The ‘80’s brought a plethora of manufacturers into the industry offering “Super” Strats, updating the classic designs with various shed approved accoutrements and wild paint jobs. I often wondered why no one really did the same with Tele styled guitars. The J3 aims to fill that void with the Atlantis.
J3 was launched in 2005 and is a division of Codel Enterprises, which is a distributor of imported guitars. Aslin Dane and Ministar are sister brands offered by Codel. .
Our Atlantis review model features a flawless natural finish (also available in black, three tone Sunburst, purple sunburst, transparent red and transparent blue) over a subtle grained poplar body which could have easily been called butterscotch. The substantial but not quite chunky maple on maple neck with slightly wavy, large and retro scripted headstock for some reason reminded me of ‘70’s wood paneling and bushy beards. Not sure why… Cosmetic déjà vu aside, this guitar features some very modern features, such as the comfort contours of a Strat and a single-single-humbucker pickup configuration wired to a five-way pickup selector and a push/pull tone pot which splits the bridge humbucker.
The setup is decent and the neck will feel familiar to those who’ve played a Tele with a fairly flat fretboard radius. The fretwork really stands out. There were no sharp ends and the tops were polished to perfection. Sweet! The guitar balances well and thanks to the Strat-like contours, feels very comfortable. I did notice that one of the string ferrules was slightly off center.
Plugged up, it was immediately obvious where corners had been cut. Overall, the single coils lacked high end snap and the humbucker just didn’t have the punch I look for in a bridge humbucker. It almost sounded like there was a blanket over the amp when plugged in. Backing of the volume knob just made things worse. I split the bridge pickup hoping for a little bit more bite with no luck. Additionally, the tone knob had a very unnatural feel which was very subtle for the first 70% of rotation, then rapidly rolling off the highs which made it almost impossible to use.
While the J3 features impressive workmanship for such an affordable instrument, the budget component choice really subtract from an otherwise nice guitar.
Pros: Solid workmanship.
Cons: Lackluster electronics.