Fender AVRI ’62 Strat, faded sonic blue, made in USA 2003. What an absolute stunner. The American Vintage series launched in 1982 enjoyed critical and public acclaim for several decades before being replaced by the not-quite-the-same American Originals a couple of years back, but they’re now gone altogether. You get all the vintage appointments: vintage spec alnico pickups with cloth wiring and CTS pots, nitro finish, 7.25 fretboard radius with a slab-style rosewood fingerboard… all just like the originals. Fender’s Japan distributor in the early 00s, Yamano, would order these Corona-made models in limited runs of non-catalog finishes, so that’s what we have here, you can tell as it’s marked ‘Yamano’ in the tremolo cavity. This started life in a sunny shade of sonic blue, but as often happens with proper nitro finishes, it’s yellowed pretty significantly and now presents closer to surf green. The fun thing with a faded finish is the depth and nuance in it: along the belly carve, in the sticker fade mark, in the neck pocket and in the occasional dimple you can see the hints of the original blue, lending this a bit more majesty than a plain factory green finish. It sounds fantastic: the neck pickup is superbly glassy and rich, brimming with clarity and fullness. The middle pickup is surprisingly fun too, offering a percussive, breathy complexity with a great balance of growl and bell-like tunefulness. The bridge pickup is angular and gritty, perfect for snarly lead lines and offering a piquant zestiness. These are in increasing demand, seeing as the only new vintage reissue style USA Fenders now available are Custom Shop models… all that aside, it’s mostly just a really fun, beautiful guitar. Now, where can I get a lime chiffon pie in this dang town?
Model: Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster
Made: Corona USA, neck date June 2003 (serial V128816)
Finish: sonic blue (significantly yellowed, appears like surf green), gloss nitro, 3-ply cream guard
Neck: maple with rosewood slab board, 25.5″ scale, 7.25″ radius, slim C shape
Mods: back cover replaced
Pickups: Fender American Vintage 57/62 single coil x3
Case: Fender G&G tweed hard case, very good quality and condition
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. The headstock has some dimples on the end. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, minor scuffs and dimples on the back only. The back has a scratch and a dimple near the neck plate, some scuffs around the back and bottom edges and a fade mark from a since-removed sticker near the cavity cover. The sides have minor dimples on both horns and a few scuffs and light discolouration marks in the elbow area and near the jack. The front has some dimples near the jack and in the elbow area, a checking lime coming off the rear strap pin and some standard play scuffs on the guard and horns. Overall: very good condition (7.5/10).
Playing condition notes: Action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly. The frets have minor wear only, 8/10 for fret life left. Wearing fresh 10/46 strings.