Dating a 70s strat
From the start, there were multiple variants of the JV vintage reissues, serving different price points.
Among the variables were the type of finish (either polyester or nitro-cellulose), the body woods, and the neck profiles.
THE PREMIUM OUTPUT The first Strats made in Japan by Fender were vintage reissue ’57 and ’62 replicas, launched in Tokyo on Friday 7th May 1982.
The new line of instruments, produced by Fuji Gen Gakki, featured serial numbers beginning with the letters JV, and they’re accordingly known as the JV series.
By summer 1982, the Squier headstock markings had been completely revised, with the main branding now reading 'Squier' in gold 'transition' lettering, then the word ‘Stratocaster’ scripted in the large-print 1970s style, and a very small ‘by Fender’ logo underneath (see the next illustration).
Despite the mix and match logo arrangement, the guitars still otherwise followed the ’57 and ’62 vintage reissue templates, and since only the branding was changed at this point, there’s no inherent difference in quality between these guitars and the initial run of export models with Fender ‘spaghetti’ logos and ‘Squier series’ augmentation.
I’m not going to be including late ‘80s Korean Squiers in this piece.
I've now added a full study of the first Korean Squiers, which you find in The Truth About... But suffice it to say that the ‘80s Korean Squiers were inherently and consistently inferior to their Japanese predecessors, and they had what I’d describe as ‘double-take’ retail prices.
You can also find a detailed look at the Squier Japan Silver Series Strats of the early to mid '90s via this link. So, most guitarists know that Squier was a sub-brand of the Fender company, originally made solely in Japan, but later – forward from 1987 in fact – made in a variety of other countries.
That’s everything, by the way – not just the Strats.
So the number of remaining JV Squier Strats with a Fender ‘spaghetti’ logo and ‘Squier series’ denotation on the headstock is bound to be pretty small – minimally so if you’re looking for one in good condition.
I thought for this piece it would be worth exploring the reality of the Squier Stratocaster of the 1980s – just as a guide for anyone who’s been subjected to conflicting pitches from vendors who might be, shall we say, a little over-enthusiastic to sell their merchandise.
The Squier Strat is one facet of the guitar market which comes steeped in hype, and I wanted to provide a bit of balance amid what can sometimes be wishful, hysterically over-gushing, or just plain misinformed rhetoric.