Subsequent encounters with a Mastery vibrato-equipped Serus J in 2017 and a visit to the Novo workshop in Nashville that summer only cemented our belief that Dennis and his team are building some of the very finest bolt-on electrics in the world.
Resplendent in a gloriously distressed Antigua finish, this J model is further proof that sweating the small stuff pays off. The lightweight body of reclaimed, tempered pine still bears a few nail holes as evidence of its former life, and in combination with the clever Schroeder wrapover bridge – milled from lightweight aluminium and loaded with brass saddles – it’s a recipe for an addictive cocktail of sustain, snap and resonance.
As ever, it’s Novo’s tempered maple neck that steals the show. The wonderfully tapered medium C profile, thin finish, beautifully softened rosewood ’board edges and rounded fret ends combine to evoke the familiar feel of an instrument that’s been played and played.
It sounds great, too – Novo’s Amalfitano P-90s are seriously toneful. Sadly this guitar is already sold, but head to www.coda-music.com to peruse current stock, and you can hear it in action above.