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Ten, One-of-a-Kind Masterbuilt Guitars To Debut at Winter NAMM, January 2017

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.  (January 18, 2017) – Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announces the unveiling of the Fender Custom Shop annual ‘Prestige Collection’ of visionary, master built guitars –inspired by Fender Custom Shop’s 30th anniversary in 2017 – at Winter NAMM 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. Built by the Shop’s esteemed Master Builders, the 2017 Collection consists of 10 inspired guitars, each representing the peerless craftsmanship, artistry and detail that elevated the Custom Shop to worldwide acclaim. 

The Custom Shop’s roster of world-class Master Builders were challenged once again to design and build a one-of-a-kind guitar or bass inspired by the Shop’s rich history and 30th anniversary, interpreted through their eyes and unique vision. Featured in the 2017 Prestige Collection are strikingly inventive guitar creations – from Stephen Stern’s modern Classic Rocker and Scott Buehl’s Frosted Duco Strat® to Yuriy Shishkov’s Gold Leaf Telecaster® – which is full of unique, original features like double-bound binding with a Gold Leaf “finish” and a Gold Leafed neck, a first for a Telecaster. 

“The 2017 Fender Custom Shop Prestige Collection is what the Shop is all about – pushing the limits of guitar luthiery to create custom-built guitars for players and collectors that have grown accustomed to Fender’s signature craftsmanship,” said Mike Lewis, Vice President Product Development, Fender Custom Shop. “From the throwback and classic pieces inspired by the Custom Shop’s 30-year history to something completely new – the Master Builders have really outdone themselves this year.” 

Handcrafted in Corona, Calif., at the renowned Fender Custom Shop, Master Builders endured a year-long process, which included planning, design and building their dreams into a reality. Design inspiration was gathered everywhere – from early Custom Shop guitars and legendary Founding Master Builders to hot rods, western mining towns and 30th anniversary gemstones. 

Handcrafted Prestige Collection masterpieces unveiled at Winter NAMM 2017 include: Dale Wilson’s Forest Green 30th Anniversary Stratocaster®; Paul Waller’s The Cuervo X Fender Agave Stratocaster®; Stephen Stern’s Classic Rocker; Jason Smith’s 30th Anniversary Esquire® C.C. MBJS; Yuriy Shishkov’s Gold Leaf Telecaster®, Todd Krause’s Octave Doubleneck Telecaster®; Dennis Galuszka’sHot Rodded Jazzmaster®; Greg Fessler’s Texas Special Strat®; John Cruz’ NAMM 2017 Prestige Edition Custom Shop P90 Set Neck Tele®; and Scott Buehl’s Frosted Duco Strat®. The guitars not only boast superior aesthetics, but also immense sonic quality and performance signature to the Fender brand. 

Since the Custom Shop’s early days, its Master Builders have debuted imaginative guitar, bass and amplifier creations at NAMM to droves of aficionados and admirers. Coined the ‘Prestige Collection’ at Winter NAMM 2016, it has quickly become the gem of Fender Custom Shop’s display. From Dale Wilson’s Stained Glass Tele to Paul Waller’s Cardboard Strat and Yuriy Shishkov’s Music Repeater Tele inspired by an 18th-century Swiss pocket watch – the Collection has earned a reputation at NAMM for the unmatched creativity and inventiveness of its master built guitars and basses. 

2017 “Prestige Collection” guitars are valued from $7,400.00 to $20,000.00. They will be sold Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the invitation-only Fender Custom Shop VIP Event held at Winter NAMM, but will remain on display throughout the show. Models include: 

Forest Green 30th Anniversary Stratocaster® – $9,500.00

Master Builder: Dale Wilson

Dale Wilson’s Forest Green 30th Anniversary Stratocaster is inspired by his memories of early Custom Shop guitars he saw as a young luthier dreaming of working for Fender. Designed simply, but with a touch of classy bling, the ‘60s Stratocaster features gold hardware; hand-wound pickups; an ash body stained Forest Green with an AAA quilt top; and the Pearloid®-bound AAA flame neck has a nitrocellulose lacquer neck finish. Dale strategically chose green and pearl, the respective color and stone for a 30th anniversary, and used a 14 karat gold Custom Shop 30th Anniversary logo inlay at the 12th fret to celebrate 30 years of the Shop.


The Cuervo X Fender Agave Stratocaster® – $20,000 (Estimated Value – Not For Sale)

Master Builder: Paul Waller

Inspired by Mexico’s picturesque landscape, culture, native agave plant and Jose Cuervo distillery, Paul Waller’s newest creation – The Cuervo X Fender Agave Stratocaster – is about as 100% agave as it can get. In partnership with Jose Cuervo, he replaced all traditional wood elements with the agave plant-based material. While the ‘56 Stratocaster features a two-piece pure agave body, neck and fingerboard, the instrument remains true to tradition with all-genuine chrome Fender hardware; a custom-engraved neck plate with Jose Cuervo inscription; as well as hand-wound Fat ‘50s neck and RWRP middle and bridge pickups. “It shows we can make these things out of damn near anything, and they still sound like a Strat® or a Tele®,” he says. With a tone taking on the “quackiness” of a Stratocaster pickup, Waller envisions the instrument fitting in perfectly with surf music and culture.


