Antigua = Awesomeness…


An ode to the Fender finish that some people affectionately call ‘Spew Burst’… Most people who know me know that I like weird looking guitars. My Randy Rhoads polka dot flying V and Tym T-Byrd bass are testament to that. I mean it, I’ve owned WEIRD guitars. But the one guitar I own that gets the most reaction from people is my 1978 Antigua Fender Stratocaster.


It’s a great playing guitar that also happens to sound fantastic. But I’ve seen people burst out laughing, or yell obscenities and refuse to play it. But if this same ’78 Strat was black or white, they’d probably be falling over themselves trying it out. I could never understand that. To me they look bad ass. The black pickups and volume knobs go so well with the painted pickguard. Oh, yeah… did I mention the pickguard was painted Antigua as well? How cool is that?! The more you play it, the more you wear down through the layers of paint. It’s like cutting a tree open to see how old it is by counting it’s rings. With an Antigua, you can tell how long it’s been played by how many layers of paint are showing on it’s pickguard…


The Antigua colour option was introduced by Fender in the 60’s to cover manufacturing flaws in it’s Coronado II line. Those flaws must have been pretty major, as this finish was so over the top that nobody was looking at the actual guitar anymore… just that frikkin’ paint job! The press release stated that Antigua was ‘Grey fading to Antique White’. Yeah mate.. maybe in a black and white photo.

Fender in their wisdom decided to introduce the Antigua colour throughout it’s entire range in the 70’s… There of course was the afore mentioned Antigua Stratocaster…


And there was the matching Antigua Telecaster… (shown here in it’s rare Tele Custom format.)


And here’s a beautiful Antigia Jazz Bass…


That’s right, the whole family got done! Even their acoustics! (Man, I would KILL for one of those…)


So basically, for the next 30 years these guitars sat in guitar shops and got laughed at, with players usually grabbing the sunburst Strat hanging next to them (boring!)… OR GOT RESPRAYED!!! NOOOO!!! That’s until those awesome people at Fender Japan reissued the Antigua Strat, Tele & Mustang. People sort of started to take notice of them, and they actually sold ok. (in Japan, anyway.)



I’ve seen a few of these, and while the intention was honourable, they got the shading wrong. The green is much too strong and the yellow is too green. These are definitely in the ‘spewburst’ category. The funniest thing was when the Fender Custom Shop released the Eric Clapton Antigua Stratocaster… for 5 grand!!! I think even Clapton fans had a hard time swallowing that one. I personally think it looks awesome, they really got the colour right, and it was kind of nice seeing the Antigua getting the custom shop treatment. It was like the unpopular ugly kid at school getting picked for school captain. Unexpected and quite confusing.


The final chapter of the Antigua story goes to an amazing guitar maker called Dennis Fano of Fano Guitars. Dennis makes weird Fender/Gibson hybrid guitars that look like they were SUPPOSED to be designed like that in the first place, and it’s just that Fender & Gibson got it wrong. He is also a big Antigua fan, and many of his creations have gone through the spewburst treatment…


I love this Tele. That Gretsch pickup at the neck and the Thinline pickguard just look like cool personified… plus his relic work is unbeatable. The actually look like they’ve been PLAYED…


This is what would happen if you got the machine in the Human Fly and threw in an Antigua Tele with a Gibson Les Paul Junior… it’s looks so wrong but also so right. *drools* This is my personal favourite… the best Jazzmaster Fender never made.


Then for the bass players, there’s this Frankenstein reverse Thunderbird/Firebird/Whatever the hell it is…


So people, don’t sniff  your noses at these snot coloured works of art. Underneath those layers (and layers and layers) of paint is an awesome instrument begging to be given a chance and played. People who refuse to play an Antigua burst guitar just because of it’s colour (guitar racsists!) are really missing out… but hey, if you don’t want ’em that means more for me, so whatever.

(Anyone who has an Antigua that they can’t bear to look at can post the guitar to me. I’ll be happy to take care of it for you. Cheers.)


Here’s Jim D’s cool looking Antigua Mustang Bass. Although Jim regrets doing the mods, I think that pickup really looks cool and suits the look of the bass. I’d possibly just swap the Bad Ass back to the original Mustang bridge.


*edit: I was looking on eBay and found this… a one off 60’s Fender electric violin in Antigua! Buy this and you’ll be the coolest violinist in the orchestra.