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Fender Made In Japan – The FSR Japan Range Returns

Fender Made In Japan – The FSR Japan Range Returns

Rejoice! The Fender FSR Japan series is back!

The Fender Made in Japan range of electric guitars has now become a coveted series that players of all kinds, including collectors and touring musicians alike, search high and low to get their hands on. But why? Aside from the fact there’s simply not a lot around, it comes down to the combination of highly unusual tonewoods utilised in various sonic recipes and the fact that each highly limited series is hand made by luthiers in Japan. This is why guitarists put these guitars in such high demand and why you should seriously consider checking them out.

You may or may not know that some of the Fender made models back in the 70s and 80s were highly praised alongside their American counterparts due to the tonewoods used, and can fetch a high sum on the 2nd hand market, due to limited availability.  Today, we’re taking a look at the new 2016 Fender FSR Japan range of guitars, or the Fender Short Run Japanese Range of guitars as they’re otherwise known to show you just how cool these things really are – before they’re whisked away.

Fender Japan Classic 69 Telecaster

Fender Japan Classic 69 Telecaster - Pink Paisley

This must be one of the coolest looking guitars ever. This 60s inspired special run Telecaster from the geniuses at Fender Japan evokes all the fun and freedom of the swinging 60s. Not just infamous for hippie culture, the 60s was the birth of a new musical era spawning some of the greatest music ever. The Fender Japan Classic 69 Telecaster guitar takes us back to a time where the likes of The Beatles, Hendrix and Pink Floyd were pushing boundaries, incidentally with Hendrix and Gilmour both favouring Fenders (The Beatles eventually followed suit) and provides us with a modern day workhorse with vintage design. The body itself is constructed from a basswood, frequently associated with mid 80s MIJ starts, and one that provides a full-bodied range of tones. The maple neck and fingerboard are a joy to play, especially as the slim “C” profile neck has been utilised here. The Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele pickups in the neck and bridge positions provide that classic tele sound that harks back to the original 1969 models. But of course, it’s all about the body finish. Available in both Pink Paisley and Blue Flower options, these intricate designs ensure you’ll definitely stand out on stage. For collectors it may be, but this thing is screaming to get on the road and played through an amp!

Fender FSR Japan Jaguar Special Electric Guitar

Fender FSR Japan Jaguar Special Electric Guitar - 3 Tone Sunburst

One of the stand out models of the extremely limited fender Japan series of guitars has to be the Fender FSR Japan Jaguar Special. This thing oozes cool and features a whole host of new modifications that will appeal to the most discerning Jaguar fans. Again, this model is highly limited and features the slim “C” profile for that the new selection of Fenders are all equipped with. However, it’s the key differences in pickups that will get your goosebumps going. Usually seen with with single coil pickups, this model opts for a pair of Dragster C pickups instead, (hum)bucking the trend and providing a wide range of tones that you can sculpt to your needs via the individual control circuits. Yet another great example of ingenuity from the people responsible for the Fender FSR Japan range.

Fender FSR Japan Aerodyne Stratocaster

Fender FSR Japan Aerodyne Stratocaster - Vintage White

Basswood makes another appearance here in the Fender FSR Japan Aerodyne Stratocaster. Coupled with a slick maple neck shaped to a very comfortable oval profile, the beautiful tonal qualities inherent within the basswood body and neck are beautifully represented thanks to the incorporation of the Special Design Dragster humbucker BB and two Japanese ST Single Coils to provide a winning combination of sustain meets growl. The FSR Aerodyne Stratocaster features the iconic Strat shape, yet with a radiused top, matching headstock colour scheme to create that cool Aerodyne look. The S5D synchronized tremolo bridge provides superior sustain whilst you get to grips with the added tremolo “whammy bar” and the Gotoh SD91-NI tuners make sure you can rely on your tuning.

Fender FSR Japan Classic 50s Telecaster

Fender FSR Japan Classic 50s Telecaster - White Blonde

The classic Fender Telecaster gets the FSR treatment here, and the guitar makers in Japan have drawn their influence from the Tele stylings of the 50s. The first thing you’ll notice, aside from the beautiful White Blonde body is that this Fender FSR Japan Classic 50s Telecaster features a combination of great pickups. It’s equipped with a Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele in the bridge, providing that classic Tele sound but comes packed with a Dragster C pickup in the neck to give you that extra power you need. Just engage the humbucker and you’ll be in a world of vintage low-mid tone heaven. This super limited guitar features a comfortable slim “C” profile neck as well as maple fingerboard, but it’s the solidbody built from ash that really brings the guitar to life. This rich and bright sounding tonewood ensure the guitar sings, whilst keeping the weight down so you can throw it around the stage.

Fender FSR Japan Classic Stratocaster

Fender FSR Japan Classic Stratocaster - Vintage White

Lovers of the vintage Fender Stratocaster rejoice, this Fender Japan Special Run Stratocaster has been built with you in mind. Taking all the classic 60s specifications such as an Alder body and 21 vintage style frets on a beautiful rosewood fretboard. The Vintage White finish and aged white plastic control knobs add a certain “played-in” look without looking like it’s been put through its paces. The three Custom 60s single coil Stratocaster pickups allow you to sculpt your sound to go from soul, to jazz to funk, to all out rock utilising the 5 way switch – five different pickup combinations means there’s tone for every style here. There’s a few modern modifications on this FSR Japan Classic Stratocaster though, with an added focus on tuning reliability and comfort. The dependable Gotoh tuners provide great tuning accuracy for a start, whereas the slim “C” neck profile reduces playing fatigue thanks to the more modern design. The designers have pulled out all the stops to provide the modern musician a vintage styled guitar that is heavy on tone.

Fender FSR Japan Classic 60s Stratocaster GH RW

Fender FSR Japan Classic 60s Stratocaster GH RW - 3 Tone Sunburst

Fender have never been a brand to shy away from kitting out there guitars with that little bit extra to make them stand out from the crowd and this Fender FSR Japan Classic 60s Stratocaster GH RW certainly catches the eye. Yes, you have that classic 60s style Stratocaster design with three vintage-style single-coil Strat pickups, but with this model, you have a selection of beautifully constructed gold hardware. No detail has been overlooked as everything from the 6-saddle vintage-style synchronised tremolo bridge to the Gotoh Tuning keys are gold, offering an entirely new look. Coupled with the 3 Tone Sunburst finish, you’re on to a winning combination. You’re probably wondering about the sound though, right? Well, the 5 way selector switch means you have 5 different pickup configurations to scroll through, a basswood body provides the warmth and sustain you need and the maple neck with modern “C” profile ensures you’re comfortable in practice, in studio and on stage. The team at Fender Japan have crafted yet another beautiful guitar for players and collectors alike.

Check out the full range of Fender guitars over at the Dawsons Website.

About The Author

Lee Glynn

Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns. After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery. Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.