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Fender Japan revives some of the brand’s boldest-looking Stratocasters with the Limited International Color series

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster
(Image credit: Fender Japan)

After turning heads with Scandal’s stellar 15th anniversary signature guitars last month, Fender Japan has continued its red-hot form by unveiling the Limited International Color range of Stratocasters.

The limited-edition catalog is a reissue of a US-made series from the early ‘80s, and uses identical color samples and product drawings in a bid to revive the same eye-catching colorways and aesthetics that arrived with the original drop.

Said samples and blueprints were ordered directly from the Big F’s US branch, with each model flashing uniquely named finishes that pay homage to the countries that inspired them.

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster in Maui Blue (Image credit: Fender Japan)

Maui Blue – named after the Hawaiian island – is a clear highlight, with the pastel-leaning finish lining up alongside the borderline hair metal-esque Monaco Yellow and Morocco Red.

Capri Orange and the alluring Sahara Taupe finishes complete the Limited International Color range’s bold and bright color palette.

Fender Japan has further stayed true to the cosmetics of the originals by equipping each model with a three-ply eggshell pickguard, black single-coil pickup covers, black plastic control knobs, black switch tip and black whammy bar end.

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster in Morocco Red (Image credit: Fender Japan)

Each guitar also features either a maple or rosewood fingerboard, depending on its finish: whereas Capri Orange and Morocco Red feature rosewood ‘boards, Sahara Taupe, Monaco Yellow and Maui Blue boast maple alternatives.

Not only has Fender Japan paid close attention to recreating the physical appearances of the US-made Limited International series, it has also gone to great lengths to ensure the functional spec sheets are almost identical.

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster in Monaco Yellow (Image credit: Fender Japan)

Some of the finer true-to-original details include the serial number on the oversized headstock, bullet truss rod, 21 frets, original Fender Vintage “F” Stamped tuners and three-bolt neck plate, as well the six-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge.

The biggest deviations from the original design are the body – the original ones featured ash bodies, while Fender Japan’s reissue models are composed from basswood – and the fingerboard materials. Maple was used for all Fender US Limited Color Strats in the ‘80s, while Fender Japan introduces rosewood to the mix.

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster in Capri Orange (Image credit: Fender Japan)

Otherwise, the Limited International Color Strats feature U-shaped maple necks, bone nuts, black or white dot inlays and a trio of Vintage-Style Single-Coil Strat pickups, which are dictated by the usual Strat control layout.

That means a five-position blade switch lines up alongside a master volume tone and separate tone controls for the neck and middle pickups.

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster

Fender Japan Limited International Color Stratocaster in Sahara Taupe (Image credit: Fender Japan)

To find out more about the guitars – which are unfortunately exclusive to Japanese markets, and limited to this year only – head over to Fender Japan (opens in new tab).

It's not the first time Fender Japan has dipped into the history books and brought back older models. Last year, it revived the Strat-Tele hybrid model, the Fender '51, resurrected the Squier Katana for Hama Okamoto's signature bass and reprised the Super-Sonic body shape.

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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.