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1996 Fender Richie Kotzen Signature Stratocaster Model STR-135RK w/ Dimarzio, Japan MIJ Fujigen


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Up for sale, a 1996 Fender Richie Kotzen signature Stratocaster model STR-135RK in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. A first-year example of the Kotzen model, this very rare signature edition was made at the Fujigen factory in the golden age of Fender Japan production. The Kotzen Strat features an ash body with a maple veneered top, satin-finished maple neck with abalone dot inlay and 22 fret maple slab fretboard, 12" fretboard radius, super jumbo fretwire, gold hardware, and USA-made Dimarzio pickups.

Kotzen is best known for his stints with Poison, Mr. Big, and the Winery Dogs, and his signature Strat model is a purpose-built instrument with a bold, articulate acoustic voice that translates well through the trio of custom-voiced Dimarzio single coils. The guitar weighs 7lbs 8oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a round, moderately chunky C-shaped profile carve at the nut, with just a hair more overall heft as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .855" deep at the 1st fret and .915" at the 12th. The 22 fret slab maple fretboard has a 12" radius and original super jumbo fretwire that shows moderate wear on the crowns of frets 1-7, with wear extending beneath the plain strings and growing gradually lighter until fret 14. The guitar plays well up the 25 1/2" scale, and the neck is straight with a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures a full 1 11/16" in width, and the headstock features Kotzen's signature and a set of gold Gotoh tuning machines with white pearloid buttons. The "Made in Japan" text and N-prefix serial are present above the four-bolt neck plate.

The electronics function as intended, with the trio of Dimarzio single coils wired to full-size Japanese pots. There is patina across the gold hardware including the bridge, jack cup, F neck plate, and Gotoh tuners, and the plastics are uniformly aged. While Fender's catalog shows this model with a white pearloid pickguard, the tortoise pickguard is ostensibly original and the correct tortoise pattern for this era of Fender Japan production (mounting hole pattern is also an exact match).

The body has an almost opaque finish on top, with greater transparency exposing the broad grain of the ash on the back. Cosmetic wear includes prominent pick wear across the strum path, some scuffing along the lower bout body edge, nicks on the body perimeter, and finish checking at the edges of the neck pocket. The satin neck finish has a sliver of palm wear through the finish on the fretboard edges, with a few small spots of wear on the fretboard and bass-side shoulder as well.

The original Fender Japan black tolex hardshell case is included.