Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 140
The John Page Classic AJ
fter 20-plus years with Fender, where
he co-founded and helped guide the
renowned Custom Shop, John Page struck
out on his own to start John Page Classic.
One of the guru's fresehest offerings is the
production version of the AJ.
Based on Page's first post-Fender creation
and named after his son Adam John, the
AJ is crafted in Japan and employs Page's
"uniquely familiar" elements including a
medium C-shape/25.5"-scale bolt-on maple
neck with a 12" radius maple or rosewood
fretboard, offset dot inlays, 13" lower bout,
single-cutaway alder body, Gotoh vintagestyle staggered tuners, "box" bridge with three
compensated solid brass saddles, black Bakelite
pickguard, and chromed nickel hardware.
Electronics include a John Page Bloodline
JP-3T single-coil in the bridge position and
a Bloodline JP-3P P-90 at the neck. Both
are mated to a three-way toggle and single
Volume and Tone controls with chrome
dome knobs. Like other Page models, the
AJ's bridge pickup is slanted in the opposite
direction than a typical Tele pickup to
smooth out the high stings and add clarity
to the lower strings.
The AJ, like other John Page Classic guitars, comes with his industry-first "Lifetime
Performance Guarantee" which covers just
about any part failure under normal use for
life to the original owner.
The AJ's slightly smaller 13" lower bout
(the standard Tele body is 14") and the
smooth generous top arm and back belly
contours make it light, well-balanced, and
super comfortable sitting or standing and
give it a very "custom" vibe and appearance
- this is not just another Tele clone.
And that all comes without sacrificing
tone or sustain. Adding to the guitar's resonate body tone is Page's strong and supertight neck joint utilizing recessed threaded
machine screws mated to threaded body
inserts instead of the typical woodscrewsneck plate combo. The combination of
meticulous fret finish, a flatter 12"-radius
fretboard, and a contoured neck heel
give the AJ a nice, low action with no
choking-out or fret buzz, not to mention great access to the upper frets.
Plugged into a Keeley compressor
and Ibanez TS808 running into a
Fender Blues Junior, the AJ's reverseangled bridge pickup produced a ton
of tight, focused twang with a supersnappy low E string and smooth,
deeper high E and B - crisp, but
notably less brittle and harsh than a
typical Tele setup.
The neck pickup had a thick,
beefy sound with throaty quality
that blended well with the bridge in
both output and tone. The pickup
combination was thick, with plenty
of jangle; not as scooped as the classic
combination on guitars of this style,
Price: $1,639 (list)
but with more mids, increased overall
output, and great balance.
Wit h t he TS808 turned up,
the bridge pickup's reverse slant again
added to bigger tone by increasing
the high-string sustain and depth
while increasing the low-string clarity and chunkiness for an overall
more-balanced Tele crunch. The neck
pickup also liked to get dirty, offering a fat and thick gainy overdrive
sound that maintained note-to-note
clarity and didn't get overly muddy
or washed out.
John Page's "uniquely familiar"
features and pickup combination and
arrangement, together with a slim/
heavily contoured body, rock-solid
neck joint, and top-notch craftsmanship, give the AJ a custom feel - at a
production-line price . - Phil Feser