Fender Japan trades wild builds for classy vibes with stylish reverse headstock-equipped Traditional Stratocaster

Fender Japan Traditional Stratocaster Limited Run Reverse Headstock
(Image credit: Fender Japan)

Fender Japan has developed a reputation for bringing out some of the wildest electric guitars and bass guitars in recent memory, and while these eyebrow-raising offerings usually steal the headlines, it’s important to not forget the brand is also capable of some truly classy instruments.

To hammer home the point, the Big F’s Asian branch has introduced a limited-edition Traditional Series Stratocaster, which flaunts a reversed oversized headstock.

Once again, the Strat was made specifically for Japanese markets – Fender Japan always seems to have a monopoly on cool models – and features a few notable appointments, chief among which is a narrower nut width to make it “easy for Japanese players to play”.

In practice, the nut is 1.615" wide, as opposed to the standard 1.650" width found on Player Stratocasters.

At its core, though, it’s a classic Stratocaster through and through, with Fender Japan staying true to its double-cut heritage this time out rather than attempting to reinvent the aesthetic or functional wheel.

The spec sheet features an alder body, U-shaped maple neck, 9.5”-radius maple fretboard with 21 vintage-style frets and, of course, a reverse headstock, which takes inspiration from ‘70s CBS-era Fender heads.

The classy Three Color Sunburst is complemented with gold hardware – a six-saddle vintage-style tremolo and Fender vintage tuners – and an anodized pickguard, the latter of which houses a trio of Vintage-Style single-coils.

As you can probably guess, “vintage” is the aim of the game with this Traditional Series Strat, which has also been treated to a modest sprinkle of modern flair.

As such, the single coils in question are wired to a standard Strat control circuit, comprising a five-way position switch, master volume pot and two tone controls for the neck and middle.

According to Fender Japan, the Traditional Series Strat will be made in limited quantities, and will only be sold at either the Fender Online Shop or at the recently opened flagship Fender store in Miki Gakki Americamura.

Price-wise, the Traditional Series Strat weighs in at 148,500 Japanese Yen, which approximately equates to $1,135.

Head over to Fender Japan to find out more.

It seems to be the case that Fender Japan is quite fond of the reverse headstock design, which can be found on its Tele headstock-equipped Hybrid II HSS Stratocaster and Michya Haruhata’s Masterbuilt signature Strat.

Some more examples of Fender Japan’s classic offerings include the 24”-scale Junior Collection of Strats, Teles and Jazzmasters, as well as a recent revival of the bold Limited International Color series

Despite dabbling with conventional design blueprints, it’s Fender Japan’s more boundary-pushing instruments that usually grab peoples’ attention. For this, there are countless cases to draw on, from Daiki Tsuneta’s radical Swinger revival and Hama Okamoto’s Squier Katana bass to Scandal’s sensationally styled Strat and Tele signature models.

One of  Fender Japan’s biggest drops of recent months, though, was the Elemental Series – a range of high-spec, mid-priced models tailored specifically to modern players.

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Matt Owen

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.