So it was summer of 82' and I came home from the beach with the wife and kids. Sombrero in hand I tossed it across the room and it landed on the head of my new Fender 1982 Squier, just like you see it. My kids all shouted great shot dad ! I had to take this picture. I didn't know then what I knew now and wish I did. I didn't know that if not for illegal aliens from across the boarder back in 1946 Leo would have never got his buisness of the ground. Nor did I know that there would be a Mexican part of the Fender Company. In fact I was surprised when I went to by my brand new 1982 Fender Stratocaster that went for 400. dollars USD in those days I would be coming home with a Japanese Fujigen Gakki assembled Squier. You see I wasn't really up on things in those days. I only knew that Fender CBS was building guitars like crap and I asked my friend who owned a profiting expanding music store to hold onto a nice one when it came in and he did. This 1982 America Leo Fender Made, Japanese assembled in Japan Squier that went for about 129. there a bouts. When I went down to the store a month earlier before I did all the boat pin striping on this amazing Squier. I walked into my friends music store in New Jersey and said, well Joe I got the cash and started browsing over his American Strats. And when I saw one I liked I looked at Joe and said, "this one?" He said, no, this went on a couple of times. The shipment came in and I thought he was busting me. Finally He said, Tommy, do you see that white Japanese Squier right there in the guitar stand on the floor. I said the one for 129. bucks. He said, Yep! that one! what I said, as I laughed your kidding me.. He said no I'm not. First of all, that guitar was made here by Leo Fender before he sold out to CBS. A warehouse plug that was sent to Japan to be assembled. He said those are Fender USA parts put together by the best factory workers and craftsman in the world. He gave me the history of Japan from before WW2 till present. I was amazed. But not as amazed as when I picked up this gem and plugged it in. He was right, after playing every American made 400. dollar Strat, this 129. dollar Japan made Strat made them look like amateurs assembled them. I worked building 40 foot Yachts and had plenty of boat pin stripping stored up I decided to do my own thing on the body which you see. I Jimi Hendrix that thing to death. 4 years latter and Joe moving on as life does. In 1986 I walked into another music shop to see another Japanese wonder. The Strat Plus and Super Strat. With the Fender System One Bridge shinning like the Sun, in what looked like a Pearl finish in a Tuxedo Black pickguard with the first time seeing a Humbucker at the bridge. I brought my pinned stripped Squier for trade and when the young men behind the counter seeing my pinned stripe wonder. 'They wigged out and started fighting over it. I saw the brand new 1986er I wanted in case and they said, How much do you want for your guitar. I thought to myself, boy this is backwards. I said how much on a trade for this new Pearl Plus here in the case.. they said, give us a hundred and it's yours. Now that I think back at it I probably had a JV in my hand and didn't even know it. Like I said, I was playing in a great band, hand five kids and who cared about what was what, I only knew I wanted that 1986 Japan made Fender with that bright Chrome Fender System One Bridge, Locking Nut and Chrome shinny Bar. I took the deal and went home to jam. I played for hours rocking the neighborhood, like Jimi, dive bombing and pulling back into guitar screams making that brand new floating tremolo with the roller ball saddles see saw back and forth like it was on ball bearing. It escalated my lead playing by a thousand. My wife watched with astonishment as she was convinced I really lost it this time and there was no return. I was in electric guitar heaven and I wasn't coming down. My speakers were huffin and a puffin, squealing like baby pigs waiting to be slaughtered. I'd have people from the local bar come over to hear me play this 8th wonder of the world. It was the best Fender guitar I ever played and at that time from 1963 I've been playing Fenders for 23 years. I was in love. Time moved on I made some Albums wrote some songs, played some groups, got divorced, got married and divorced again and then after my "Homeless" CD and "Love from Above" and a few others. I slumbered into old age and one day the doctor said, I'll never work again, my neck needed plates, my back need bolts, they wanted to make another Frankenstein out of me. In my depression one evening sitting with wife number three, it is a charm. She noticed me looking on ebay for a new neck for my 86er. It had the painted black back you see and the varnish on the sides was starting to peel. And then the Horror filled my face as I hit the Fender MIJ pages. It looked like Pottersville in the "It's a Wonderful Life" movie