Today’s edition of cool guitar pics is brought to you by, the very popular and sought after Fender Squier JV Stratocaster 50’s Re-issue.
Now straight up, I am no expert on these older Japanese Fenders, I had an inkling they were made by the FujiGen Gakki factory and I’ve read and heard so many rumors that these were originally made by Tokai, but after purchasing the book, Squier Electrics: 30 Years of Fenders Budget Guitar Brand by Tony Bacon, which is an excellent resource on the history of the Fender Squier, and where I sourced my information for most of this article, I discovered that the FujiGen Gakki factory were at the time making Greco guitars, which were superb Fender copies and Japans best selling guitar at the time, so the rumor that Tokai were the original JVs is completely false based on the information presented by Tony Bacon. I must add, the birth of the Fender Squier is a very interesting topic to study if your into Japanese guitars like I am.
The JV Squiers are renowned for their high quality and were born out of the whole ‘Lawsuit‘ period that so many other guitars from that era are famous for, Tokai, Aria, Fernandes, Greco, Ibanez, to name a few.
Looking at an Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard today. I love these vintage Aria Pro II MIJ guitars. This particular guitar is the third Aria Pro II that I have owned. One is an LS-500 Leopard model (which I am yet to post pics of…) and the other is a 50s Strat clone which I had reliced.
Today I am posting about one of my all time favorite guitars, it’s a Fernandes Super Grade Goldtop. As you can see it is obviously a Les Paul clone, which was made in Japan around the early to mid eighties.
Today, for your viewing pleasure is a Fernandes Stone Logo 70s Strat Copy from the very early 80s. For those of you who don’t know, Fernandes is a Japanese company who originally manufactured flamenco guitars and has been around since 1969. The Fernandes parent company (Saito Musical Instruments) also make Gibson copies under the Burny brand name.
For more information about Fernandes, there is a really useful article on the www.music-trade.co.jp website…
Okay, so this particular Strat copy is one of the Stone Logo series, which were produced between 1980 and 81, according to the article linked to above.
I know the guitar community stands divided when it comes to relicing a perfectly good guitar, but I must admit, I really enjoyed doing this project. There is something cool that happens with your bond to a specific guitar once you do your own little mods to it, like my recent Telecaster project, where I stripped off the poly coating and finished it with a clear lacquer. I found that with every guitar I have either re-painted, re-fretted, swapped the pups, or done some modification to it in some way, I have always found it really hard to part with. Whereas the guitars I buy and leave alone, I don’t seem to worry too much when it comes time to sell them. It’s kinda weird, but you just seem to bond with a guitar a lot more when you invest more than just play time into it.
Any ways, if you want to go back through the steps I took while doing this relic job check out all of the posts tagged with Relic Project. Unfortunately I didn’t get every single last detail along the way, especially the last few steps, but you will get a pretty good idea of how this whole project got started and the initial steps involved.
So the guitar itself is an Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster copy. When I bought this guitar I was so impressed with the body, weight, how the neck felt, the wood grain, etc… but there was something about how the guitar looked that was just wrong. Obviously the guitar just had a recent fret job, where the guy who replaced the frets striped all of the fretboard down, so the fret board was un-painted and the timber looked brand new and very light in color, whereas the rest of the guitar was pretty old and worn looking. To me it was just wrong, so I didn’t really bond much with the guitar initially. But, the reason I bought this particular guitar was that I really wanted a 50s style Strat, and at the time I was totally keen on the Road worn Strats Fender were making. So, I had two choices, try selling the Aria to buy the Fender or just relic the Aria. Hence the decision to do a relic project was made.
So here we are again, this time we’re looking at a very nice made in Japan Orville Les Paul Gold Top. And to start off, before we get into looking at the pics, lets have a listen to her. Dazza was kind enough to demo this guitar using a couple of amps.
First up lets check out how she sounds through a Ceriatone JTM45, the cab is a 1×12 Fargen, fitted with a Celestion 70th anniversary G12H. The distortion used in the video is my ProCo Rat2 pedal, which is a made in the U.S.A model.
Over the years I have seen the Fernandes brand pop up from time to time and I have often thought that these Japanese made “Law Suit” guitars looked pretty cool.
So recently, I managed to get my hands on a late 80s (possibly early 90s) black on black 70s Fender Stratocaster copy, which we’ll obviously be looking at. So let’s dive in, I’ve got a heap of cool pics for you to checkout, but first off, lets hear how she sounds….
In this first video Darren is playing through an all original USA made 1980s Silverface Fender Twin Reverb. The tube Screamer mentioned in this video, as with the rest of the following videos is the made in Japan TS9DX Turbo Tubescreamer version, the Rat pedal is the USA made version with the LM308 OP chip.
Here’s the video explaining how I went about relicing the headstock on my Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds Strat copy. I have to apologize, for the audio in the video, for some reason it’s not matching with the video frames and for the life on me I don’t know how to fix it.
Greco Spacey Sound SE450 : Is this Japanese Vintage at its best!
I have mentioned before that I love a nice vintage Japanese Strat clone, or Les Paul, as they made absolute cracker instruments. It is also well noted by many amateurs and experts alike that a lot of these instruments were on par or surpassed the US made gear at the time with their quality workmanship, components, feel and tone.
Okay, before we get to deep into my review, let’s see and hear how she sounds when Darren plays her through a Marshall JCM800…
If you are one of my many YouTube subscribers, you may have noticed by all of my uploads Yesterday that I spent the day doing some videos with Darren. While I was there, Darren gave me one of his CD’s, If you want a free copy, you can grab a download of it by going to his website here… www.dazofoz.com
Anyways, back to the guitar…. So here we are, at Darren’s house shooting some vids of all of the different guitars I have in stock using a Marshall JCM-800, when Darren decides to get his guitar out to see how she sounds through the amp.
Now I’ve got to mention at this point, I’ve only known Darren for about a month or so, and I’ve heard him talk about his MIJ Strat before, and how he’s done a few mods here and there, but I’ve never actually seen it, so when he came walking out from the hall with his Strat hanging from his shoulder I was, to say the least a little surprised by what I saw.
Firstly, let’s check out this video. In it, Darren shares a little story about his guitar and some of the mods his done to it.
Disclaimer:In this post I refer to Fender and Stratocaster, I want to make it perfectly clear that this guitar is not a Fender, none of the parts are Fender and if Fender come knocking on my door wanting me to re-word anything on this web page then I will do it, no questions asked.
This is my first ever Tokai. It is a beautiful Tokai Silver Star that is in great shape for a vintage Japanese guitar. I am not 100% sure of the date of manufacture, it could be late 79ish or early 80s, but based on the information on the Tokai registry site, because it has the spaghetti logo and the 5 digit serial number it was definitely pre 1982.
In any case it’s a beautiful guitar, it has a good weight to it and plays like a dream.
Let’s have a listen to how she sounds through a Peavey Delta Blues. In the next couple of videos, Darren puts her through her paces.