How To Identify Japanese Fender Guitars

Some may consider Asian products as inferior goods. A cookie or milk made in China is deeply feared by people because of the recent news about its contents. However, when it comes to guitars, people are looking for Japanese-made Fender guitars. These "Made in Japan" guitars are equal to or even way better than the American or Mexican versions.

In the early 1980s, Fender went back to its roots that are located in Japan. In that time, they build guitars and other instruments that made the Fender brand popular. The factory in Japan was considered a treasure for the Fender company. It became famous before the American counterpart did. The quality of such Japanese products is great. You will never regret spending quite a fortune on Japanese Fender guitars. 

But how would you know that the Fender guitar you bought is originally "Made in Japan"? Follow this guide and you will surely know.

  • Pay a visit to the Fender website. They have a list of serial numbers that are specifically used for Fender guitars produced in Japan every year. S, E and N series of fender guitars are used for both American and Japanese models. This is a grave mistake for the Fender company for using the same prefix for both countries. However, if the guitar says "Made in Japan", you can refer to the list below.

Serial Number


JV + 5 Digits

SQ + 5 Digits

E + 6 Digits

A + 6 Digits

B + 6 Digits

C + 6 Digits

F + 6 Digits

G + 6 Digits

H + 6 Digits

I + 6 Digits

J + 6 Digits

K + 6 Digits

L + 6 Digits

M + 6 Digits

N + 6 Digits

O + 6 Digits

P + 6 Digits

1982 to 1984

1983 to 1984

1984 to 1987

1985 to 1986

1985 to 1986

1985 to 1986

1986 to 1987

1987 to 1988

1988 to 1989

1989 to 1990

1989 to 1990

1990 to 1991

1991 to 1992

1992 to 1993

1993 to 1994

1994 to 1995

1995 to 1996

  • Refer to the insignia. Guitars made from 1982 to 1997 in Japan all say "Made in Japan". On the other hand, those that are made from 1997 to 2005, they are marked as "Crafted in Japan". These recent Fender guitars started the serial numbering system all over again. But it does not have the same pattern with the previous batch.
  • Take into consideration the head stock. Guitars that are made in the United States and Mexico say Fender. However, for guitars made in Japan, the head stock says Squire. These guitars are not only the cheaper versions for the Telecaster and Stratocaster, but Squire also started producing distinct and unique guitars. Included in this type are the Super-Sonic, Jagmaster and Squire '51.
  • In comparison with the weight of a Fender Stratocaster made in America and a Japanese Squire Stratocaster, the American version is much heavier. Surprisingly, Squire is more expensive compared to its American counterparts. 

Through getting the details of these "Made in Japan" Fender guitars, you will be sure that you have the original piece.


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