|Contemporary models seem to give rise to the most 'what Stratocaster is this?' type questions in the forums. The Standard '22' is also part of the Contemporary range but I have given that particular instrument its own page as it does not share some of the most immediately recognisable features of the range which are; black headstock (and sometimes the entire neck), the jack socket mounted on the bottom edge of the alder body and one of eight different configurations featuring humbuckers: |
The TBX control fitted to some Contemporary models allowed the user to control tone conventionally by turning the knob counter-clockwise from its detent, or to shift the pickup's frequency response by turning the knob clockwise from its detent.
Pickups were black and the humbuckers uncovered. All models with the exception of the single humbucker variant sported black, 11 hole single-ply scratchplates. They also had string clamps whereas the higher price models featured locking nuts.
Confused? Don't worry, you can download the entire Fender Contemporary Model Manual from here (as a zipped Adobe Acrobat .pdf file) and all will become clear(er). Specs, set-up instructions, it's all there. The manual was kindly donated by Jerry Kern of Toledo, Ohio.
I frequently get asked if it is possible to get spares for the tremolos fitted to Contemporary models. Up until now the answer has been no. But Ive 'just been told about www.stratconnection.com by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or simply go to the web store here. The original Chrome bars are very expensive because there is a limit of original snap in Chrome bars for the contemporary Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters with the Fender Systrem One bridge. They cost between 2 to 300 dollars each according to condition which is always pristine because Chrome holds it's shine and don't rust and is hard to scratch. The only other alternative is a Stainless Steel bar I personally have found on www.fretsonthenet.com. It's a little bit of a weird setup, you have to email the owner of frets, but he is a decent man and will work with you. The other thing is sometimes he's out of stock and it takes a while to get the new stock in The stainless Steel bar is the only bar other then the original Chrome bar that papatom sells exclusively and can't be buy no where that I know of. Unless you get lucky and know some one who is selling there MIJ contemporary guitar with the bar or the Chrome bar it's self. So those are the only two avenues I know of that are excepted by the contemporary community who can provide you with original Chrome arms or Stainless Steel arms. Steel bars that have been made in at home lathe facilities in garages and basements or retired machinist making an extra buck are not recommended and will damage your expensive collectable Fender system one bridge with rust and wrong size fittings not to mention the softness of the metal that will ware on your solid Chrome and brass System One bridge. Frets also manufacture spare arms for System III trems. Who knows, if there is a viable market perhaps they will produce other spares. Give them a try.
|a) Contemporary Headstock|
(top of locking nut missing)
b) Example of Model 27-4100.
|c) System II tremolo/vibrato unit from guitar b) (note no fine tuners)|
d) Another example of configuration 3 but with a System III tremolo/vibrato unit
|d) Example of configuration 1. The instrument has been refinished.||e) Jack socket mounted on bottom edge & access plate on d). A common feature of the Contemporary models on this page.||f) Another Model 27-5000 with a System III tremolo/vibrato unit.||g) So what model is this? It seems to be fitted with a System I tremolo!|
|Standard||1 or 3 x ply||3 x s/c||either||21||Classic||No|
|50's Reissue||1 x ply||"||maple||"||"||"|
|62 Reissue||3 x ply||"||rosewood||"||"||"|
|HM||None||hum'r & s/c||either||22||Kahler||Yes|
|Hot Rod RI||"||"||22||Floyd Rose||"|
|Contemporary||3 x ply*||"||"||22||Kahler||"|
|" " Standard 22||3 x ply||3 x s/c||"||22||Classic||"|
|Signature||Different specifications depending upon model|