These Fender Contemporary Stratocaster guitars were made by Fender Japan from 1985 to 1987 (basically when the USA factory was either not operating at all, or just re-establishing). This is an example of the third series of the model, which differ from earlier Contemporary Stratocaster models by the presence of a pickguard and, in this case, the HSS pickup layout. This is an early MIJ guitar, with the 'Made in Japan' on the headstock decal rather than on the base of the neck near the body join.
The bridge on this guitar is a stock bridge from the factory, and is a rare type made for Fender by Kahler. It is referred to as a "system 3 bridge". These are fast becoming rare because many owners lose the vibrato bar (thankfully present on this guitar). The trem bar is a key element to this bridge as it serves three functions. Underneath the metal tip or cap (the cap is missing on this example, but you could always adapt a plastic tip to fit) is an "allen key" for adjusting the locking mechanism for the strings. (The locking nut on this guitar has been converted to a normal nut by a previous owner, obviously sick of the hassle when changing strings!) On the end of the vibrato arm that fits into the bridge there is a larger allen wrench. This is used to adjust the bridge height and spring tension when using it as a floating bridge. The allen screw is located under the strap button on the back of the body.
Within 2 to 3 years of the design change to the bridge, Fender broke partnership with Kahler and moved on with Floyd Rose replacement parts, which many regard as a shame. As far as design is concerned these Kahler-bridge equipped guitars are superb. It is also rumoured that they were dropped because they were stealing the market from American Fenders with the standard floating bridge.
The original paint on this guitar is still in remarkably good condition, with only minor chips and marks (check the 'more pictures' link below), and is a stunning colour, being a faintly gold pearl (rather than metallic) paint. It is difficult to be certain how much of the 'gold' tinge is original and how much is due to yellowing of the clearcoat, but whatever the case it is a stunning look! The black headstock really sets it off. A previous owner has inscribed the neck plate with his name (the plate is plain on this model, so easily replaced if desired).
Pickups are original, just like all the rest of the hardware, and are in the Humbucker/Single/Single configuration, with a coil tap mini switch located near the tone knobs.
A very usable, affordable, collectable and beautiful Fender Japan Strat! Comes complete with a period hard shell case, which could well be its original.
Sold to Jesse