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Fender Japan revives the ultra-rare Swinger model for Daiki Tsuneta’s radical-looking new signature guitar

Fender Japan Daiki Tsuneta signature Swinger
(Image credit: Fender Japan)

In recent times, Fender Japan has produced some of the brand’s most radical signature electric guitar models, most notably evidenced by Miyavi’s supercharged Telecaster and Kenji Hino’s ultra-versatile Jazz Bass.

Now, for their latest signature guitar, the folks over at Fender Japan have ditched contemporary body shapes and have instead taken a trip down memory lane, treating King Gnu frontman Daiki Tsuneta to an eye-catching, absurdly quirky Swinger six-string.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Swinger story, the model, built with surplus Musicmaster and Bass V parts, was initially introduced by Fender in 1969 and had a fleeting stint in the limelight before being shelved.

Though it was revived by Fender Japan two years ago, it was done so as part of an ultra-limited run, speculated to only be between 250 and 600-units strong. Aside from that, the Swinger has been assigned to Fender folklore as one of its lesser known beasts.

Fender Japan Daiki Tsuneta signature Swinger

(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Nevertheless, the Swinger could be poised to make a comeback, with Tsuneta’s stylish new axe looking like the range’s most appealing one yet.

The quirky body shape has returned in all its glory – sporting a kind of dual double-cutaway design – as has the pointy arrow-like headstock, adorned with nothing but the Fender logo.

As opposed to the previous iterations, which were almost always equipped with conventional single-coils, the Tsuneta model instead opts for a soapbar-style pickup, said to be suitable for “thick and chewy” tones.

The control layout is also the same, though some housekeeping reshuffles have occurred. The three-way switch is now located in between the master volume and tone controls, as opposed to being at the end of the lower cutaway.

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Fender Japan Daiki Tsuneta signature Swinger

(Image credit: Fender Japan)
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Fender Japan Daiki Tsuneta signature Swinger

(Image credit: Fender Japan)
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Fender Japan Daiki Tsuneta signature Swinger

(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Further deviations from the original Swinger include a vintage-style synchronized tremolo, smaller tortoise-shell pickguard and a 9.5”-radius, U-shape maple neck and fretboard – the entire line initially featured rosewood ‘boards, due to the material surplus.

Other appointments found on the player-friendly 24”-scale length axe include a basswood body, locking tuners and a bone nut.

“I never thought that my instrument would come out of Fender, so I'm really happy,” Tsuneta comments. “I wouldn't believe it even if I was told when I was a kid [laughs]. 

“It's small in size but high in power,” he continued. “The guitar has an outstanding feeling. I was particular about the unusual Swinger body, the original pickguard colorway, and the simple and stylish finish.”

As is the case with most of the guitars that come out of the Fender Japan factory, Daiki Tsuneta’s new signature Swinger will only be available in Japan when it is released October this year. It retails for 165,000 yen (~$1,500).

Still, here's hoping that some similarly styled Swingers appear on our shelves in the near future.

To find out more, visit Fender Japan.

Matt Owen

Matt is a News 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.