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Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Sterling Valentine Tremolo
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Playability
68
Sound
72
Build
67
Value
69
Score
69
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Playability
70
Sound
71
Build
64
Value
73
Score
68
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Side to side spec comparison >

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Sterling Valentine Tremolo

Reasons to Get
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster over Sterling Valentine Tremolo

Country of Manufacturing
Japan vs Indonesia
Built with higher quality standards
Release Year
2023 vs 2019
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs Narrow Tall
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
U Shape vs James Valentine
Comfortable neck with more grip
Pickups Brand
Fender vs None
Pickups from a renown brand
Pickups
SS vs SH
Beautiful cleans
Nut Width
1.615'' (41mm) vs 1.65'' (41.9mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Bridge
Fixed vs Tremolo
Good sustain and needs no set-up

Reasons to Get
Sterling Valentine Tremolo over Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
Narrow Tall vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
James Valentine vs U Shape
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Pickup Mods
Boost vs None
Increases the output of the pickup
Pickups
SH vs SS
Very bright bridge tone and a very warm neck pickup
Number of Frets
22 vs 21
Allows to reach higher notes
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.65'' (41.9mm) vs 1.615'' (41mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Bridge
Tremolo vs Fixed
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Value Score
73 vs 69
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Sterling Valentine Tremolo

Bridge Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Sterling Single Coil
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Sterling Humbucker
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Basswood vs Ash
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple vs Roasted Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Maple vs Roasted Maple
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-2
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Bone vs Compensated
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Sterling Valentine Tremolo

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
3
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm)
Same fretboard comfortability
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Prices

SET PRICE ALERT
SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

The Sterling Valentine Tremolo meets 7 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster meets only 6. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Sterling Valentine Tremolo
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America. Find out more about Maple.

Basswood is a lightweight type of wood that isn't as expensive as other popular choices for guitar building. It gives more power to the mid-range frequencies. Its color can vary from pale white to light brown. Find out more about Basswood.

Woods Used in the Sterling Valentine Tremolo

Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple
Ash wood pattern used for guitar building
Ash

Roasted Maple is just maple without a finish. It's technically cheaper than regular maple, but it doesn't have any extra disadvantages because of this. The color is darker, and it's lighter weight and very stable even when there's a lot of humidity.

Ash is a type of wood that Fender used almost exclusively in the 50s, and it's still used by many brands. It's a dense wood with a light color that works well for a transparent, natural finish because of its beautiful patterns. In terms of sound, it's known for emphasizing the mid and high frequencies, but with strong low end. Find out more about Ash.

Winner: Sterling Valentine Tremolo.

Pickup Configuration

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has an SS configuration while the Sterling Valentine Tremolo has SH pickups.

SS is the classic Telecaster configuration. It's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion, and it's very popular for the country genre because of their brightness. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

On the other hand, SH is a more versatile version of the classic telecaster (SS) configuration. The bridge pickup usually produces a bright and twangy tone, while the neck Humbucker gives you the warmer tone you'll need for more Jazzy/Bluish solos and chords.

Pickups Quality

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has pickups from a more specialized brand than the Sterling Valentine Tremolo. Its pickups should simply give you a better, fuller sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Country and similar genres.

You can purchase similar pickups to the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's and use them on any guitar:

Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Only the Sterling Valentine Tremolo comes with some kind of pickup modification: Boost.

A Boost will give your pickups more output, similar to an active pickup. It's great if you like to use a lot of output for heavy genres, but also like to use a cleaner tone often.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's switch options
Sterling Valentine Tremolo pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Sterling Valentine Tremolo's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Sterling Valentine Tremolo.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72
Sterling Valentine Tremolo
Pickups 60
Sustain 75
Versatility 74
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 71

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster compares to the Sterling Valentine Tremolo.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster is built in Japan while the Sterling Valentine Tremolo is made in Indonesia.

Japan has a long history of high-quality guitar building. Little has changed in terms of their manufacturing and quality control over the years. Many guitars made in this country can be compared—and even beat—others made in the US.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a Bone nut. It's a type of nut found in high-quality instruments. They sound similar to Ivory since they give a lot of sustain and a bright sound (at least when striking open strings). The only problem they can run into is that you may get a bone piece that simply doesn't sound as well as others because that's just how natural materials are.

On the other hand, the Sterling Valentine Tremolo comes with a Compensated nut. Each hole where the string sits at the nut is cut at a different distance from the bridge, which compensates for the different amount of tension that each string is subject to. This fixes most intonation issues across the fretboard, so it gives great tuning stability.

Winner: Tie.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of them come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's brige is a Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

On the other hand, the Sterling Valentine Tremolo's is a Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

The Sterling Valentine Tremolo has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune it without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: Sterling Valentine Tremolo.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Made in Japan
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sterling Valentine Tremolo
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Boost Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 85
Build Quality 67
Sterling Valentine Tremolo
Quality of materials 51
Features 70
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 64

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Sterling Valentine Tremolo Nut Width
Sterling Valentine Tremolo Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Sterling Valentine Tremolo has the wider nut with 41.9mm (1.65'') vs 41mm (1.615''). This is a 0.9mm (0.035'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Sterling Valentine Tremolo, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster and Sterling Valentine Tremolo's Scale Length
Both have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Neck Profile
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's neck profile
Sterling Valentine Tremolo Neck Profile
Sterling Valentine Tremolo's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both have different neck shapes:

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a U type of neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

The Sterling Valentine Tremolo, on the other hand, has a C neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Fingerboard Radius
Both Guitars Have The Same Fretboard Radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

Both the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster and the Sterling Valentine Tremolo have the same fretboard radius of 9.5". This is the most common radius for Stratocaster guitars. It's considered curved when compared to most other models. This allows you to play chords very easily without muting strings accidentally and gives you more space between strings for fingerpicking. However, this curve also gives the guitar less allowance for lower action. If you bend too hard at the high frets, some of your notes might get muted because the curve will make the string fret out.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster favors large hands more than the Sterling Valentine Tremolo.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Sterling Valentine Tremolo:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Frets Size
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Frets Size
Sterling Valentine Tremolo Frets Size
Sterling Valentine Tremolo's Frets Size

The Sterling Valentine Tremolo has Narrow Tall frets, which should be taller than the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Medium Jumbo frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 90
Solo Playability 50
Playability 68
Sterling Valentine Tremolo
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Sterling Valentine Tremolo
General Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Sterling Valentine Tremolo
Brand: Fender Sterling
Year: 2023 2019
Configuration: SS SH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Japan Indonesia
Series: Made in Japan Limited International Artist
Colors: Blue
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood Swamp Ash
Bridge: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Chrome Barrel Saddles Vintage Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Fender Vintage F Stamped Locking
Fretboard: Maple Roasted Hard Maple
Neck Material: Maple Roasted Hard Maple
Decoration: Black Dot Black Dot Markers
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: U Shape James Valentine
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Narrow Tall Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 9.5" 9.5"
Nut: Bone Compensated
Nut Width: 41mm (1.615'') 41.9mm (1.65'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Sterling Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 3 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Dome Dome
Pickup Mods: None Boost
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 1