Up for sale, a 1982 Fender '57 Stratocaster model ST57-115 in excellent condition and in perfect working order. From the first year of Fender Japan instrument production, this "Japanese Vintage" (JV) series guitar is an exceedingly rare example and the highest tier model available, with a nitro lacquer Sunburst finish and the same pickups, pots, plastic parts, and trem block used on the Fender USA Fullerton factory reissues from the same year.
Extremely accurate to vintage spec and sold only within Japan, this Strat has a resonant alder body and a one-piece maple neck, notable for having a bit more shoulder and roundness than the Fullerton factory necks from the same year. The gray bobbin Fullerton-made pickups deliver an array of vital tonalities. The bridge pickup has ample sparkle and clear note attack, with classic Strat "quack" in the 2 and 4 positions on the 5-way switch. The neck pickup is girthy and full, with a bell-like quality and a gutsy cut. The guitar weighs 7lbs 8oz, dialed in here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with low action and fresh 10-46 strings.
The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve with full shoulders and rolled fretboard edges, measuring .815" deep at the 1st fret and .925" at the 12th. On the vintage spec 7 1/4" radius fretboard, the original slender frets retain their full factory height, showing moderate wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-5, with wear growing fainter until fret 10. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The bone nut measures 1.675" (42.5mm) in width. On the correct '50s shape headstock, the original Kluson-style tuners show light patina and turn smoothly. The microscopic "Made In Japan" text is present under the large Fender "spaghetti" script on the headstock face, consistent with spec for the very first run of JV instruments. The four-bolt neck plate is embossed with the JV-prefix serial number, and the pencil date on the neck heel reads 5-14-82, along with the "A" factory stamp in the pocket noting the top 115 model tier.
All of the electronics work as intended, and the USA-made Fullerton-era gray bobbin pickups have matching date stamps from 1982. The CTS pots (with Sprague Orange Drop tone cap) date to the 6th week of 1982, and the 5-way Switchcraft switch is the only recent component in the harness. Plastics include the original deeply yellowed pickup covers, replacement cream knobs, and the stock one-ply pickguard which remains a brighter shade of white with one missing corner. Hardware includes the chrome plated bridge base, Fender-stamped saddles, and full-size steel trem block.
The gloss nitro lacquer two tone Sunburst finish shows some scuffing on the back lower bout body edge, some localized buckle wear just north of the tremolo cavity, and a few additional finish scratches and dings consistent with honest use. The gloss on the neck profile is extremely clean.
Exported directly from Tokyo and a model that very rarely comes up for sale, this JV Strat is one of the earliest and most storied Fender reissues, complete with the original set of "Fullerton" Fender USA gray bobbin pickups.
A padded gigbag is included.