The “Foto Flame” series was a short-lived, inexpensive attempt by Fender to compete with a growing “flame top” market such as PRS and Dean guitars. The “Foto Flame” is an thin piece of photographic film of some very highly figured wood laminated to the guitar, (thus the name Foto), developed by Fender, in connection some photographic corporation. The Foto Flame guitars, with the flame on top, usually have a Basswood cap on Alder or, in the case of the Foto Flame being on front and back, the whole body can be made of Basswood. When the “Foto Flame,” film is applied to the Basswood top, it makes the guitar appear as if it had high-end matchbook, figured Maple. The way they shrink wrapped this film around the guitar is amazing and it is hard not to think it is real wood. The Japanese are masters at copying, as these guitars testify. In fact, the Fender USA guys “almost cried” when they saw the MIJ quality as Fender USA was trying to get back up on its feet after the CBS buyout in March of 1984.
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