, and this FJ2 is typical of the brand. With timbers sourced in Canada and elsewhere, the FJ2 (pictured right) has been manufactured in China, but not just at any factory.

These guys certainly know their business and they definitely turned up and tuned in for the FJ2! This guitar really looks the business, with clean, smooth lacquering on the solid flame maple top, back and sides.

It has 20 frets on a rosewood board and comes with mother of pearl parallelogram markers and a slightly wider than normal nut width of 46mm, which makes it a more comfortable player for those of us with larger hands. The maple neck is a 3 piece and feels very much like that of a Gibson, having a similar profile. While the Kluson influenced tulip head tuners also reflect the Gibson style. The Lyre brass tailpiece is standard generic Chinese – shame. And I would have preferred to see a standard adjustable rosewood bridge rather than the slightly out-of-sorts tune-o-matic.
But the beauty of this instrument is surely in its sound. Helped by a three piece neck dovetailed into the body and scalloped parallel bracing, the acoustic sound is both warm and mellow with an excellent response, together with plenty of resonance and exceptional sustain. And that’s even before you’ve plugged in the two ’buckers. Plugged in, both the neck and bridge pickups are voiced to complement the tonal characteristics of the instrument, giving a silky, rich tone with plenty of character and depth; dig in, and you can really make this instrument speak. 

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