Fano Alt de Facto JM6 – probably the best guitar I have never played

The Fano JM6 is probably the best guitar I have never played. And I mustn’t play one. Not for a while anyway. Otherwise I’ll want one even more than I do now. I recently bought a Koll Jr Glide and the purchase of another boutique masterbuilt guitar so soon after the Koll would not go down well with my long-suffering wife.

I can’t comment on playability – for obvious reasons – but based on specification and looks, Fano’s JM6 is just so desirable. It pulls together in one glorious looking instrument many of my favourite features: P-90 pickups, ‘C’ shape neck, offset upper and lower bouts, TonePros bridge, Rosewood fingerboard and 25-1/2″ scale.

The JM6 is built using top-quality components. The standard specification is as follows:

  • Alder, Swamp Ash or Mahogany Body
  • Front and Back Contours
  • Maple or Mahogany Neck
  • Maple or Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 25-1/2″ Scale – 22 Frets
  • 1.65″ Nut Width
  • 7.25″-9.5″ Compound Radius
  • 6105 Fretwire
  • Early 60’s ‘C’ Shape
  • Aged Nickel Hardware
  • Gotoh Vintage Tuners
  • TonePros T-O-M & Stoptail
  • Custom Fralin P-90’s
  • Volume, Tone, 3-Way Toggle
  • Distressed Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Dark Horse .010-.046
  • Levy’s Gig Bag

Want to customise your JM6? Fano offer an impressive array of options, which include:

  • Korina Body
  • Korina Neck
  • Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Fingerboard Binding
  • Aged Gold Hardware
  • Bigsby Vibrato
  • T-O-M w/ Graph Tech Saddles
  • Lollar Pickups
  • ToneStyler, 5-Way Switch (w/ Strat Pickups)
  • Custom Paint Colors
  • Choice of Pickguard Color
  • JM12 – 12-string version
  • Black Tweed G&G Hardshell Case
Fano Alt de Facto JM6 Sonic Mary
Fano Alt de Facto JM6 Sonic Mary (courtesy of Fano Guitars) click for larger image

The JM6 uses the finest woods and top-quality hardware in devilishly cunning combinations. Based around Fender’s Jazzmaster form, the JM6 pays homage to the best of mid 20th Century American guitar design. It artfully brings together key features from classic Fenders and Gibsons to create something distinctive. Although the JM6 and other guitars in the Alt de Facto range are founded on traditional aesthetics and materials, they are put together using the best modern techniques and components.

Fano Alt de Facto JM6 Surf Green
Fano Alt de Facto JM6 Surf Green (courtesy of Fano Guitars) click for larger image

Dennis Fano is an artist. His talents as a luthier extend to the rare practice of ageing and distressing. Guitars in the Alt de Facto range look as though they’ve seen a few decades and the odd world tour. The scarred, loved-to-death, road-worn finish is done expertly and sympathetically. There are few things more gorgeous than a battered JM6. Fano guitars are renowned for their comfortable feel, which is in part due to the subtle ageing and softening of the neck. But faux ageing is not for everyone. For those who like to keep their guitars blemish free, or want each scratch and dink to be truly personal – a record of their playing history – Fano recently started to make clean Alt de Factos, like the Faded Tea Burst JM6 below.

Fano JM6 Faded Tea Burst
Fano JM6 Faded Tea Burst (courtesy of Fano Guitars) click for larger image

Fano guitars are individually handcrafted, so no two are alike. Dennis Fano is a partner of Premier Builders Guild and, though he still makes a limited number of custom guitars himself, the majority of Fano Guitars are handbuilt at the Premier Builders Guild workshop in Arroyo Grande, California, by Chief Master Builder Gene Baker and his expert team. I’ve played a few guitars built by Gene Baker’s team, and they have all been beautiful, faultless instruments.

I want a JM6. And I want one now.

Update to this post

Several months after writing this post, I played a Fano JM6 while in Paris. Read all about it in Guitars Rebellion and Fanos in Paris.

Further information

Fano Guitars
Premier Builders Guild

3 thoughts on “Fano Alt de Facto JM6 – probably the best guitar I have never played

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  1. Several years ago, I bought that surf green JM6 pictured above from someone who didn’t bond with it. Hard to believe he didn’t love it ’cause I sure have. I have a few other really good guitars but the Fano gets me 80% of the time. I remember when I strapped it on for the first time. It felt like I’d been playing it for my whole life. Highly recommended.

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