It is one of the iron laws of electric guitar that says Fender Japan always gets the coolest stuff, and even if that’s not going to change anytime soon as the Big F’s Japanese division continues to swing for the fences with creative designs, it does look like other territories will be able to get in on the action too as the MIJ Hybrid II Stratocaster series debuts former Japan exclusives for markets in the UK and Europe.
The MIJ Hybrid II series comprises limited run Fender Stratocasters, competitively priced from £1,299 / €1,499. Whoe knows how long they will stick around for, but they really are stunning, pairing breath-taking new finishes that remain perfectly on-brand for Fender, while introducing new pickups voiced for the series. This is definitely a case of get ‘em while they’re hot.
Take the MIJ Hybrid II Stratocaster in Sakuraburst, a ‘burst finish inspired by the cherry blossoms that bloom in Japan during Ōgon Shūkan, or Golden Week. This was appropriately released in Japan 2022 to mark the seasonal holiday, and is now available in the UK and Europe. It has an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck in a Modern C profile, a 9.5” radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 narrow tall frets.
It has a trio of Hybrid II Strat single-coil pickups, a five position blade pickup selector plus master volume and dual tone controls, with a two-point synchronised vibrato with vintage-style stamped-steel saddles completing what is a fresh looking Strat with a familiar feel. Eggshell controls and matching pickguard complement the finish nicely.
Staying on a pink theme, the MIJ Hybrid II series also offers an HSS Strat in Shell Pink. It has a Modern Modified Type I humbucker at the bridge with a pair of MIJ Hybrid II Strat single-coils at the middle and neck positions.
But the big talking point here is the roasted maple neck and fingerboard, with the former carved into a U profile, the latter seating medium-jumbo frets – which reflects the HSS platform as the Strat for all occasions.
If you like the sounds of the Sakuraburst but just can’t find anything in the wardrobe to wear with it, what about the Hybrid II Strat in Satin Sand Beige? It has all the same specs but that solid colour finish is one of the best you’ll see.
There is also a Blackout model that has something of the David Gilmour Black Strat about it – though the control knobs and pickup bobbins are black. It has a maple ‘board and similar specs.
But it wouldn’t be an MIJ run if we didn’t have something from straight out left field, and that has to be the Stratocaster with a reverse Telecaster headstock.
Finished in Ocean Turquoise Metallic, with a three-ply tortoiseshell pickguard, it is a real head turner, and like its Shell Pink sibling, it too has the HSS pickup configuration with the Modern Modified Type I humbucker at the bridge and MIJ Hybrid II Strat single-coils.
It has a 9.5” radius maple fingerboard with dot inlays. And like the other limited run Strats, it has an alder body and is finished in satin urethane.
We are not sure how limited edition these are but they are available via Fender now. Some are marked as web exclusives but many retailers are carrying them, too. For more details, head over to Fender.