There are some amazing and unique instruments out there. Lucky for us we work in one of the best music stores in the tri-county area. We had a customer bring this bad boy in for nothing other than some TLC.
This Fretlight Guitar (FG-200 PRO) is a beautiful tiger maple electric guitar with a 21-fret maple bolt-on neck, with a rosewood fingerboard, and a hard tail bridge. It does sound as good as it looks, though it has gone through a few revisions since its creation in the early 90s (1992 – 1996).
The FG-200 was made in the Godin factory until 1992, when the production shifted to Korea at the Samick factory. The FG-200 utilized new surface mount LED’s so the neck was much thinner than the FG-100, the original model, allowing it to play really well. The FG-200 sported Optek’s current headstock design and looked much better aesthetically. For the most part, except for some minor chip changes, the selection system and electronics remained the same. The holes in the fretboard were now filled with clear plastic disks, which made for brighter viewing of the lights and for better manufacturing and repair. The FG-200 played great as a guitar and the neck consistently got thinner over the 4 years it was in production in Korea. Many colors and models were made with the FG-200 electronics and neck design.
Thousands of these guitars were made and in 1995 Optek unleashed the FG-200 PRO – a stage ready, record ready Fretlight with Seymour Duncan pickups, Gotoh Tuners, and upgraded gold hardware. Neal Schon played a Fretlight in the Optek booth at Winter Namm 1993.
The neck had holes drilled through the wood to place LED lights inside and were then covered with clear discs. The LEDs were quite visible even when the lights were turned off. The FG-200 was powered by plugging it into a conventional wall outlet, and the lights were controlled by knobs on the body. Functionality of the light system was limited to display only 16 Scales and 16 chord types in any key, and individual notes.
The FG-200 and FG-100 originally came with the Optek AC adapter Model AD-0780, rated at 7.5V DC @ 800mA. Unfortunately, no one sells this power adapter as the guitars that they were paired with it stopped being manufactured in 1995. You can check your local electronics store for a generic AC adapter rated between these levels: 7.5-9V, 800-1200mA, as long as its output is DC, and has a positive tipped 1/8″ (3.5) mini plug. If you are not able to locate a power adapter locally you should be able to find one online that matches these specs.
FG-100’s and FG-200’s used Optek’s generic Fender styled pickups made in factory in Korea for most of the guitars but the Pro model used Seymour Duncans and some of the later runs used Fender Lace Sensors. The most popular upgrade was going to EMG 81’s And EMG-SA’s.
Depending on condition and if all the electronics are working, these are valued anywhere between $300-$700+ . I had not seen one in many years and I do remember when these first came into production that these were great learning tools before the days of internet and video lessons online. This only required a simple setup as the customer requested, but were eager to let you all see one if you had not seen one before.
Newer ones are available, but they are not the same instruments as they used to be (go figure…newer USB tech, different feel, more hardware to software integration).
We hope you enjoyed today’s repair journal. As always, play well and play on!