Fender Limited Run MADE IN JAPAN 2018 model roundup
We're taking a look at the new Japanese made Fender models and what sets them apart from other models in the Fender series'.
Freshly made for 2018, Fender hinted at the release of a new limited run at NAMM 2017, but we've just had our first chance to try them for ourselves! Japanese craft Fenders have always been highly desirable, for a near unparalleled level of workmanship and wonderfully comfortable neck designs.
Fender's relationship with Japan goes back as far as the 70s, where Japanese strat copies were proving fair competition for sales. Fender were unable to produce guitars at the same price point and of the same quality to keep up with their Japanese counterparts, so the decision was made to move their most affordable production lines to Japan, and with it marked the next chapter in Fender's global presence. Control of the Fender Japanese production has changed hands a lot since the 90's, however in 2015 Fender reclaimed ownership, and have been faithfully recreating vintage spec instruments and showcasing the high standard of Japanese craftsmanship ever since.
The first models we've gotten our hands on is the Fender Hybrid 60s Strat in Burgundy Mist Metallic finish and a Fender Hybrid 60's Tele in Surf Green finish. Designed to marry old with new, the Hybrid models features modern appointments and an abundance of retro style.
The Fender Hybrid 60s Strat is a tip of the cap to classic Fender design. An ergonomic contoured Alder body in iconic double cutaway strat design is in keeping with traditional spec. A retro 'U' shape Maple neck is highly comfortable for players who rest their thumb on the back or side of the neck, and a genuine Rosewood fingerboard ensures crisp tonal balance and rich, natural overtones. The key component on all these models are the pickups, and the appointed Fender USA Vintage Stratocaster pickups are powerful, tonally versatile and highly articulate, we can't imagine a better pairing! Modern additions include 'Vintage look' locking tuners, medium-jumbo frets, a flatter 9.5" fingerboard radius and vintage saddles, all of which provide contemporary levels of comfort, practicality and playability to achieve a unique blend of old and new.
The Fender Hybrid 60s Tele follows suit with similar modern spec appointments. 'Vintage look' locking tuners, flatter 9.5" fingerboard radius plus additional tonal switching with a 4 position blade switch for huge versatility in your sound. A U shape Maple neck is highly comfortable again for players who like to rest their thumb on the back or side of the neck while playing, and the Rosewood fretboard rounds out the tonal spectrum for a finely balanced sound. The pickups are American Vintage 58s, wound faithfully with original 50s specifications for that quintessential warmth and twang that drew players to Telecasters in the first place. Vintage appointments are made in the form of traditional Alder construction, retro knurled flat top knobs and 3 saddle American Vintage string-through bridge with brass saddles, completing the retro 60s look.
The final model in our Made In Japan line up is the Fender Traditions 60s Strat in Candy Tangerine finish.The Fender Traditional 60s Strat features iconic double cutaway strat design with an ergonically contoured Basswood body, 3 Vintage American Single Coil pickups to deliver highly articulate and sonically versatile tones, controlled as you may expect by a classic 5 way selector switch and genuine Rosewood fretboard for arguably the richest sound possible. Stand out specs of this model include the updated body radius, authentic aged plastic parts and retro styling for a unique looking strat with expert Japanese construction. Additional features include mainstays like the retro U shape Maple neck, as well as a Chrome Vintage style 6 point bridge, Chrome Vintage machine heads, a Bone nut and 21 Vintage medium-jumbo frets for a guitar that not only sounds fantastic, but looks outstanding.
This latest series from Fender is a welcome revival of some classic looks, models and specs from yesteryear, designed to stand up to the most modern spec guitars with all the best aspects of old and new combined. The result? Fantastic looking, quality sounding and some of the most comfortable guitars you've ever played!