After a stellar 12 months that has seen the arrival of some of 2023’s most alluring electric guitars, Fender Japan looks determined to maintain its momentum right up to the year’s end by unveiling another limited-edition instrument.
This time, the brain behind the likes of Souichiro Yamauchi’s hybrid Stratocaster Custom and the bold-looking Traditional '60s Competition Stripe collection has debuted the Limited Sparkle Telecaster.
As the name suggests, this is indeed a Telecaster, and, yes, it is very sparkly, arriving in a choice of Blue, Silver, Black or Orange gloss polyester sparkle finishes.
After a strong year of pushing the boundaries of some of Fender’s most famed guitar formats (look no further than the Adjusto-Matic Jazzmaster and reverse-headstock equipped Traditional Stratocaster), the Sparkle Telecaster looks to be a suitable celebratory offering in acknowledgement of such success, with a sleek party aesthetic to boot. We’re just surprised there isn’t a color-matched headstock.
At its core, the guitar has got all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a standard Telecaster, meaning there’s an alder body, C-shape maple neck and 9.5”-radius rosewood fingerboard, which in turn is topped with 22 narrow tall frets, white dot inlays and a bone nut.
Pretty standard stuff so far, but as Fender Japan is wont to do, it has further upped the Tele ante with an overhaul of the electronics department. Yes, the attention-grabbing looks are merely a small part of the overall package.
With a nod to Cabronita Telecasters of yesteryears, as well as classic Gretsch guitars, the Limited Sparkle six-strings come loaded with a pair of Black Top Filter’Tron pickups. It opens the door for some neat sonic options, especially given the fact Filter’Trons haven’t been used in a stock US Fender model for a while.
There are also vintage-style locking tuners, a through-body hardtail bridge and a standard Tele control layout.
We truly loathe to sound like a broken record here, but there really is nothing quite like this currently on offer from Fender’s main US branch (the Gold Foil Telecaster is probably closest in terms of tonal quirkiness) – an observation that is becoming all too common with these FJ creations.
But, as recent evidence has shown, it might not be long before such models do indeed start cropping up on shelves outside of Asia. That can only be a good thing, too, considering these instruments make up some of the most-hyped six-strings currently on the market.
We’ve already seen it happen with the Elemental Series guitars – a set of high-spec, modern-styled models that arrived late last year to much fanfare, and which stealthily snuck into the shelves of UK retailers in recent months.
Indeed, such was the fanfare surrounding these instruments, GuitarWorld.com’s own EIC snapped one up to see if the Elemental Series Jazzmaster was worth the hype. Spoiler alert: it was.
This alone might not be enough to suggest an influx of FJ models are on the way, but Fender CEO Andy Mooney is clearly privy to the demand surrounding these instruments, previously telling Guitar World that the brand will “continue to develop MIJ guitars for outside of Japan”.
So, will we be seeing the Limited Sparkle Telecaster hit shelves in the US and elsewhere? Well, we can’t say for sure, but there’s no harm in hoping. Previously, that limited-edition tag would’ve dampened our expectations, but the Elementals were also labeled as a limited run, so never say never.
In the meantime, head over to Fender Japan to find out more about the Limited Sparkle Telecaster, which has a price tag of approximately $1,069.