41. Surf Green Fender Japan Pawn Shop 72
I REFERRED obliquely to this undeniably pretty piece of Fender Japannery in my lengthy screed about Squier 51s (No 17). The familial relationship is plain to see.
There was no doubt about it. This was a fancified Squier 51, but with a strong tip of the hat to the Fenders of the early 1970s.
Unlike the Squier 51, it had a full-depth Strat body, but with Thinline-style f-hole. (Still not sure whether this looks right or just plain wierd!) The ’72 sported a through-strung hardtail Strat bridge, a generic humbucker at the bridge, a recreation of Seth Lover’s Wide Range humbucker at the neck and a rosewood-board neck. Bizarrely, as well as the infamous three-bolt neck fixing, it has the neck-tilt mechanism and “bullet” truss road adjustment found on Strats and the more high-end Teles from 1972 onwards. I have to say, however, the neck fit was a million times better than most 70s American Fenders I’ve played!
Unlike its stablemate, the Pawn Shop 51, this guitar came in some attractive finishes, including Surf Green, a perfect match for my 62 Reissue, “Hubert”. I simply had to have one, I decided, as soon as I saw a picture.
Fender Japan guitars are, almost without exception, excellent instruments, but cheap they’re not and they tend to hold their prices in the secondhand market, too.
I spent two or three years stalking Pawn Shop ’72s on eBay, waiting for a nice Surf Green one to come up at the right price. Eventually, in very early 2015, I did find one. It was a long and tortuous drive along the south coast from my (soon-to-be ex)-girlfriend’s flat to Folkestone to pick it up…then the car broke down on the way home.
It might have been an omen. For one thing, my regular assignations in Brighton (not to mention opportunities to peruse the labyrinthine, guitar-lined rooms of GAK, just off the Laines) were coming to an end. More to the point, for all its prettyness, the Pawn Shop ’72 never really spoke to me the way so many other guitars have down the years. I took it to a few jams, but that was about it.
And then, a couple of months after getting it, I had the chance to buy an amazingly clean, great-sounding 72 Deluxe Reverb from a mate for an irresistible price. Suddenly I needed funds. This was one of three guitars I sold to pay for the amp.
Not that it did me a lot of good… To this day, it’s hard to look at pictures of that Pawnshop 72 without thinking about the way that lovely old Deluxe Reverb was stolen from outside my house six weeks after I bought it, along with a heap of other cherished gear…though fortunately, no guitars.