with Jimmy Stewart. The bars were missing and so were the Locking nuts. The necks and bodies were beat to crap. I was torn, I felt like the little boy in Christmas Story who had his BB gun bent in half. Wow. My wife said to me do you know how to fix guitars... I said, when You are poor and the only way to have one when I was growing up, was to build your own. She said, why don't you do that. I said it will cost about forty grand for what I want to do. We had just gotten inheritance money of a large sum. And I took 40 big ones and bought every Fender Fujigen Gakki Made In Japan Guitar in the best shape I could find. I had to make a shop and buy an apron the way these things came in stinking of beer half the parts missing the wrong models with the wrong guitars.. I had to shower after every delivery. I couldn't see Leo Clarence Fender's Legacy go out this way. Even though he was gone and only George Fullerton was alive and G&L was being run by George and Leo's wife. I remember Leo saying in an article that the Japanese were making his guitar better then he ever did. I started rebuilding and refurbishing, bridges , pick guards, matching body numbers to necks and models. Then I built the site with the help of my lovely wife Caroline, my Caramia.. Stratconnection.com was born. It would take three MIJ Strats to put one back to Factory condition not counting the finishes. I didn't want to touch them because they were antique and becomeing antiques anyway and on there way to becoming collector pieces.. I put the rejected parts I couldn't use back up on eBay at enormous high prices.. People were emailing me telling me I was nuts. I would never get that money. I started giving the relic's pet names, like "Easy Rider" and the Black Mombo" and the "Purple People Eater" to name a small few. I started selling and was a Silver eBay certificate seller in no time. Mean while to show me up people were putting there Fender MIJ Strats with Chrome bars up even cheaper and having the money I'd win every bid I wanted to. Taking the parts I needed for other projects to complete my plan. Oh my Plan? I didn't tell you my plan? I was going to put back Leo's Legacy and make these Strats and Tele's what they were meant to be. Disabled and unable to collect disability because I owned my own company, I moved forward. Now as recession hit us harder then we thought. And the prices of Fender MIJ mid 80's guitars are being sold with bars too, as I in sited a man who was selling on ebay to make the bars the real snap in type and helped him machine them by giving him the specs, and even though I told him to make them stainless.. he didn't listen. But I have another friend who encouraged me and works for Kahler and is having the bars manufactured as we speak as he seen my struggle and knew my heart, and you will know him soon too as you see his Kahler Fender System One Bars and wrenches appear on eBay and his site. My dream came true. And know my guitars have been built and sold to those who really love them.. And I have over 50 more that will be going up on this site soon with all the parts at really lowered and affordable prices as see the people learned and realized the respect due to there being and there playability and what would the Fender Legacy be with out them. For if CBS was aloud to bring down such a great company, and they were. And the Japanese who have been copy catting them for so many years didn't step in.. Where would Fender be now. And now the woods are rare and countries are one world united place. The Dream that kept Rock and Roll together.. The girlish woman typed figure of the Fender Stratocaster that made the sound of Rock and Roll yesterday, today and tomorrow, will live on. Because one man had a vision. He worked for his uncle repairing radio's. And in 1946, he changed the world. Thank you Mr. Fender.. and you too George ! ONE FINAL NOTE IN CLOSING TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FANS WHO JOIN WITH ME TO THIS GREAT CAUSE. LEO FENDER AND GEORGE FULLERTON WHO WAS LEO'S SIDE KICK FOR MANY YEARS HELPING IN DESIGNING. BOTH LABORED HARD FOR THAT AMERICAN DREAM FOR WHAT HE CONSIDERED TO BE A GREAT COUNTRY. THE PIRATES AND RAPE ARTISTS WHO USED THEIR WORKS AND COPIED TO MAKE THE ALMIGHTY BUCK, THE SAME TYPES WHO PARTED OUT THESE BEAUTIFUL GUITARS FOR THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. I'M AFRAID WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US, UNFORTUNATELY. I'VE SEEN THEM COME AND SEEN THEM GO. YOU'LL NEVER SEE THEM ON A YOU TUBE SHARING THEIR TALENT BECUASE THEY HAVE NONE TO SHARE. THEY ARE MONEY STEALERS OF THE IDEAS OF OTHERS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NONE OF THIER OWN. THIEFS AND LIARS. YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE MY FRIENDS. WHEN YOU MEET THEM REMEMBER MEN LIKE LEO AND GEORGE AND HAVE HOPE. LIFE ON EARTH IS SHORT. AND ONLY THE VALIANT WITH FAITH NEVER DIE.
R I P