Whitstable Guitars

A selection of good quality, used guitars and specialising in imports from Japan since 2008

1985 Fender Esprit Elite with OHSC & Tags !.


1984 Fender Esprit Elite Autumnburst

 Mint Condition with OHSC, Manual & Shop Tags. 

Not for Sale

This will be the 6th Fender Esprit I have owned & like the others, is once again, a fantastic guitar

This example is a 1984 Esprit Elite made at the famous Fujigen Gakki factory finished in Autumnburst with creme binding and is in excellent condition.  The back is near perfect (see pics)  & there is no fretwear.  Areas like the bridge and the headstock are superb.The pickups are original.

Such a lovely looking instrument. An Alder body together with Maple carved cap and neck. A set neck. The guitar is well balanced & the tone chambers obviously reduce weight. I have gigged with this quite recently & found it very comfortable for the whole evening

The bodies of these guitars were cleverly routed & the resultant tonal chambers give this guitar a great sound. They were originally designed to rival the Gibson ES-335's and despite their short run (just 2 years) and limited numbers (apparently just 4000 Master Series guitars in total, that includes the Esprit, the Flame & the D'Aquisto) they are highly rated & very collectable. This model being an "Elite" makes it particularly rare. Every other Esprit I have owned has been a "Standard"

The differences on an Elite are as follows

1. The neck pickup has coil splitting by use of the chrome microswitch giving a fantastic range of sounds

2. Each tone pot is a "TBX" control. This offers a midway tone boost

3. There is a "micro tune" adjuster for each string at the bridge

4. Snowflake Markers on the fretboard

5. 5 ply binding around the body

6. Pearloid buttons on the tuners

The tuners work well. There is no tarnishing on the hardwear & all in all it really is a beauty. Note the "Elite" trussrod cover

This guitar has sat in it's case most of the time since purchased in 1984

The "Made in Japan" paper sticker is still present on the back of the headstock. The first time I have seen this. Note the "Fender Stamped pearloid tuners serial number on the back of the headstock is really faint but reads 40401365

It is a "new" guitar in everything except age. I was so lucky to find it & I am sorry but I certainly won't be selling it

A set neck on these guitars

The guitar was complete with unused "Fender" Strap, lead, tools, handbook, warranty card & shop tag

So, to sum up, I love the colour & love the style but most of all I love the sound & playability. A real classic for the future as this magazine article from several years ago confirms


All in all, to me, the perfect guitar 

(and I am lucky enough to have played a few!)



The Fender Master Series- A History

The Fender Master Series - a history

By Gary Koehler

Approximately 25 years ago, Dan Smith had an idea. He conceptualized a solidbody guitar with routed chambers. These chambers would, in theory, provide a more resonant tonal characteristic. He also formulated and designed a basic shape for the guitar.

Then, in the early 1980s, Fender became interested in producing and marketing instruments which would be viewed as alternatives to those offered by Gibson. These guitars would not be copies, of course, but highly playable guitars with versatile electronics and other features previously unavailable on instruments manufactured by Fender. The company asked Smith to submit a concept, and what followed was an adventurous effort to produce a new line of guitars unique to the Fender’s catalog. The line was called the Master Series.

Two of Smith’s designs were solidified – the Flame and the Esprit (pronounced espree). Both featured alder bodies with routed tone chambers, maple tops, and set-in necks.

The Flame’s body is slightly larger than a Gibson Les Paul, and features two slightly offset cutaways, similar to Gibson’s SG. Two special-design humbucking pickups were developed via Schaller, as was a tailpiece with fine-tuners. The intention was to offer an electronically versatile alternative to the Gibson Les Paul.

The Esprit’s body is slightly larger than the Flame’s, and features two symmetrical cutaways. As with the Flame, two special-design Schaller humbuckers were employed in conjunction with the fine-tuning tailpiece. This instrument was intended as an alternative to the Gibson ES-335.

A third model was an archtop designed by the late James D’Aquisto. His design included some imaginative, versatile features and stands as a testament to D’Aquisto’s creativity as a luthier.

These three designs were marketed together as the Fender Master Series.

Once designs were approved, the company turned its attention to issues of manufacturing and production. Fender decided that, at that time, it did not possess the technology to build the instruments. The Japanese company Fujigen Gakki (which served as an Ibanez facility) was contracted by Fender to manufacture the line.

Fender ultimately decided to produce three models of both types. The suffixes Standard, Elite, and Ultra were added under the headings Flame and Esprit. Standards featured dot inlays and chrome tuners. The Elites featured diamond-flake inlays and pearloid-button tuners. And the Ultras had split-block shell inlays, ebony-button tuners and gold hardware. Finish options on the Standards were limited to black, autumn sunburst, and cherry sunburst. The Elite and Ultra were also available in white or pink frost, and candy red or candy green metallic burst.

Smith said Fender offered the Kahler tremolo bridge as an option on these guitars. He recalls Fender made the modification post-production, and relatively few were shipped.

He was unable to find records indicating quantities made, but estimated that between late 1983 and 1985, a few thousand were manufactured. In retrospect, Smith feels the guitars were successful in regard to quality and public perception. The line’s downfall was the sale and subsequent transitional period experienced by Fender. In 1986, Robben Ford was brought on as an endorser of the Esprit model, then Fender reworked the production concept and dubbed the guitar the Robben Ford signature model.