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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my first foray on this forum beyond the Introduction section.

I managed to snag a fairly rare Heartfield Talon. It was my last import from Japan - Brexit, the Yen's recovery and CITES have put an end to my collecting of interesting gear from that part of the world.



These Talons have quite an interesting back story. In short, Fender teamed up with Fuji Gen Gakki in the late eighties in order to produce Superstrats to rival the Ibanez RG line. The Talons were even manufactured in the same factory where a lot of high-end Ibanez models were made.

The general specifications of the Talon series are eerily similar to that of a classic RG: Basswood body, one-piece maple neck, HSH pickup configuration, double-locking tremolo system, Gotoh tuners and a neck joint that is almost the same as the AANJ (patent permission?).
I'd say that the one I have here compares favourably to the Ibanez RG750.

The designation for this particular model is TA-JIIID. It looks like it has a specification intended for the Japanese market only.
I did some research on the Heartfield Guitars site and most of the specifications seem to align with what we call the 'Talon IV' series in the West.
It has sharkfin-style inlays and 24 frets but the standard tremolo is a Floyd Rose Original (rather than the lower profile Floyd Rose Pro).

There is no mention of Fender on the neck and headstock. A sticker stating 'Design USA' gives the only clue regarding the guitar's origins.
Unfortunately the much lauded Heartfield hard case did not come with this guitar. No documentation or accessories were present.

The body is in average condition - there are a couple of dings & dents and a lot of gloss has been removed. I cannot tell whether a bunch of stickers had been removed with sandpaper or if an amateur refinish job was abandoned at an early stage.
Neck, headstock and fretboard are in almost perfect condition though. Very strange. I only had to do a quick polish to remove a little bit of gunk and oxidation on the frets.
The Rosewood used on the fretboard is really nice - a very dark brown and quite dense. I'd say it is superior to whatever slices of Rosewood that are on two of my Vigier Excaliburs.

The pickups are good enough for the moment, no need for expensive upgrades any time soon.
Neck position is occupied by a Dimarzio H 3. Apparently this was an exclusive pickup made for Fender, similar to the Evo Neck model (DP158) according to some internet lore.
Middle position is occupied by a generic Fender single coil. You cannot select this pickup to be active by itself - the weird wiring scheme only has it working alongside the humbuckers.
The previous owner had the original bridge pickup (Super 3/DP152) replaced with a blue Dimarzio PAF Pro (DP151).

Overall, the guitar plays well. I would describe the neck as having a shallow C-shape profile. It has a smooth satin finish that keeps things fast. Its shape is not as thin as a Wizard Neck, but is definitely less substantial than the one on my Vigier 6-string.
The tone is something I will have to get used to as this is one of my first basswood guitars (plus I've never owned an Ibanez RG). It is a nice change to have a guitar that is not a complete back breaker though.
The Floyd Rose Original is in good working order but feels notchier than the Schaller tremolos I have on other guitars.

Apologies for the essay.
Here are more photos to absorb:







The camera's flash brought out the extent of gloss removal on the body's top:


The 12th fret inlay has an extra red inlay (same goes for the 24th):
 

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Resident Winger Overlord
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Nice guitar man! And thanks for the story along with it. I've never heard of these
 

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Premium Member
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I think the overall design of these looks really cool; except the pickguard that doesn't seem to follow the body line perfectly, and especially the knob-end of the pickguard, it always just looks like they slipped with the router :lol:
Even the headstock is ok

The ones I've seen has been pretty cheap but I've understand they are generally good guitars.

Are all fitted with OFRs, or have I only seen cheaper models with some cheaper floyds on?
I haven't really looked into details on the ones I've seen
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
that's sick as tits!
I've never heard of these before. thanks for sharing and passing the GAS.
Welcome! Had no idea these existed. Looks sweet!
Nice guitar man! And thanks for the story along with it. I've never heard of these
I'd never heard of these either.
Thanks dudes, glad to edumacate y'all about the more obscure side of Fender.
The other models produced by Heartfield are also worth hunting down - mainly the EX and RR59.
Fuji Gen makes a modern version of the Elan. This 7-string looks interesting:
FGN Guitars EXPERT Series / Dark Evolution / ELAN / EEL-DE-7

The Headstock looks like an attempt of mixing a Jackson with an Ibanez
The body totally looks like an Ibanez, but the headstock looks kind of like a Jackson. Looks pretty sweet.
Jacksonez? The headstock shape was likely designed to look contemporary but also to avoid potential lawsuits. I don't find it particularly attractive.

I really love these. Wanted the 22-fretter for the longest time.
I've seen a few of those on Ebay, always seem to pop up for sale in Germany.

