Fender Japan harks back to summer with breezy, ultra-limited Art Canvas Esquire models

Fender Japan Art Canvas Esquire
(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Another day, another eye-catching release from Fender Japan, which has stayed true to its show-stopping six-string form by teaming up with renowned City Pop artist Hiroshi Nagai for a pair of ultra-limited Art Canvas Esquires.

Both Telecaster-derived models feature almost identical core spec sheets, though fluctuate heavily in the aesthetic department, which is headed up by summer-inspired landscapes strapped to the body of each Esquire.

Build-wise, there’s nothing too groundbreaking: ash bodies are paired with maple necks and maple or rosewood fretboards, with the former featuring a U-shape profile and the latter flashing dot inlays and 21 frets.

As Esquires, only one single-coil makes the cut, with both Art Canvas creations comprising American Vintage ‘58 Tele pickups, master volume controls and master tone knobs.

Fender Japan Art Canvas Esquire

(Image credit: Fender Japan)

In this scenario, the usual three-way switch acts as a tone control trigger. Position one engages the tone control and position two turns it off, while position three engages a preset treble roll-off.

Like we said, nothing too mind-boggling. The same, however, can’t be said for the custom artwork that has been created by Nagai for the occasion.

While the first model busies itself with blue, offering up palm trees, the ocean, the beach and a car – akin to one of Nagai’s most famous pieces – the second model adopts a pink theme, capturing yet more palm trees in a summer’s evening.

Fender Japan Art Canvas Esquire

(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Both prints share similar aesthetics to some of Nagai’s other City Pop artwork – a visual that taps into vaporwave electronic music, future-funk and retro anime design ideologies.

Only 30 of each Art Canvas Esquire will be made and, like all other Fender Japan offerings, will only be made available in the Big F’s Japanese market.

Price-wise, both models cost 198,000 Japanese Yen – that's approximately $1,340.

Thematically, the guitars almost resemble Heather Brown's nautical-inspired Original Canvas Esquire that Fender Japan debuted last September.

Fender Japan is slowly growing a collection of electric guitars that borderline rival the models currently offered by its US counterpart. Highlights from recent times include two striking signature guitars for Ken, Scandal’s sensationally styled signature Stratocaster and Telecaster, and Blue Paisley and Blue Flower Acoustasonic Telecasters.

As well as quirky designs, the brand has also revived the bold Limited International Color series, and unveiled a Japan Junior line of 24”-scale Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster models.

Head over to Fender Japan to find out more about the Art Canvas Esquires.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.