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1984 Fender Master Series Flame Standard Vintage Set-Neck Guitar, Dan Smith-designed, Japan MIJ


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Up for sale, a 1984 Fender Flame Standard in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. Part of Fender’s short-lived Masters Series and only available from 1983-85, the Flame Standard and its sister model, the Espirit, were produced by Fender Japan at the venerable Fujigen factory in sparingly small quantities. Unique among Fender Japan production, the Master Series models were designed by Fender luminary Dan Smith in the USA with the intention of competing with the humbucker-outfitted offerings of Gibson. These guitars were marketed to musicians in both Japan and the USA, at a time when Fender Japan production was largely focused on the Japanese domestic market.

The Flame and Espirit models both had three tiers, and while strikingly similar in appearance, the Flame is the slightly smaller-bodied of the two - more in line with Les Paul dimensions. While the Espirit model would go on to have a second life as the Robben Ford signature model and as a Fender Japan Custom Shop offering, the Flame series was limited to the original 1983-85 production window.

The Flame Standard model seen here is outfitted with chrome-plated Schaller hardware and Schaller-made humbuckers, finished in a rich Cherry Sunburst. Tonewoods include a chambered alder body, carved maple top, and a maple set neck topped with a bound rosewood fretboard. The stock Schaller humbuckers are unique to the Master series, faithfully capturing the inherent warmth and richness of the chambered construction with a full, harmonically-complex midrange and plenty of top end definition and articulation. The pickups are highly responsive to user inputs, and while the bridge pickup has a distinct chiming character and bite, the neck pickup is full and round-sounding with broad low end. This Flame Standard weighs 8lbs 8oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action and spot-on intonation.

The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve with moderate shoulder at the nut and a hair more overall heft further up the fretboard, measuring .810” deep at the 1st fret and .905” at the 12th. The bound rosewood fretboard has a 12” radius with pearloid dot inlays and flawless medium jumbo fretwire. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The stock bone nut measures 1 11/16" in width. The bound headstock has the Fender logo inlaid in pearloid, with additional pearl inlay and the "Flame" script text. The “Fender”-embossed Schaller-built tuners turn smoothly and hold excellent pitch.

On the body, all of the electronics work as intended, with the Schaller-built humbuckers wired to the stock harness with untouched solder joints and full-size pots dating to February, 1984. The pickups are governed by a three-way selector switch and dedicated Volume and Tone controls for each humbucker. Hardware includes the Schaller roller bridge and tailpiece, both of which have notably clean chrome plating that shines like new. The original quartet of “F”-capped knobs are present.

The gloss Cherry Sunburst finish is deep and rich, highlighting the broad grain in the carved maple top. Cosmetic wear on the finish is limited to a handful of dings on the back, one tiny chip adjacent to the knobs, and just a handful of faint finish scratches on the body as a whole. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile itself is immaculate.

A well-padded black zippered softshell case is included.