Thanks to a string of wild, wacky and wonderful electric guitars, Fender Japan has become a reliable source of six-string wonderment. From its desirable collection of downsized Junior models to the electronic genius of its Miyavi Telecaster signature guitar, the Big F’s Asian branch has rarely – if ever – missed the mark.
But for its latest release – a new version of its Hybrid II Stratocaster – the brand has totally flipped the script. Literally.
Meet the limited-run Fender Hybrid II Strat HSS, which, for all intents and purposes, could be Fender Japan’s best release yet. Why? Well, just look at it.
Eagle-eyed Fender fans will no doubt be immediately drawn to the reversed Telecaster headstock, which has been paired with a Stratocaster body. Now, reverse Strat headstocks are nothing new, but a flipped Tele ’stock on a Strat model? It might just be the first time such a pairing has been offered on a factory instrument.
But this beast’s beauty goes beyond its hybrid Strat-Tele DNA. Elsewhere, the Hybrid II comes equipped with a luxurious Ocean Turquoise Metallic finish and three-ply tortoise shell pickguard, which in turn accommodates an HSS pickup configuration. It's a combination of colors and components that makes it an especially aesthetically pleasing instrument.
The pickup configuration comprises a Modern Modified humbucker Type I and a duo of Hybrid II Custom Voiced single-coils. These are controlled by way of a five-way switch, master volume control and two tone parameters.
At its core the six-string is a standard Strat, featuring an alder body, modern C-shape maple neck, a 22-fret, 9.5”-radius maple fingerboard, as well as a 25.5” scale length and bone nut.
As for hardware, there’s a two-point synchronized tremolo with vintage-style saddles, vintage locking tuners and a four-bolt neck plate. To be honest, we were sold by the headstock alone.
It’s not the first time Fender Japan has dabbled in Strat-Tele hybrid models, either, after it revived the Fender ‘51 in November last year.
So, is it FJ’s best drop yet? Well, it’s got some stiff competition, most notably in the form of the ‘F’-hole Thinline Telecasters, Hama Okamoto’s signature Katana bass and Daiki Tsuneta’s radical-looking Swinger.
It’s a tough call, but that headstock/body pairing just about gives it the edge for us.
Unfortunately, the Hybrid II HSS is only available from Fender Japan’s online store or its Miki Gakki Americamura megastore for ¥148,500 (approx $1,158). Come on, bring it to the US, Fender…
To find out more, visit Fender Japan.