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Is THE FJ ExTrad Strat worth anything?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by bjewell, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Out of sheer luck, I acquired this Fender Japan '54 Stratocaster 120 "ExTrad" featured in their catalogs and magazine adverts for years. It is a beautiful guitar with custom wound pickups by the late Mr.Van Zandt. These ExTrad guitars are really rare and represent the top-of-the-line for FJ during the so-called Bubble Economy of the late '80s. I wonder if it is worth anything? I have every piece of paper, case candy, receipt, warranty cards and etc. that came with it.

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    I'm not offering it for sale, I just wonder if I should insure it or what?
     
  2. yettoblaster

    yettoblaster Strat-Talker

    149
    Mar 31, 2010
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Sweet!

    I missed a few years ago on a Fender Japan two-color '57 hardtail reissue (the one that got away). Looked similiar. I'm probably better off with trem. I never had a hardtail I kept.

    I wonder what the differences are?

    I know the Custom Shop makes CS '54 Strat Sets (middle RWRP), but I don't know how they are compared to '57/'62.

    That's a looker you have scored. Congrats. I'm sorta envious, but then I have perfectly good guitars. I just like 'em ALL!

    If you have Homeowners or Renters type of policy, you could add it to the contents.

    When I was in the musicians union you could cover $1000 of instruments through them. Dunno anymore though. It's been years.
     
  3. 32soundz

    32soundz Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2010
    In front of my amp.
    You acquired it out of sheer luck? tell us more about that please!
     
  4. AllroyPA

    AllroyPA LeftyStrategist Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Jun 28, 2009
    Philadelphia Suburbs
    Here's your quote from another thread "I lived in Tokyo for 20 years up until last March. I have bought scads of MIJ guitars. they are all great but some are greater.
    "
    So should'nt you know(?) or is this a bait cast to have people inqure about the availability of this guitar?
     
  5. TubbyTone

    TubbyTone Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2011
    The Sticks,Canada
    WOW... check out how the wood grain patern is identical to the booklet :eek:
     
  6. 32soundz

    32soundz Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2010
    In front of my amp.
    so it is! haha must be the same guitar
     
  7. AllroyPA

    AllroyPA LeftyStrategist Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Jun 28, 2009
    Philadelphia Suburbs
    well he does say it was featured in their magazine ... but I suspect this is the only contribution this guy will make to this forum, I hope I'm wrong .. but check out his 3 posts
     
  8. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    No, it's not for sale and won't be in any foreseeable future. It has too many good memories for me. I just want to know if I'm the only one who thinks these ExTrad guitars are cool.

    The story is I moved to Tokyo in 1989 hoping to make enough money teaching to pay off my college debts. I left my '57 Strat back in California with a friend. I wanted a guitar to play and saw a similar ExTrad at LAOX music shop in Akihabara Tokyo. I put a deposit down and when I came back the next day it was sold to someone else. The clerk was very embarrassed, asked me to wait and sent someone over to Fender Japan's headquarters nearby who returned with this guitar.

    I went back to where I lived and was playing the guitar and looking at the catalog and realized it was the same guitar. That was a big surprise for sure. Problem is that I'm 66, and not getting younger. I don't want this guitar to end up being just another Japanese Strat in California. I was thinking of sending it back to FJ for their own collection -- they could make me a replacement guitar and etc. But if it is truly valuable, I'll give it to my nephew or something.

    Tq
     
  9. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    this is a wicked looking guitar,. id love to make that neck pick up scream,.

    your reasons for wanting to know more about this guitar seem very vaild, i liek the idea of it going back to their museum if that is where it belongs. but hey youre 66. still plenty of years left.. no need to rush.
     
  10. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    As far as contributing to any forum, I was one of the first guys on the Tele forum when Noah had it, been a regular on any number of places. These days it's mostly over at the Harley place. I don't play out much anymore, just play the D-18 with friends.
     
  11. AllroyPA

    AllroyPA LeftyStrategist Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Jun 28, 2009
    Philadelphia Suburbs
    Then I owe you a humble pie apology ... as far as value, I think it would be on 2nd teir to a 1st Issue JV Strat and early JV's with Fullerton pickups... IMO
     
  12. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    As for the guitar itself, they offered to make ExTrads with a variety of pickups. At the time the original Mr. Van Zandt was still alive and winding. I called him and we had a long talk. I knew the values of the pickups on my old '57 and had him wind to those specs which are on the low side -- @5.7 oms. He died within a month or so of winding those things, nice guy.

