What are Fender FSR Series Guitars?

Fender get experimental. Find out more about the legendary guitar maker's limited run instruments.

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

Every now and then Fender like to make a handful of guitars out of the ordinary. You’ve no doubt seen their extensive standard ranges, which includes the Player, Vintera, Performer and Ultra line-ups. But they’re a creative bunch and naturally like to spice up those classic designs. FSR is where they bring their coolest ideas to life.

FSR stands for Fender Special Run and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Where your run-of-the-mill Player series Strat might consist of a common ‘C’ shape maple neck, alder body and stock pickups, FSR stirs the pot with a handful of unique features to switch up the feel or sound of the instrument. In this case, it might replace that former build with a ‘U’ shape neck, basswood body, hot vintage pickups and a new finish to boot.

All FSR guitars are limited edition, which means they don’t sit around on the shelves for very long. They’re only made in a very specific quantity and some are highly sought-after. You’d better act quick to get your hands on one – there’s a good chance Fender won’t make the same model twice.

What Changes do Fender make with FSR?

Sometimes FSR means a simple, yet unique paint job for one of their standard series instruments. Other times, they’ll take one of the classic templates you know and love and give it the full Pimp My Ride treatment. That means adding fancy extras you wouldn’t usually come across like Bigsby tremolos on Teles, replacing pickups or carving out exotic woods and figured maple tops. If you want something out of the ordinary, you’re in the right place.

You’ll also be pleased to know that FSR isn’t restricted to Strats or Teles – or even Fender for that matter; Fender’s offshoot entry level brand Squier like to dabble in the good stuff too. They’ve got Precision and Jazz basses, Jazzmasters, acoustics and even ukuleles under wraps. FSR amps are a super popular choice, especially considering the sheer amount of legendary combos Fender have brought out over the years. They often give the likes of the Princeton, Bassbreaker, Blues Jr and Hotrod makeovers with specific year specs and various tolex and grilles. After all, anything can be modified.

fender fsr palemoon guitars

What’s The Difference Between FSR and MiJ?

MiJ stands for Made in Japan. That’s right, Fender aren’t just based in the USA and Mexico, but Japan too. Any MiJ models still kicking about after distribution to Asian retailers are regularly snapped up in other continents. We love a Japanese import. They’re usually priced in between their Mexican-made offerings and American Professional range.

It’s important to note that MiJ instruments are not FSR and don’t have one-off features like their FSR counterparts as they adhere to the standard specs in Japan. MiJ might be a bit different to what we get in Europe and America, but they’re not technically limited run. While FSR guitars come about when Fender take special requests or fancy doing something a bit different, MiJ are models we don’t see all that often because they’re made on the other side of the world. There’s a difference!

What makes Fender MiJ instruments special are the Asian market-preferred specs. These include the likes of U-shaped neck and exclusive finishes. For example, an extremely light shade dyed maple fingerboard and metallic finishes.

Notable FSR Instruments

Andertons are lucky enough to take on a number of luxurious FSR guitars. We get to choose from a spectacular array of instruments – some with minor tweaks and others that genuinely blow us away with new features. Here are some of our favourites.

Cabronita Telecasters

Cabronita Teles have returned in a number of forms over the years. But the one feature that doesn’t change are the TV Jones pickups. Imagine we lived in an alternate universe where Les Pauls had single coils and Teles got humbuckers. This would be the outcome. They still sound as vintage as ever, but with a fat, rounded response. The simple finish is also killer.

fender fsr guitars

Daybreak and Midnight Guitars

Daybreak and Midnight Strats and Teles are the Ying and Yang of Fender. There’s not much to separate them from each other in terms of specs or construction, but the incredible light and dark finishes make them pop alongside their American Performer counterparts.

Raw Ash Guitars

The Raw Ash run is based on Fender’s Performer series – their most accessible USA-made guitars. Made of a solid swamp ash in a completely natural finish, Raw Ash guitars are stunningly refreshing in style and contain the excellent Yosemite pickups and Greasebucket circuitry.

If you enjoyed this read, check out more of our Learn and Industry articles!

Fender FSR Guitars

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a writer for the Andertons web team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and pointy guitars.

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