This was the top of the Fender Japan line for its day, model 27-5700 in Burgundy Mist Metallic with a few mods that enhance tone and tuning stability. Mods including a brand new Fender Lace “Dually” with the red and silver coils, an Earvana nut to improve intonation, and a quality set of Gotoh tuners. Especially with these mods, this is a guitar that’s easily good enough for pro use for around the price of a new Mex reissue. During this era Fender Japan was supplying around 90% of Fender’s stock until the American Standard started shipping in the fall of ’86. The Contemporary Deluxe was the top of the line from Fender Japan with noteworthy features like the System III locking tremolo system, and originally included a locking nut with an thumb lever to tighten or slack the nut tension, as well as Fender’s Ping tuners which would soon be used on the American Standard, side-mounted barrel jack, and TBX (Treble Bass Expander) tone control, also used on the American Standard. Other features include: alder body, bolt-on maple neck, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlay, blackface headstock, single-ply black pickguard, single volume and TBX control, 5-way switch plus mini-switch for 7 tone settings, and chrome hardware. The System III was really a rather ingenious piece of engineering. First off, it uses a special tremolo arm with the short shaft being square and the tip screws off to reveal an Allen wrench. The reason for this is that, adjacent to the strap pin is an Allen socket, which raises/lowers the bridge, making minor adjustments a breeze. The square shaft was used as it operated a locking mechanism in the tremolo to convert it from tremolo to fixed bridge with just a 1/4 turn of the bar. Both of these are very practical features and I’m surprised that Fender never pursued the technology in any models that followed. This guitar plays great and is an excellent and versatile sounding guitar. Cosmetically, it’s not a museum piece like the Pearl White I had last year, with the worst flaw being some clear coat chips around the output jack (shown here) but otherwise it’s in rather nice shape for 28 years. The catalog page above is one that I used (with handwritten store prices) in 1985 when I was working at Hotlicks Guitar Shop, the best store in Southern Maryland. I noted on the sheet that our discount price for the HH model was $599 and I’m sure this HSS would have been $649. These guitars have become desirable but remain a good value for the player looking for a quality axe at a decent price. Own this one for $529, including a hardshell case. For more on the Contemporary line I’ve created a page that covers the info above and a bit more: Contemporary Stratocasters.