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1996 Fender Craft Collection Stratocaster STG-65 Matte Brown w/ Gold Hardware, Japan MIJ


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Up for sale, a 1996 Fender Craft Collection Stratocaster model STG-65 in 100% original condition and in perfect working order. An uncommon "Made in Japan" model offered exclusively to the Japanese domestic market from 1996-97, this Strat boasts a number of unique features including a ruddy "Matte Brown" satin finish over a lightly figured two-piece ash body, gold hardware and black plastics.

The ash body ensures a certain sonic authority and midrange complexity, paired with a maple neck and thick slab rosewood fretboard. The trio of ceramic magnet single coils channel the acoustic qualities of the instrument into an array of Strat tonalities, with more cut and punch than alnico magnet coils. The bridge pickup has plenty of sparkle and upper midrange presence, the middle pickup is clear and percussive, and the neck pickup is throaty and rich while still having a crystalline snap in the trebles. The five-way switch also offers easy access to the signature Strat quack in the 2 and 4 positions too. The guitar weighs 8lbs 3oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile with moderate shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .850" deep at the 1st fret and .970" at the 12th. The slab rosewood fretboard has a 7 1/4" vintage-spec radius, and the original slender frets retain their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing moderate wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-5, and lighter wear extending to fret 9. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2" scale with a straight neck and responsive optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1.650" (42mm) in width, and a gold Fender logo sits atop the Matte Brown-finished headstock face. The original Kluson-style Gotoh gold-plated tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch well. The STG-65 model designation is stamped in the neck pocket, and the "Made in Japan" text and N-prefix serial are present above the four-bolt neck plate.

The electronics comprise a trio of ceramic magnet single coils and a wiring harness with untouched solder joints and a traditional Volume/Tone/Tone Strat control array. The gold plating on the hardware has plenty of shine, with light patina particularly on the back edge of the bridge. The vibrato is complete with its original arm, actuating smoothly with a full-size diecast block. Original plastic parts comprise a three-ply black pickguard and matching pickup covers and knobs.

The satin Matte Brown finish highlights the uncommonly dynamic grain and light figuring on the two-piece ash body, and cosmetic wear includes some requisite scuffing across the pick path, with various small finish chips on the body perimeter, some pinhead-sized dings on top, largely clustered on the lower bout, and additional minor marks and scuffs on the back. The finish is smooth on the neck profile length with just a few microscopic marks.

A gigbag is included.