Check out the weirdest and most downright gorgeous guitars the Fender Custom Shop has launched for 2024
Trust Fender not to pump the brakes on its seemingly never-ending stream of new instruments. Just last month, the guitar giant launched a slew of new products for NAMM – even though it didn’t attend the show in person – including new Squier Classic Vibe models, 70th Anniversary Stratocasters and even its loop switcher, the Switchboard.
And now, the Big F has lifted the lid on a mother lode of Custom Shop models for 2024, allowing us to marvel at their uber-classy aesthetics and top-end spec sheets, even if they’re a little out of our budget…
The collection comprises six distinct families – the Limited Edition, Time Machine, Postmodern, American Custom, Artisan and Vintage Custom – with classic Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar and bass guitar designs featuring everything from vintage appointments to more forward-thinking specs.
Says Mike Lewis, VP of Product Development at the Fender Custom Shop, “Crafted by the industry’s most skilled artisans, these guitars represent the pinnacle of excellence, blending innovation with the rich heritage of Fender.
“Each collection tells a unique story, from the timeless elegance of the Limited Edition and Time Machine models to the groundbreaking features of the Postmodern and American Custom collections to the nostalgic journey of the Vintage Custom designs.
“We’re confident that this year’s collection will captivate artists, players, and collectors alike, setting a new standard for excellence in the world of custom guitars.”
There’s a metric ton of colourways in total, but let’s dive in to some of the best models on offer.
First to catch our eye in the Limited Edition collection is this relic’d Red Hot Esquire in Super-Faded Aged Candy Apple Red. Features include a two-piece select ash chambered Thinline body with a classic “F” hole, one-piece birds-eye maple neck with a 1952 U profile, compound-radius 21-fret maple fingerboard and a single Custom Shop hand-wound reverse-angle Josefina “Red Hot” Telecaster pickup. This beauty also comes in Aged Black and Aged White Blonde finishes, and is priced at £4,599/$4,725.
Another highlight from the Limited Edition collection is this 1964 L-Series Strat, which features a two-piece alder body with a Heavy Relic lacquer finish, rift-sawn maple neck with 1963-style C-shaped neck and round-lam compound-radius rosewood fingerboard, and Custom Shop hand-wound ’64 Stratocaster pickups. This one’s available in Three-Color Sunburst, Aged Daphne Blue, Aged Olympic White and Aged Sage Metallic Green, and is priced at £5,199/$5,400.
As Fender explains, the Time Machine collection comprises “artfully relic’d” guitars and basses that “revolutionise” the concept of reissue instruments. One highlight from the range is this 1964 Jaguar Journeyman, which sports a ’62-style C-profile neck, Custom Shop ’62 Jaguar pickups, and a colour matched headstock. This guitar arrives in Faded Aged Burgundy Mist Metallic, Faded Aged Lake Placid Blue and Faded Aged Sherwood Green Metallic, and is priced at £5,299/$5,575.
“The reverently irreverent Custom Shop Postmodern guitars represent seven decades of ‘Fender firsts’,” says Fender. “Based simply on our own subjective view of what works best in a single instrument, they combine the best features of the past with modern materials and innovations. The player-friendly Postmoderns open the door to a wider range of individual musical expression and creativity with enhanced sonic and ergonomic features.
One standout from the collection is this Postmodern Strat Journeyman Relic, which features an ash thinline body, quatersawn maple neck with ’60s-style Oval “C” back-shape, round-laminated quartersawn maple fingerboard with a contoured heel and a set of Custom Shop hand-wound Master Design “Bone-Tone” Strat pickups. Available in Three-Color Sunburst, Natural Blonde and Burnt Copper, this guitar is priced at £4,899/$5,075.
“The American Custom is the Fender of modern times-and then some,” says Fender. “With striking finishes combined with contemporary features and detailed craftsmanship, new American Custom Telecaster and Stratocaster models are not only beautiful to behold, but also highly functional in a pure Fender fashion.”
This one, in our opinion, is one of the biggest lookers of Fender’s entire 2024 Custom Shop drop. The American Custom Telecaster NOS features a host of player-friendly specifications, including a two-piece select ash body with an offset seam, one-piece 3A roasted flame maple neck with a NOS lacquer, and Custom Shop hand-wound Loaded Nocaster pickups. Aside from this Sapphire Blue Transparent finish, this also comes in Honey Blonde, and is priced at £4,099/$4,225.
Built on “tried-and-true” vintage platforms, the Custom Shop Artisan series models are crafted from exotic tone woods and fitted with special appointments and features that “subtly enhance playability”.
This Artisan Maple Burl Jazz Bass NOS showcases the “high-level craftsmanship of the Fender Custom Shop – seamlessly merging Fender heritage with showstopping appointments”. Boasting an Aged Natural NOS lacquer finish, the bass also features a two-piece select ash body, 4A maple burl top, 3A roasted flame maple neck and round-laminated rosewood fingerboard. Electronics come by way of a pair of Custom Shop hand-wound vintage Jazz Bass pickups and vintage wiring. Other specs include a ’60s-style U back shape, 9.5″ radius, 20 medium jumbo frets and a four-ply brown shell pickguard. Price: £4,899/$5,100.
Perhaps the most intriguing of the lot, Vintage Custom represent early, “almost prototypical” versions of classic Fender models “before they were refined into their present-day form”. So far, the range only features one guitar, the Vintage Custom 1959 Strat, TCP, featuring Fender’s “Time Capsule” aging package, and combining its original “No Buff” NOS Flash Coat Lacquer finish with Closet Classic hardware.
Other features include a vintage 7.25″-9.5″ compound radius, medium vintage frets, a two-piece select alder body, tinted rift-sawn maple neck with ’59 C-shaped neck profile, 21 medium vintage frets, and Custom Shop hand-wound’59 Strat single-coil pickups with a five-way switch and vintage wiring. Colours include Chocolate Three-Color Sunburst, Faded Aged Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red, and it’s priced at £3,999/$4,175.
For more information on the latest drop, head to Fender Custom Shop.
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