In the early eighties when Fender went looking for an offshore manufacturer to make Fender licensed guitars they settled on a Japanese manufacturer who was making equal, or even better quality instruments than Fender was making in the US. The Fujigen factory was making most Fender models with such precision and quality that Fender was shocked at how good they were. So, in 1982 a deal was struck and Fender Japan officially established the first official Fender guitars not made in the USA.
The first series to hit the market were the JV (Japanese Vintage) Fender guitars and were built from the original blueprints supplied by Fender and made in the Fujigen and Mastumoku factories by the people who had been making the Greco Fender copies. These JV Fenders were domestic market copies of the '57 and '62 Strat and P bass, the '52 Tele and the '62 Jazz bass.
Due to demand for these new models overseas, Fender Japan decided to make a Squier series of guitars for export that would run side by side with the JV Fender series. The Squier name had been purchased by Fender back in '65 and was originally a string manufacturer, but Fender decided to use it for their export Japanese made Fenders. At this point Squier was not a cheap, "knock off" name used by Fender for inferior quality look-a-likes but was a name they owned that could be used to differentiate the domestic product from the export one.
This one is an early, Made In Japan "E Series" Squier that is a fantastic workhorse. This one lives up to the reputation these 80s MIJ Squiers have acquired over the years as excellent bang for your buck instruments. If you are looking at this, you probably know all about these cool guitars. It shares similar specs as some JV models at a fraction of the market price.
Crafted in the Fujigen factory, this Squier was made with the same quality components and attention to detail as Fender Japan's Fender-branded instruments. Reflecting mostly 1950s features, this Strat boasts a solid ash body, a bold black finish complimented by white plastic parts, and a classic Strat headstock with block logo.
Tonally, the guitar features a trio of original single coils coupled to a five-way pickup selector switch. The ash body delivers a distinct midrange content and punch, and the pickups offer plenty of sparkle, snap, and bell-like chime. The guitar weighs 8.1 lbs and has been nicely set up with low action, and accurate intonation.
The neck has a modestly chunky C shape at the nut with lightly rolled fretboard edges and healthy shoulder in every register, measuring .875" deep at the 1st fret and .945" at the 12th. The maple fretboard retains the original slender frets which have their full factory height, showing only very light wear on the crowns of frets 1-3, extending exclusively beneath the plain strings until fret 6.
The truss rod adjusts easily, the neck is straight, and the guitar plays nicely in every register. The scale length is a full 25 1/2", and the nut measures 1 5/8". On the headstock, the original set of chrome Fender Japan tuning machines are intact, along with the small "36" sticker, noting that this guitar cost 36,000 yen when new - a tidy sum in the mid 80s.
Cosmetically, this Strat is mighty clean. Some expected light playing wear here and there but nothing offensive. All of the electronics function as they should, with untouched solder joints and a trio of full-size pots. The original plastic parts are all accounted for including the guard, knobs, pickup covers, and switch tip, and the chrome hardware is untarnished.
This E Series Squier Stratocaster is a ripping, straightforward, punchy sounding Fender with a nice chunky neck and a great setup that creates a satisfying playing experience.
Comes in a Fender gig bag in good condition.