Stratocaster isn't just a guitar, it's a cultural icon, a piece of modern
Americana. Even if not made in America. Does it
matter if the person that screwed it together had a street address in the
US of A, Mexico or Japan? He or she will still be giving form to Leo
Fender's revolutionary early-fifties design. A design as obviously
American as a '57 Chevy. But maybe better. A 2006 Chevrolet looks
nothing like the over the top, chrome bedecked, '57 model. But a 2006
Stratocaster looks almost exactly like its 1954 forerunner. Leo got
it right (give or take the odd detail) first time out.
Since 1954 the Stratocaster has evolved,
changed direction a few times, maybe taken a few wrong turns occasionally .
But has remained true in spirit. Unlike the corporate
manufacturing world which has changed immeasurably. Fender
Japan was set up in 1982 for good business
reasons (outlined on the 'History' page). They
made, and still make, fine quality
instruments, but nowadays, bar a couple of models, only for their home market.
However, there are
many 'MIJ' (Made in Japan) or 'CIJ' (Crafted in Japan) Stratocasters in
the hands of US
and European owners or floating about the used market. The point of this site is to examine the range of different
Stratocasters produced in Japan for export ( not the current
excellent non-export range) and perhaps answer some of the questions
that may arise in an owner/potential-owner's mind when confronted by a Stratocaster bearing a 'Made in Japan' or
'Crafted in Japan' label. If you are unsure what model Stratocaster you
have, just follow the menu links and all may well be revealed. I
emphasise that this site only covers those models officially exported NOT
current production models.
Please remember, I am not expert on Stratocasters (or anything else). Much
of the information herein has been sourced from the internet, particularly from
postings to the Fender
Discussion Page forums, and by referring to published data - a particularly
good reference being the excellent 'The Fender
Book' by Tony Bacon and Paul Day. Go to my books & links page and buy it now!
However, any mistakes, factual or otherwise, are mine. Either
because I misconstrued something, or unwisely accepted third-party
information as fact.
The names Fender and
Stratocaster are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments.