Up for sale, a 1982 Fender '57 Stratocaster model ST57-115 in excellent condition and in perfect working order, 100% original save for a five-way switch. 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.
Everything right down to the gray bobbin USA-made pickups and CTS pots are accounted for, and this JV series Strat is notable for having a bit more shoulder and roundness than the Fullerton factory necks from the same year. Extremely accurate to vintage spec and sold only within Japan, this Strat has a resonant alder body and chiming, clear quality that translates well through the pickups. 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 3oz, 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 moderate shoulder and rolled fretboard edges, measuring .800" deep at the 1st fret and .910" at the 12th fret. The original frets are intact with their full factory height and good meat, showing light wear on the crowns of frets 1-9. The guitar conforms to traditional Fender specs with a 7 1/4" fretboard radius, 25 1/2" scale, and a bone nut that measures a full 1 11/16" 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 Fender name on the headstock face, consistent with spec for the very first run of JV instruments, and the JV-prefix neck plate is intact. The pencil date on the neck heel reads 5-19-82, along with the "A" factory stamp noting the top 115 model tier.
All of the electronics work as intended, with the USA-made Fullerton-era gray bobbin pickups featuring 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 more recent component on the guitar. All of the original plastic parts are intact, with aged knobs and fainter aging on the pickup covers, while the one-ply pickguard remains a bright shade of white. Hardware includes the chrome plated bridge base, Fender-stamped saddles, and full-size trem block for optimal sustain.
The gloss nitro lacquer two tone Sunburst finish shows some small finish dings and scuffs on the body perimeter, with wear more localized on the lower bout edge near the rear strap button. Wear is otherwise limited to some light finish scratches and minor marks, largely relegated to the back. The neck profile retains its smooth nitro gloss, with a couple nicks and light palm wear through the gloss on the fretboard edges.
Exported directly from Tokyo and a model that very, 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 rare brown molded vintage Fender hardshell is included, also from the early '80s and typically seen with Elite series USA models.