Classic Rocker – $12,500.00

Master Builder: Stephen Stern

Stephen Stern’s Prestige creation is one that has now come full circle. Inspired by a guitar he and Dan Smith designed for NAMM in 1999 – later dubbed the Classic Rocker in Custom Shop – this 2017 guitar is one of 12 ever created. Stephen’s modern iteration is slightly modified with a 17″ electric hollow body, Trans Red finish and curly maple body and neck. Stephen is most-proud of the fingerboard inlays, inspired by a photo of an old lap steel guitar with diamond-shaped inlays he and Alan Hamel saw while flipping through vintage guitar books. In celebration of the Shop’s 30 years, the pickguard features the 30th Anniversary logo and an inner label from the Shop’s product development guru, Ralph Esposito, that can be viewed through the F-hole. To top it off, the guitar comes with a strap made by designer Dru Whitefeather for added flair.


30th Anniversary Esquire® C.C. MBJS – $8,500.00

Master Builder: Jason Smith

Jason Smith’s 30th Anniversary Esquire pays homage to three legendary Founding Master Builders of the Custom Shop. Created with a three-piece reclaimed/roasted pine body wood, similar to a run of black painted pine body Esquire guitars by Fred Stuart, Jason focused on high functionality and playability to make this a player’s “number one guitar.” The guitar’s Relic® treatment was inspired by weathered buildings of long-deserted western mining towns. The overall western theme flows throughout with shotgun-shell knobs; .30 caliber switch tip; and the rustic weathered “30” on the front nodding to western-themed art guitars once created by Founding Master Builders Alan Hamel and Fred Stuart.


Gold Leaf Telecaster® – $10,000.00

Master Builder: Yuriy Shishkov

Yuriy Shishkov’s Gold Leaf Telecaster – symbolically wrapped in gold to celebrate the Shop’s 30th anniversary – is “different from anything I’ve done in the past,” he insists. Inspired by early Custom Shop art guitars that spawned new materials and finishes, such as gold leaf, in guitar production – Yuriy set off to make another one-of-a-kind creation. A classic Telecaster with a modern twist, the instrument features a new type of RSD bridge; a Texas Special™ bridge pickup; a TV Jones® Power’tron neck pickup; as well as a custom single-ply tortoiseshell pickguard. In true Yuriy Shishkov fashion, the Telecaster is full of originality with unique features that have never been done before, such as double-bound binding with a Gold Leaf “finish” and a Gold Leafed neck –  a first for a Telecaster.


Octave Doubleneck Telecaster® – $11,500.00

Master Builder: Todd Krause

Based on a concept popular during the western swing days, the rare Octave Doubleneck Telecaster®celebrates the Fender Custom Shop’s 30th anniversary by “reflecting the early days of Fender,” according to its builder. Todd Krause created this Prestige piece as a retro Custom Shop guitar – opting for a double-neck design that features an octave neck used for accompanying lead riffs in an open position, but one octave higher. A guitar fanatic, Krause builds what he would love to own – emphasizing playability, comfort and “cool factor” in his designs.


Hot Rodded Jazzmaster® – $8,950.00

Master Builder: Dennis Galuszka

During its 30 years of existence, the Fender Custom Shop often paid homage to hot rod culture through its custom guitar designs. Dennis Galuszka’s Hot Rodded Jazzmaster is an ode to the Shop’s early hot rod-inspired creations – featuring an alder body, quartersawn maple neck, RSD J bridge and a rosewood fingerboard with red acrylic dots and a custom hot rod-style flame paint job by the Shop’s own Brian Bock. Galuszka insists guitar fanatics will be pleased with new wiring; improved sound and playability; as well as an upper-bout switch for selecting series/parallel pickup wiring and discrete volume/tone controls for each pickup.


Texas Special Strat® – $7,400.00

Master Builder: Greg Fessler

An ode to the Texas Special Strat guitars created in the early ‘90s, Greg Fessler is bringing back this model – one that made a big impression during early stages of his career – for the Fender Custom Shop’s 30th anniversary. His recreation is inspired by original designer Howie Friedman, who imagined “if Stevie Ray Vaughn ordered a custom guitar from the Shop, this is what he would have ordered,” Fessler recalls. On a quest to recreate the original, Fessler conducted countless hours of research to get it right. The Texas Special Strat features an alder body with Olympic White finish, a ‘60s Stratocaster neck and a left-handed American Vintage Stratocaster bridge.


NAMM 2017 Prestige Edition Custom Shop P90 Set Neck Tele® – $8,950.00

Master Builder: John Cruz

When John Cruz first joined the Fender Custom Shop, production of the Shop’s P90 Set Neck Tele guitars was in full swing. In an effort to pay homage to the instrument’s classic design, and show the Shop’s evolution over its 30 years, he’s reintroducing the model with a few modifications for new players to discover. Modern improvements include: a one-piece chambered mahogany body for light, resonant, sound; tortoiseshell tuner knobs; chrome-plated bridge saddles; custom Lollar Gold Foil Soap Bar P90 pickups; and a modified neck joint area for a sleeker feel, among other modifications.


Frosted Duco Strat® – $11,500.00

Master Builder: Scott Buehl

Inspired by the rare frosted Duco, a finish used on National Resonators and Dobros in the 1930s, the special appeal of Scott Buehl’s Frosted Duco Strat lies in the paint and pickups. This golden Stratocaster®features an alder ‘60s-style body laden with gold NOS Frosted Duco lacquer by B-Fanatic, as well as Fender AS jumbo frets, a chrome RSD bridge, and a matching pickguard with Abby Ybarra hand-wound pickups. The elliptical-profile maple neck sports a round-lam rosewood fingerboard with narrow-spaced dot inlays, with an ellipse neck shape and vintage-style chrome tuners. A stunning piece aesthetically and sonically, Buehl wants the player to “fall in love with the way the guitar plays and sounds.”

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com and www.fendercustomshop.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender. 

Source:  Press Release

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