Fender Japan launches the Elemental Series – high-spec, mid-priced models that will drive modern players wild

Fender Japan Elemental Series
(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Today in ‘Japan gets all the best Fender models’ news, Fender Japan has announced the Elemental Series, a range designed to meet the demands of modern players while still retaining a reasonable price tag.

To meet that remit, Fender Japan have reworked these Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Stratocaster and Jazz Bass electric guitars and basses from the ground up. Tonally, they come equipped with Modern Modified humbuckers, complete with coil-split via the tone control for the electric guitars.

Contemporary playability is ensured by 12”-radius rosewood fingerboards, while the models’ maple necks offer a compound shape that goes from a modern C at lower frets to a D at the dusty end. Crucially, all the guitars also offer a contoured neck heel – the kind you’d normally find only on Fender’s top-end American Ultra Series.

Visually, the alder-bodied lineup has also received an overhaul with a gorgeous satin finish, available in two colors: Stone Black and Nimbus White. Given the elemental theme, we can presumably expect fire (red) and water (blue) variations down the line. Lord have mercy.

Those finishes are complemented by matching headstocks, plus an all-new pickguard shape that offers a minimalist take on the Fender design staple, just covering the lower horn.

Hardware-wise, you’re looking at an Adjusto-Matic bridge with anchored tailpiece on the Jazzmaster; six-saddle hardtail on the Telecaster; while the Stratocaster boasts a two-point Deluxe Synchronized tremolo with (yes!) pop-in arm.

The Jazz Bass, meanwhile, features a HiMass Vintage bridge for through-body stringing or top-loading, plus four controls for master volume with push/pull for active/passive; pickup selector; treble boost; and bass boost.

Elsewhere, the guitars are equipped with Fender’s staggered tuners and knurled flat-top knobs to further enhance the sleek, modern feel.

In brief, these models are absolutely jaw-dropping, and for players of a contemporary persuasion who want that Fender name on the headstock, they tick all the boxes.

What’s more, they’re reasonably priced for this kind of spec, with a ¥170,500 price tag, which translates roughly to $1,244, including gigbag.

All of which begs the question: why are these guitars only launching in Japan? Progressive players have clamored for Fender models spec’d for this kind of performance, yet the range is a limited series that looks unlikely to make its way to western shores, just like the similarly tricked-out Modern Series.

Fender Japan regularly drops highly limited models – seriously, just check out its remarkable run of desirable releases this year – and we know from our own traffic stats that players are just as excited, if not more so, by these progressive builds than the predominantly vintage-focused western designs. So, as we so often do, we hold out hope that we’ll see these outside of Japan one day.

While we wait for Fender US to do the right thing, you can find out more about the Made in Japan Elemental Series over at Fender Japan.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.