Fender Japan makes some of the best value Fender electric guitars in the world. They can definitely hold their own and in many cases, are better built with better craftsmanship the their same USA made counterpart (except maybe for the Fender elite, vintage reissue and custom shop series). I own this 2007 Fender Japan 62RI Stratocaster which was was factory painted in a thick poly Olympic White finish which never really grew on me, I kept feeling that the finish was too think but I kept the guitar because I love the feel of the neck and I had Fat 50’s pickups installed which I really like. A couple of weeks ago, purely out of a whim I sent the guitar to the legendary Manila luthier, Arie Hipolito of Guitar Hospital (https://www.facebook.com/Guitar-Hospital-213672902000405/) whom I have known and go back way back with for at least 30 years. He is the only guy I trust my guitars with. I sent the guitar to Arie knowing I wanted to have it refinished but had no idea which color I wanted. I was deciding between 3 colorways – the traditional 62 3-color sunburst, shell pink and daphne blue. A week after I sent it in, Arie called and asked what color I wanted coz my guitar was up next and I still hadn’t decided so he said he was going to strip off the old white poly first and show me the bare wood so I can see the grain pattern and see if I wanted a translucent finish like a sunburst or go for a solid color.
As you can see, the grains aren’t really that great so I decided to go with a solid color finish. I knew I wanted a nitro finish so it will wear and “relic” more naturally and easily. My choices now came down to either a daphne blue and shell pink, I settled with daphne blue for 2 reasons. 1) I have always been drawn to the the daphne blue look on vintage and customshop strats and teles. 2) I love the shell pink look but it would be totally out of my character :D. So I gave Arie the go signal to proceed with the daphne blue. I also told him I do not want my guitar to look brand new and would prefer a not too glossy look. He assured me he will take care of it and will even do a light/moderate relic on it.
A few days later he sent me some photos to keep me updated with his progress and today (2.5 weeks later) he dm’d me and said my guitar is done and ready for pickup. He sent me some photos of the finished product with got me really excited.
I got it around lunch time today and it looked way better in real life than on the photo. Somehow Arie managed to infuse some “Soul” into how it looks. Arie did some tasteful “just enough” relic’ing on in. I am fortunate to have these old pickup covers and knobs which I managed to keep in my drawer for a while. I wasn’t able to use them before as they didn’t fit the look of my strats then but now they fit perfectly! Arie did a most wonderful job here so much so that photos just do not do the guitar justice. Suffice to say , I am one happy dude. 🙂
The following photos were taken with a Sony A7lll and a Sony 35mm f/1.8 FE