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

Fender are every bit the same boundary-pushing company as they were in the 1950s, and FSR is the proof. You’ve no doubt seen Fender’s extensive standard guitar ranges, as well as all the amps and pedals – but they’re a creative bunch and like to spice up those stock designs from time to time. 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. The Fender team switch out the components of their classic instruments with fresher, unique features. Where your run-of-the-mill Player Strat consists of a ‘C’ shape maple neck, alder body and stock pickups, an FSR equivalent might opt for a ‘U’ shape neck, basswood body, hotter vintage pickups and a drippy new finish.

FSR instruments usually come about when retailers make special requests to Fender. Other times, it’s when Fender just fancy doing something a bit different.

All FSR runs are made in limited quantities, making them extremely desirable – because who wouldn’t like to own one of only a handful ever made? If you spot one you absolutely must have, don’t wait to make the leap. There’s a good chance Fender won’t make the same model twice!

What makes FSR so special?

Sometimes FSR equates to a simple yet glitzy new paint job. Other times, it’s the full “pimp my ride” treatment; adding fancy extras like a Bigsby tremolo on a Tele, equipping third party pickups or crafting guitars out of exotic woods. If you want something different to the norm, you’re in the right place.

You’ll also be pleased to know that FSR isn’t restricted to just the big names like Strats or Teles – or even Fender for that matter. You’ve got FSR Precision and Jazz basses, Jazzmasters, acoustics and even ukuleles. FSR amps are also a popular choice, especially considering the sheer amount of legendary combos Fender have released over the years, ready and waiting to get a nice spruce up. The Princeton, Bassbreaker, Blues Jr and Hotrod are prime candidates for year-specific specs and glamorous new tolex and grilles. Offshoot entry level brand Squier also have their own line of FSR for those on a smaller budget.

Our Favourite 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 their new features. Keep tabs on our Fender FSR range for the latest releases. For now, here are some of our favourites.

American Ultra FSR

At the top of Fender’s tree sits the American Ultra. The ultimate modern Fender guitars, Ultras boast the latest in hardware, electronics design and of course outstanding build quality. With the FSR models, you’ve got three new finishes to feast your eyes on. All come with anodised gold pickguards and luscious ebony fingerboards. Absolute stunners.

Fender American Ultra FSR Guitars

Cabronita Telecasters

Fender have made a number of Cabronita Teles over the years. The defining feature of these special Telecasters are their TV Jones pickups. This would be the outcome if we lived in an alternate reality where Les Pauls were made with single coil pickups and Teles were the ones stocked with humbuckers. They still sound as vintage as ever, but with a fat, rounded response.

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.

fender fsr guitars

What’s The Difference Between FSR and MiJ?

MiJ stands for Made in Japan. That’s right, Fender don’t just operate in the USA and Mexico, but in the East too. Retailers outside Asia regularly buy up any overflow of MiJ models, which is why you’ll find these specimens the other side of the world to where they are created. They are usually priced in between Fender’s Mexican-made instruments and the American Professional range.

It’s important to note that MiJ instruments are not FSR and do not have one-off features like their FSR counterparts. They adhere to the standardised specs in Japan. MiJ might be a bit different to what we get in Europe and America, but they’re not technically limited run.

The Asian market-preferred specs make Fender MiJ instruments very special. These include the likes of a far more common U-shaped neck and exclusive colours and materials. The woods used are dependent on the species farmed in the region and naturally look different to those from Europe and America.

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

Features Fender FSR Guitars

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a writer for the Andertons 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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