I had a Talon V when they first came out. Interesting guitars, though mine unfortunately had a hump in the neck that couldn't be fixed.
Mine has a tiny raised bump on the top side of the fretboard around the fourth fret. Fortunately it doesn't interfere too much unless you start placing your thumb up there.
Did you return your Talon V to the shop or sell it on?

I've seen a few of these around over the years. In the US, they were more or less the replacement for the HM Strat, as I recall.
It looks like the Talons and HM series co-existed in some markets for a year or two - genius move FMIC!

I think the overall design of these looks really cool; except the pickguard that doesn't seem to follow the body line perfectly, and especially the knob-end of the pickguard, it always just looks like they slipped with the router :lol:
Even the headstock is ok
Have to agree with Rocka about the KnobEnd!
Yep, agreed. it looks too ornamental and clashes with the simple body shape. Take a closer look at the truss rod cover as well...
I've seen an example of someone adding a Talon-style pickguard to an Ibanez RG. Odd choice.:scratch:

The ones I've seen has been pretty cheap but I've understand they are generally good guitars.
Are all fitted with OFRs, or have I only seen cheaper models with some cheaper floyds on?
I haven't really looked into details on the ones I've seen
The lower level model Talons that have dot inlays and an inferior selection of Dimarzio pickups tend to be much cheaper on the second hand market.
According to the information here Heartfield Guitars some of the Talons came with Kahler versions of the Floyd Rose - is that considered to be a downgrade?
Otherwise it seems that the earliest version of the Talon plus the I & II series came with the Floyd Rose Original as standard.
Talon III, IIIR, IV & V series had the Floyd Rose Pro as standard.
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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These and the HM strats were, IMO, the coolest thing Fender has ever made. How much did it run ya?
 

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I don't pop in here often but thought I'd add my 2 cents.....I had one about a decade ago & regret parting with it, if for no other reason than the thing had the sweetest most shred-tastic neck I've ever played......I believe the specs say it's a 20" radius which is way on the flat side, had jumbo frets & just felt great in my hand.Others of course, YMMV but I loved the neck on that thing.
 

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Mod Britannia
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That's a rather interesting score, nice one. I'd tend to agree that it looks like somone sandpapered over a sticker from that picture with the flash, very odd. Maybe you could get it recleared?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've seen one or two here and there perusing for eighties guitars. Definitely not common.
I've not seen any Heartfields for sale in the UK for the last two years, mainland Europe seems to be the next nearest source.

Played one of these a few months ago, it was a gun metal grey sparkle finish. Was ace! Nice find dude!
Thanks, do you remember if it was completely stock or had the owner gone to town with modifications? Hopefully no sandpaper was involved. :noplease:

These and the HM strats were, IMO, the coolest thing Fender has ever made. How much did it run ya?
It's great to see a lot of younger players use underrated and hidden gem guitars. The dudes from Arsis certainly brought those HM Strats to my attention.

I don't have the exact digits to hand but it was more expensive than initially expected. Customs in the UK added an unexpected sum of import duty on top of tax.
Naturally, I would have shelled out a lot more if the body was in better condition and had come with the original hard case.

That's a rather interesting score, nice one. I'd tend to agree that it looks like somone sandpapered over a sticker from that picture with the flash, very odd. Maybe you could get it recleared?
Yes, odd to say the least. To a lesser extent there are similar patches on the back of the body and on the horns. I know it doesn't have a fancy figured top, but the metallic red paint is of a high quality, why would you go all punk rock with stickers?! :noplease:

I haven't had any previous experience asking for cosmetic work on guitars. Would all of the existing clear coat need removing before a complete refinish or can fresh bits be buffed in?

God I loved these things when they came out
I was six when the Talons were released so I cannot relate. Haha. It's a good bet that I was playing with Generation One Transformers back then.
I only stumbled upon Heartfields when looking at the FGN Eel line.

Here is a catalogue scan of whatever variation of Talon I have:

Is anyone good at translation?
 

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Some fairly prominent players were slinging these back in the day: Russ Parish (Satchel) & Vinnie Moore to name just a couple off the top of my head.....I remember I used to always pick up those Fender Frontline mags whenever I visited a guitar shop & there was always some spotlighted heavy player with a Talon; I never saw one in real life 'til I walked into a pawnshop with a friend, I walked out with that thing! Mine was gunmetal metal flake, with just the dots & H/S/S..... someone had installed 2 JB Jrs. in the neck/middle & not sure what the bridge PUP was.It too, had been violated with a bunch of stickers (?!?) & I had to go to work with the Goof-Off.....

Anyways, cool somewhat forgotten guitars & I would love to do a project with one someday.....that NECK!!!
 
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