    The guitar has a very clear rich tone, very articulate and when I crank up my old blackface Super Reverb it has a very, very good sound, so much so that i sold the 57 and kept this guitar, another reason it isn't for sale.

    I met the man who was in charge of the ExTrad project at Vintage Guitars in Kichijoji Tokyo in 1992. He told me he went to the USA and travelled all over looking for the best wood -- scared him to death because his English wasn't very good and he never drove on the right side of the road. He was especially proud of the swamp ash he had found.

    I also ordered a '57 version in surf green that I sold to a friend and also a snow-white maple-neck Tele that ended up in Colorado. All ExTrads have a decal saying as much on the back of the headstock -- no decal, no ExTrad. FJ made expensive guitars back then that were almost but not quite identical -- the 120 series (120,000 yen).
     
  13. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    It's not hard to find JV guitars in Tokyo and the necks are too small for me. They are cool axes but for accuracy and quality of construction the don't compare to ExTrads. JVs usually sell for $700 -- $1000 when you see them. YMMV and no problem...
     
  14. jflintmac

    jflintmac Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    55
    May 2, 2010
    Canada
    That is pretty wild that you got that guitar. The first thing I thought was - Wow that looks just like the one in the catelog.
    No wonder... It is the same guitar although the wammy bar looks to have been straightened or swapped out. (I do that to all of my bars too)
    That is freakie for sure.
    It'd be a cold day in hell before I sent it to Fender though. They had their chance to keep the guitar but they opted to sell it.
    Something like that would almost never happen.
    Cool!
     
  15. sneakypete

    sneakypete Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 5, 2009
    japan
    Yeah, I have the `62 version of the ExTrad strat...I didn`t know they came with Van Zandt p`ups, I always thought they came with F/USA p`ups. Got mine a few years ago, used of course, from the Rock Inn chain...I`d seen it on line at one of their other shops and got them to send it up here where I could see it in person, loved it so bought it. As far as I know they are quite rare and if you are in Japan and watch the web you`d know they just don`t come around very often, I`ve only seen 3 or 4 others over the years. I thought you posted about this at another site saying it was the same guitar featured in a book or catalogue or something. You probably should insure it if you are in the States but here in Japan I think it`s much safer...`course gotta remember earth quakes...and who can forget em if you`re in Japan...but our insurance company paid us for the damage we suffered on March 11th, agent came over...looked around, said we`d get either one of two amounts...one considerably higher than the other and me being the cynic that I am told my wife we`d get the lower one...but was surprised to see a cheque a month later for the larger sum, and it was more than I expected.
    I used to buy my Bacchus guitars at the local Laox when it was open, went out of business several years ago now so I don`t have access to them much anymore. The tsunami wiped out some of the places I once bought used guitars at so pickin`s are even slimmer than they used to be though I`ve been very fortunate and found some real beauties...you know...before the awakening happened and every player overseas started buying old MIJs. Still, I have more great guitars than any one guy could use in a life time.
     
  16. sneakypete

    sneakypete Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 5, 2009
    japan
    Also have a few van Zandt guitars made in Japan by a company called PGM.
     
  17. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    ExTrads were custom-ordered guitars. I chose Van Zandts instead of the stock Fender pickups. i ordered them from Mr. Van Zandt and returned the guitar to FJ who installed them. I still have the original Fender pickups and they sounded pretty good too as I recall..

    I bent another bar exactly like my '57. Have the original bar as well...

    Been back to California since 3/08. I'll retire to Japan in another five years or so...
     
  18. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Van Zandt guitars were made in Japan under license from the USA pickup company. The are very high quality guitars with nitro finishes and good wood. not a bad one in the bunch and pretty rare, rarer than Bacchus copy guitars for instance.
     
  19. bjewell

    bjewell Strat-Talk Member

    17
    Jan 29, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Hey Sneaky Pete, how long you been in Japan? I used to do the English-language Sumo broadcasts on NHK...
     
  20. sneakypete

    sneakypete Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 5, 2009
    japan
    Yeah I know about the VZ`s and have their latest catalogue...as far as I know they are still being made, see new ones in local shops.
    Got some of the ESP made Seymour Duncans too, pretty much on the same level in terms of quality as the VZ`s.
    Hey...I remember you from the TDPRI...when you mentioned Sumo/NHK...how could it be anybody else, been a while eh...thought you`d dropped off the face of the earth. Retire to Japan eh...this place is going to hell in a hand basket unless there are some serious changes made but it appears no one really knows what to do...but you were here a long time, you know how things work in Japan but the global downturn has affected Japan as much as any other country, a situation not seen for a long time. if ever. We`ll see what happens.