February 25, 2011

Designed in conjunction with Paul Jackson Jr., the JA-15 sports a highly resonant 15"- wide body that is composed of spruce, mahogany, and curly maple. The curly maple neck, also with the new Pattern shape, is very comfortable, and the pickups are the 53/10 models that feature coils wound with wire made on the original machine that was used to supply “legendary” guitar companies in the 1950s. According to PRS, the wire used in 53/10 pickups is further processed to the specifications used for a certain single- coil bridge pickup made in 1953 (read Fender Telecaster). The objective of all this was to create a clear sounding humbucker with a particularly sweet top end. The 53/10s used here are the same pickups found on the ME Quatro except that they have bright polished covers. A small point perhaps, but I wish these covers had the brushed nickel finish.

The Two Piece bridge does a great job of transferring string energy to the body, allowing the JA-15 to sustain well with cleaner tones. The vibe of this guitar is incredible. Its voice is very sweet and round, and the definition and detail are such that you can use the well-voiced Tone control to dial in a dark, creamy jazz sound and still get the clarity and presence needed to make your comping and solos stand out. This is a very dynamic guitar too, which means you don’t have to goose it with lots of volume (and risk feedback) to make notes punch through. The JA-15 responds beautifully to variations in picking attack, making it easy to go from soft rhythm playing to singing solos with just an adjustment in how hard you hit the strings.

The JA-15 is a serious jazz guitar that combines a rich-bodied sound with excellent intonation and a quick playing feel. It’s probably the most advanced production guitar of its type on the market today and it earns an Editors’ Pick Award.

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