In 1979, Fender released the next iteration of affordable, two-pickup guitars: the Lead II. In the tradition that includes the Duo-Sonic and the Mustang, the Lead II—with its double-cutaway, non-offset body—offered something new and interesting, but at the same time it screamed Fender.
Shortly after the Lead series, Fender unveiled the Bullet series, which was originally made of Korean parts and eventually shipped overseas entirely. Of course, we all know where the Asian production of entry-level Fenders ended up... So in a way, you could argue the Lead II was the last Fullerton-made entry-level, two-pickup Fender. In the decades since, the Lead II has been overlooked and underrated, and that's a damn shame because this guitar checks so many boxes. Its tone and feel are distinctly Fender through and through, but it's not a strat or a tele! It's familiar, but something altogether its own.
This first-year 1979 Fender Lead II sports a rosewood fingerboard and translucent red finish, which appears to be a relatively rare combination. Like all Lead IIs, it has two X-1 pickups, which are essentially overwound strat pickups (the neck resistance measures 7.33k, bridge is 7.26k). In addition to a three-way switch, the Lead II offers a phase switch for the middle position, giving you four options of dynamic, cutting Fender tone. Although the body is somewhat small and comfortable on your lap, it's made of a huge chunk of Alder, and with the hardtail setup, it packs more sustain than you'd expect.
This 1979 Fender Lead II is a punk rock machine with just the right amount of mojo. It looks like a past owner slapped some stickers on there, and if you catch the light just right, you'll find the rash of an old anarchy "A" symbol hidden above the pickguard. Imbued with unmistakable punk-rock vibe, this Lead II presents a versatile arsenal of distinctly Fender tones. It has no history of repairs, and while it has been played, it has not been abused. Original case included.