Manufactured from 1984 to 1987 by FujiGen Gakki these Stratocasters were designed to be Superstrats (Super Strat) with a Floyd Rose like bridge designed by Schaller not Kahler as some think, with some models featuring humbucking pickups. When CBS sold Fender to its current owners in 1984 there was a transitional period from 1985 to 1987 where mostly Fender Japan Stratocasters and leftover stock were being sold and Fender USA production was limited. The System I bridge has no individual string height saddle adjustments but can be adjusted for intonation. The System I bridge string height is set by the adjustable pivot post screws. The System II and System III bridges do have individual string height saddle adjustments and also can be adjusted for intonation. The System I tremolo system uses a behind the nut string locking mechanism. The System II and III tremolo systems use a height adjustable locking nut. The System II tremolo system was designed by John Page,Chip Todd and Charlie Gressett, and was manufactured by Schaller in Germany. The System III tremolo system was designed by John Page, Dan Smith, Charlie Gressett and John Carruthers, and was manufactured by Schaller in Germany. The humbucking pickups used in the contemporary models have a DC resistance which is approximately 7.6 K ohms. The single coil pickups used in the contemporary models have a DC resistance which is approximately 5.6 K ohms. The contemporary models that use a tbx tone control use 500 K ohm volume pots and use 0.022uf tone capacitors.
During the 1980's, Fender made many super high quality Strats, Squiers and Teles in Japan. Fender had 7 specific guitar models that had the system 1 tremolos installed on them. All 7 guitar models shared basically the same specs across the board. All had a 25.5 scale length except the model 27-5500 which had a 25.74 scale length neck, and all had 22 fret, rosewood or maple fretboards with a 12" radius. The 12 models that sported all the System I, II and III Tremolos were as follows:
27-5700: 2 single coil and 1 humbucker pickups, 5 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system III tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-5800: 2 humbucker pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system III tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-4100: 2 single coil and 1 humbucker pickups, 5 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system II tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-4200: 2 humbucker pickups, 3 position selector switch, 1 volume 1 tone, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-4300: 3 single coil pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume 2 tone, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, top mounted output jack.
27-4302: 3 single coil pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume 2 tone, system I tremolo, maple fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, top mounted output jack.
27-4400: 1 humbucker pickup, 1 volume, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-5000: 2 humbucker pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-5500: 2 humbucker pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.74" scale length, side mounted output jack.
27-5400: 2 humbucker pickups, 3 position selector switch, coil splitter, 1 volume 1 tbx, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
Unknown model : There is also an unknown model number featuring 2 single coil and 1 humbucker pickups, 5 position selector switch, 1 volume 1 tbx, system I tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale length, side mounted output jack.
About the System I Tremolo...
The System I features a fine tuning floating bridge with two knife edge pivots, height adjustable pivot posts, roller saddles, and snap-in torque adjustable arm. It also come supplied with a three section screw actuated locking nut.
Stringing your guitar with a System I Tremolo...
Prior to stringing your guitar, set the fine tuners on the bridge to the mid-way point. This will not only ease string insertion through fine tuner tongues and upper bridge plate, but it will also allow sufficient tuning range both up and down in pitch. When this is complete, insert the strings through the back bridge cover into the holes in the bridge sustain block. Be sure that the strings pass through the holes in the fine tuning tongues before emerging from the top of the bridge plate. This will ensure the fine tuners are functional. Pull each string into its own roller slot and into the locking nut as described below.
System I Nut Lock
The System I Nut Lock has three sections, each of which locks two strings in a vise-like manner with vertical pressure, between the bottom of the lock blocks and the main frame of the nut lock. When stringing the guitar, loosen the nut lock assembly by turning the hex screws counterclockwise with the wrench provided; thread the strings through the nut lock, making sure each string is on the correct side of the locking screw and install them on the tuning machines. Tune the guitar to pitch, being sure to completely stretch all strings; the nut lock is then locked by tightening the three hex cap screws in a clockwise direction. Remember.... do not lock the nut lock until you have completed all your adjustments and/or have completely stretched the strings. All strings must be stretched out completely by repeatedly stretching and re-tuning until the tuning becomes stable. For best results, set the vise locks so that the strings are almost locked, leaving only enough space to tune using the tuning machines. This ensures a minimal change in tuning when locked. Test the string by doing several dives and pulls with the tremolo - also bend a few strings. If the tuning is greatly affected, the strings are not completely stretched. Unlock the nut lock, tune and repeat the string stretching exercise outlined earlier. Re-lock the nut lock and test again. Once you have stabilized the system you are ready to play. Minor tuning touch-up can be done by using the fine tuners on the bridge.
Truss Rod, Action, and Intonation Adjustments
Because of travel effects, changes in string gauges, climatic conditions, and differences in playing styles, you might have need to adjust your Fender guitar. If it becomes necessary, the following procedure outlines the standards set at the factory.
