Fender Japan is home to some of the wildest electric guitars we’ve seen over the past few years, but its latest releases – signature guitars for Scandal’s Haruna Ono, Mami Sasazaki and Tomomi Agawa – are among its classiest yet.
The signature collection comprises two electrics and one bass guitar, and was created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Scandal’s official partnership with Fender, which began back in 2017 when the band signed on to be the Big F’s first Japanese female artists.
In the electric department, Ono and Sasazaki’s two uniquely styled six-strings are unlike anything currently on the Fender US roster, and introduce an irresistible aesthetic vibe to the Stratocaster and Telecaster ranges.
Arriving in the form of the Haruna Telecaster Boost and the Mami Stratocaster Omochi, both beauties have been crafted to accommodate Scandal’s diverse repertoire, which spans riff-heavy pop, power ballads and lick-driven rock.
That, and they’ve also been equipped with some of the tastiest finishes and hardware appointments we’ve seen strapped to a Fender in quite some time.
Starting with Ono’s Arctic White Telecaster Boost, the instrument – which carries a faint whiff of Les Paul about it – boasts ornate pearl binding, which is paired with a color-matched headstock and silver hardware.
The clean vibe is amplified by the C-shape maple neck and white pearloid block inlays. These are joined by 22 frets, a 7.25” radius, 25.5” scale length and bone nut.
At the other end of the instrument, an Adjusto-matic bridge lines up alongside an Anchored tailpiece, as well as two Shawbucker humbuckers that are wired to two volume and two tone controls. A three-way switch is also present on the upper bout.
Speaking to Guitar World, Ono commented that her dreamy new Tele was born out of a desire to have “a more aggressive guitar” – something that clearly juxtaposes its heavenly look.
“This new guitar is a good match with the Scandal songs from our debut to the middle term of our catalog,” she said. “For our more recent songs, the last guitar I had made for me fits best, but I wanted a more aggressive guitar for playing earlier songs in live performances and chose the humbucking pickups.”
Sasazaki’s Strat sports a similarly elegant blueprint. Opting for a Vintage White colorway, the HH-configured axe features an alder body, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard and a compound profile maple neck that moves from Modern C to D.
Once again, it features a color-matched headstock, though introduces the Mami Custom humbucker – a unit engraved with a Sasazaki-designed geometric logo that promises everything from deep distortion to gorgeous cleans.
These are wired to a streamlined Strat control layout comprising master volume and tone controls and a three-way selector switch.
Other notable appointments include the two-point Gotoh 510T-FE1 tremolo, Fender Deluxe tuners and a contoured neck heel. The fingerboard also has a compound radius, moving from 9.5” to 14”.
“The new signature model was to realize the texture of a Les Paul and to enable a good fit with both new and old songs as well,” Sasazaki told Guitar World. “I wanted a single guitar for this and asked Fender for their collaboration again.
“For overseas tours, I cannot bring along a lot of guitars, so this one was made to play powerfully and yet emit delicate and glamorous tones with just one guitar.”
Completing Scandal’s signature lineup is the Tomomi Jazz Bass, which has been bestowed to the band’s bassist, Tomomi Ogawa. It’s far more conventional in appointments and aesthetics when compared to the electrics, but is still a neat four-string in its own right.
A less futuristic impression is harnessed via the traditional-leaning Clear Fiesta finish, mint green pickguard, cream pickup covers and stacked knobs that were found on early ‘60s Jazz Basses.
An alder body, Slim C maple neck and rosewood fretboard form the foundation of the Tomomi bass, which is equipped with 20 frets, 34” scale length, 9.5” radius, 5-bolt neck plate and bone nut.
Elsewhere, Ogawa doubles down on the ‘60s vibe with a pair of Pure Vintage ‘64 Jazz Bass single-coils, which are at the mercy of two volume controls and two tone parameters.
“The previous signature model was a Precision Bass, so this time we chose a Jazz Bass,” Ogawa told Fender. “This original body color was the result of many meetings with the Fender team, and was perfected.
“I also like the fact that it uses the stack knob from the early 60's, which I always wanted to try,” she added. “It has a thicker sound, but the neck has a modern design, so it's a powerful sound, but it's easy to play.”
To browse the whole range – which, unfortunately, is only available in Japan – head over to Fender Japan (opens in new tab).