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Shortly after the Lead series, Fender unveiled the Bullet series, which was originally made of Korean parts and eventually shipped overseas entirely.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 1980 Fender Lead II is a great example in very clean cosmetic condition. It sports two X-1 single-coil pickups, which are essentially overwound strat pickups (neck resistance is 7.38k, bridge is 7.36). 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. With a Maple C-neck that feels like a '50s strat, this one is a great player, too.
This 1980 Fender Lead II is a seriously cool instrument that is different from everything else on the block. Apart from one non-original ferrule, there is no history of repairs or issues. It includes its original case, which is every bit as clean as the guitar.