1993 Fender Japan Stratocaster Mini Electric Guitar (Fralin Pickups)

My buddy Steve bought a clean Japanese Strat Mini right before his friend in Japan found him this Strat Mini. So, of course, he's keeping the one with the cooler story!

This one's definitely a bit beat around the edges but it's a worthy guitar. Compared to something like the modern Squier Minis, these made-in-Japan Minis are more professional instruments that are even smaller in size with a scale length of 18 1/2" -- short! They're built just as well as the full-size Fender Japan stuff, though, with nice solid bodies, well-made necks, more thought-out controls and pickups, and real-deal Strat-style whammies installed. The only area that was slightly skimpy were the tuners (cheap Ping-style stuff). Even the original pickups sound pretty dang good, if a little kerrangy from their use of bottom-mounted ceramic magnets rather than magnetic poles.

Mr. Steve does not like to skimp, however, so aside from the usual work, he also had me drop in a set of Fralin Strat pickups (middle and bridge from a Strat set) and some "aged" nickel-plated Gotoh Kluson-style tuners. I went one further and used a staggered set of tuners, too, though I didn't realize I'd ordered that upgrade at the time!

The end result is a little firebrand of a guitar. I've tuned it G-to-G above E-to-E standard and I think with a lighter set of strings (it has 10s on it right now -- so I'm thinking 9s or 8s), one could tune it up even higher to A or B above E. I tried both of his Japanese Minis out in all-fourths tuning, too, and the mandolin-player in me freaked out because the it's so cool to play in all-fourths on such a short scale guitar -- it makes you feel like a hero! It also becomes, basically, a single-course "octave electric bandurria" at that point. See how that stretches your brain, folks...

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, new tuners install, new pickups install, massaging of the damaged pickguard's placement to get the pickups to align with the strings correctly, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays perfectly with a straight neck and hair-under 1/16" action at the 12th fret overall. There's no truss rod.

Scale length: 18 1/2"
Nut width: 1 1/2"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/4"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 14 3/4"
Lower bout width: 10 7/8"
Waist width: 7 3/4"
Upper bout width: 9 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 1 5/8"
Body wood: solid basswood?
Neck wood: maple
Fretboard: rosewood, synthetic nut
Bridge: Strat-style, vintage-style saddles
Neck feel: slim-medium C-shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: obviously, this has been through the wars a bit, but it still has a nice look to it. It's respectable, now.