Fender Contemporary Stratocaster Japan

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Fender Contemporary Stratocaster Japan
FenderContemporary.jpg
Manufacturer Fender Japan
Period 1984—1987
Construction
Body type Solid
Neck joint Bolt-on
Woods
Body Alder or Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Rosewood or Maple
Hardware
Bridge Fender Schaller System I, System II, System III Tremolo
Pickup(s) Variable, see Models
Colors available
Usually metallic colors. Some models are sunburst.

Fender Contemporary Stratocaster electric guitars were produced by Fender Japan in the 1980s.

General features[edit]

  • “D” profile neck with a 12" radius.
  • "BiFlex" truss rod adjustment at the top of the neck.
  • Microtilt neck angle fine adjustment.
  • Some models have string trees.
  • Some models have a coil split switch.
  • 22 medium jumbo frets.
  • Fender Roto-matic tuners, and 4 bolt neck plate.
  • 11 screw pickguard. Some models don't have a pickguard.
  • String locking.
  • Fender Schaller System I, System II, System III tremolo systems. Some are fitted with Kahler 2500/2520
  • Various combinations of single coil and or humbucking pickups on various models.
  • 25.5" scale length except model 27-5500 which has a 24.75" scale length.
  • Some models feature black coloured necks and/or black coloured headstocks.
  • Vast majority of these will have a basswood bodies

Models[edit]

  • 27-5700: 2 single coil and 1 humbucking pickups, 5 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System III tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-5800: 2 humbucking pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System III tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-4100: 2 single coil and 1 humbucking pickups, 5 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System II tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-4200: 2 humbucking pickups, 3 position selector switch, 1 volume, 1 tone, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-4300: 3 single coil pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume, 2 tones, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, top mounted output jack.
  • 27-4302: 3 single coil pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume, 2 tones, System I tremolo, maple fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, top mounted output jack.
  • 27-4400: 1 humbucking pickup, 1 volume, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-5000: 2 humbucking pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-5500: 2 humbucking pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 24.75" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • 27-5400: 2 humbucking pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
  • Unknown: There is an unknown model number featuring 2 single coil and 1 humbucking pickups, 3 independent selector switches (one per pickup), 1 volume, 1 TBX, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, and side mounted output jack.
  • Unknown: There is an unknown model number featuring 2 single coil and 1 humbucking pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume, 1 TBX, System I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, and top mounted output jack.

History[edit]

The Fender Contemporary models were the first Fender Japan models to be exported as Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters. The previous Fender Japan models exported from Japan were all Fender Squier models. The Fender Contemporary models were manufactured from 1984 to 1987 by FujiGen Gakki and these Stratocasters were designed to be Superstrats (Super Strat) with humbucking pickups and Floyd Rose like tremolos made by Schaller and Kahler. There was a lower priced Fender Contemporary Squier model produced as well. The Fender Contemporary Stratocaster and Telecaster models were part of the Fender Japan E series model range.

When CBS sold Fender to its current owners in 1984 there was a transitional period from 1984 to 1987 with limited Fender USA production resulting in mostly Fender Japan and leftover stock being sold. There are also Fender Contemporary Telecaster models with HSS or HH pickup configurations and switches for selecting pickup options. The Fender Contemporary Telecaster models used the same tremolo systems as the Fender Contemporary Stratocaster models. Black Francis used a Fender Contemporary Telecaster in the Pixies.

There were also USA Contemporary Stratocasters and Telecasters which were totally different than the original Japanese models in terms of features and construction. These short-lived American-made models were made by the Fender Custom Shop in the mid-1990s.

Technical information[edit]

1985 Fender Contemporary Stratocaster with System III Tremolo and Humbucking Pickups

The System I bridge string height is set by adjustable pivot post screws and has no individual string height adjustments but has individual string intonation adjustments and is very much like the Gibson Tune-o-matic bridge in terms of intonation and string height adjustments. The System I tremolo system uses a behind the nut string locking mechanism. The System II and System III bridges have individual string height and individual string intonation adjustments. The System II and III tremolo systems use a height adjustable locking nut.

The System II tremolo system was designed by John Page, Chip Todd and Charlie Gressett. The System III tremolo system was designed by John Page, Dan Smith, Charlie Gressett and John Carruthers. The System I, II and III tremolo systems were manufactured in Germany by Schaller. Sometimes parts of the tremolo system are lost and one common modification is to make the bridge function as a hardtail by locking the bridge into a non movable position and installing a string tree for the first and second strings so that the strings don't slip out of the nut slots.

The System 1 bridge can be replaced successfully with a Floyd Rose licensed bridge. The slightly wider pivot screw spacing of the System 1 bridge needs a Floyd Rose licensed bridge design with one pivot screw cutaway that extends to the edge of the bridge allowing the Floyd Rose licensed bridge to mount onto the System 1 pivot screws. This configuration is most common in a "Floyd Rose Gotoh" bridge. Most Floyd Rose bridge designs have two pivot screw cutaways that are limited to the width of the pivot screws, and these will not fit the System 1 pivot screw spacing.

Some models exported to UK were fitted with Kahler Traditional Series tremolos, stamped "Made in the USA", and supplied with the American Precision Metal Works, Inc. set-up instructions and Allen keys.

The pickups used in the Contemporary models were manufactured by Fujigen. All of the pickups used on the Contemporary models have alnico magnets instead of ceramic. The humbucking pickups used in the Contemporary models have a DC resistance which is approximately 7.6 kilohms. The single coil pickups used in the Contemporary models have a DC resistance which is approximately 5.6 kΩ. The Contemporary models that use a TBX tone control use 500 kΩ volume pots and use 0.022 µF tone capacitors.

Serial numbers[edit]

The early Fender Japan E series serial numbers from 1984-1987 follow the Fender USA serial number format of E = eighties and the first digit of the serial number representing the year.

For example, E6XXXXX = 1986.

Most of the Fender Japan serial numbers do not follow this format. Instead, several have serial numbers beginning with A or B followed by six numerals, e.g. AXXXXXX or BXXXXXX.

The Fender USA serial format was used on the Fender Japan E series because most of them were exported to the USA while Fender was undergoing a transitional period.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]