Up for sale, a 1990 Fender Stratocaster model STS-550 in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. A rare “Made in Japan” model produced during the golden age of Fender Japan production at the Fujigen factory, the STS-550 is a short-scale affair with a 24” scale length and a 22-fret maple fretboard. The tonewood complement comprises a slightly scaled-down poplar body and a maple neck, and the original trio of Hotrod-5S ceramic single coil pickups deliver plenty of chime and snap. Weighing 7lbs 8oz, this Strat has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 11-49 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.
The maple neck has a very slender C-shaped profile carve with modest shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .770” deep at the 1st fret and .830” at the 12th. On the maple fretboard (a less common option; most early STS-550s have rosewood boards), the slender fretwire exhibits a hint of wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-13 that becomes progressively fainter approaching the octave. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nut measures 1 9/16” in width. On the headstock, the Gotoh tuning machines turn smoothly, and the back of the headstock retains the small “55” sticker, denoting the model tier and original price in Japan (¥55,000). The “Made in Japan” text and J-prefix serial number are present above the contoured four-bolt neck plate.
The electronics all function as intended, with untouched solder joints, a five-way pickup selector switch and a simple Master Volume and Tone control layout. The original full-size pots date to September of 1990. The chrome hardware is well-kept, and the two-point Endrox G1 vibrato actuates smoothly and bounces quickly back to pitch with a fluid, dynamic response. Plastics include the three-ply white pickguard, with uniformly aged pickup covers and lighter aging on the knobs.
Cosmetic wear on the gloss Olympic White finish includes a handful of minor dings on the body, with limited buckle rash along the bass side of the back. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.
A gigbag is included.