To make these adjustments, you will need the following:
1 - 2.5mm Allen Wrench
1 - 1/8" Allen Wrench
1 - 1/5mm Allen Wrench
1 - Capo
1 - Feeler Gauge
1 - a 6" inch mechanics ruler with 1/64" increments
First off.... Tune the instrument to standard pitch.
Adjust Neck Curvature (Truss Rod)
Each Fender guitar is carefully adjusted at the factory. The truss rod and string height are set for optimum action and playability with regular gauge strings.
Under normal tension, the neck should have a slightly concave curvature. By creating a counter-acting force, the truss rod prevents the neck from bending excessively under the stress placed on it by the strings. The tension on the rod is adjustable so the correct curvature can be achieved by regulating the neck's resistance to string tension.
To check the truss rod setting, tune the guitar to playing pitch. Install a capo at the first fret, depress the 6th string at the fret where the neck joins the body. Using a feeler gauge, check the gap between the bottom of the 6th string and the top of the 8th fret. The recommended string clearance should be approximately .010".
If an adjustment is necessary, insert the wrench (supplied) into the truss rod adjustment hole. Rotate it gently until you feel it engage in the hex socket.
If the neck is too concave, turn the wrench clockwise. If it is too straight or convex, turn the wrench counterclockwise while periodically checking the gap with the feeler gauge. Periodically re-check tuning for standard pitch.
CAUTION: If extreme resistance is felt while adjusting in either direction, or if the neck has a convex bow that remains when the truss rod nut is loosened (Note: the nut should not be left loose, but should have at least a quarter turn.), DO NOT continue adjusting. Take the instrument to the nearest authorized Fender dealer or service center for inspection.
Set Bridge Height
The recommended string clearance at the 12th fret (measured by the distance between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret) is:
Strings 1-4: 5/64" (2mm) +/- 1/64" (.4mm)
Strings 5/6: 3/32" (2.4mm) +/- 1/64" (.4mm)
The above dimensions are the factory recommended settings only. The optimum height adustment varies from player to player due to differences in technique, playing styles, string gauges, etc. The instrument should be adjusted so that it provides you the ultimate in playing content. On a System I, the overall height of the bridge is set by adjusting the two pivot posts, one on each side of the bridge. This is done by using a wide tipped blade screwdriver placed in the slot section of the post, rotating counterclockwise to raise and clockwise to lower. Individual string height is not offered on the System I; however, the pivot post adjustment is more than sufficient due to the radiused bridge plate which matches the curvature of the fretboard.
Adjusting Spring Tension (Bridge/String Balance)
The System I tremolo utilizes a block in the setup. The spring adjustment system is identical to a Vintage style System (two Phillips head wood screws drawing a claw back and forth with one end of the springs (3 to 5) attached while the other end is attached to the bridge sustain block). First, remove the six screws that hold the back tremolo plate in position and remove the plate. The tremolo arm should be depressed so as to raise the back of the bridge, place the 5/32" (4mm) spacer block between the bridge and the body. Allow bridge to return back to body, trapping the block. Tune guitar up to pitch. If bridge raises and fails to trap block, tighten the two claw screws clockwise until spring pressure will trap the block with the strings all tuned to pitch. Stretch all strings out completely (sometimes it helps to hold the bridge down with one hand while stretching the strings with the other). Now remove the spacer block by depressing the tremolo arm. The pitch of the strings should now be raised. Using your tuning source (preferably an electronic tuner) and a Phillips tip screwdriver, turn the screws which adjust the claw, conterclockwise, until the strings return to pitch. This should raise your bridge and return the bridge to the proper balance point. Do any final tuning adjustments on the fine tuners on the bridge. Check the intonation of each string with an electronic tuner by playing the open string harmonic at the 12th fret and comparing this note with the note produced by fretting the string at the 12th fret. The pitch should be the same + or - 1 cednt (1/100th of a semitone). If the fretted note is sharp, the string must be lengthened by moving by saddle back; if the fretted note is flat, the string must be shortened by moving the saddle forward. After each adjustment, retune and repeat this test until both notes produce the same pitch. The procedure for doing this is as follows:
Loosen the Allen-head cap screw that locks the bridge saddle in place. Adjust the Phillips head screw at the end of the bridge clockwise to lengthen the string and counterclockwise to shorten, depending on whether the string is sharp or flat in relation to the 12th fret harmonic. Retune and retest each adjustment. To lock bridge saddle after all adjustments are made, turn Allen head cap screw clockwise until tight. After the cap screw is locked, tighten the intonation adjusting screw to assure it doesn't become loose and rattle.
If you followed all the directions carefully, and everything worked as it should, your System 1 tremolo should now be ready to take its first test dive. Go ahead plug in your axe and let 'er rip!