NAMM 2019: Fender Custom Shop reveals Prestige collection and Masterbuilt amps
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the introduction of its Annual and Prestige collections, as well as the addition of the long-time Artist Signature series Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster and Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster to the Fender Custom Shop lineup – all debuting at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, Calif.
Each year, an Annual Collection of models are conceived and created in the Fender Custom Shop to showcase the latest innovations and developments—everything from pickup design, wiring and finish processes, to wood combinations and more. “The Annual Collections give our Master Builders and Fender Custom Shop Teambuilt craftspeople a chance to experiment with new ideas,” said Mike Lewis, VP of Product Development at Fender Custom Shop. “There’s a reason everyone in the guitar world calls Fender Custom Shop ‘The Dream Factory.’ We create guitars players never thought were possible, and continue to step up our game, surprising them with something new each year.”
Annual Teambuilt collections making their debut at Winter NAMM are the Limited Edition, Time Machine, Postmodern and Vintage Custom; in its second year, the Vintage Custom Series celebrates beloved Fender classics and unearths truly unique rarities, such as the flat-lam slab maple cap fingerboard on the Vintage Custom `62 Strat®. Joining the Teambuilt collections is Masterbuilt Custom, which features Masterbuilt designs – all made-to-order for dealers.
In addition to the annual collections, the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster and Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster both make their way into the Fender Custom Shop Artist Signature series lineup after a long run in Fender’s production line. Beginning 2019, both models will be available at Authorized Custom Shop Dealers. See below for full descriptions.
Also debuting at Winter NAMM 2019 is the 2019 Prestige Collection, featuring one-of-a-kind Masterbuilt guitars and basses from the Custom Shop’s most-esteemed Master Builders. “Our Fender Custom Shop Master Builders continue to amaze players with the unique talent and creativity they pour into the annual Prestige Collection,” Lewis said. “In the last year, we’ve added two new Master Builders at the Shop – Ron Thorn and Kyle McMillin, who have added new twists and flavors to our lineup.”
Fender Custom Shop’s 11 innovative Prestige Collection models – with one conjured up by each Master Builder – include:
Paul Waller: Building Block Strat®
Paul Waller’s Building Block Strat® guitar is made of toy building bricks. Paul Waller has toyed with the idea of making a guitar like since his buzz-worthy Cardboard Strat was released in 2015. “I love working with different materials to create guitars that are extremely unique,” Waller said. “LEGO® was a huge part of my youth, and undoubtedly had a huge impact on my career path.” Features include handmade hardware that emulates traditional brick pieces, only made of materials suitable for guitar construction. The vibrant traditional colours of toy building bricks work so well in blending the two mediums. “This guitar will appeal to the young at heart,” he said. “Most guitar players feel a connection to their youth, cranking out sounds of past experiences. For me, music is emotion in the form of a sound wave that carries us through a feeling. The fact that you can ride the emotion on a toy, provides a fun aspect to the emotion, bringing a smile to face of everyone who plays it.” Two guitars will be made with two matching amps masterbuilt by Jim Dolmage – dubbed the Building Block Deluxe Amp. This is a one-of-a-kind showpiece built on the framework of a ’57 Custom Deluxe amplifier. Thousands of toy bricks were painstakingly arranged to approximate the look of Fender’s iconic tweed-covered amplifiers. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this project or product. Guitars and amps are not for sale.
Jason Smith: Luna Y Sol – £10,899.00
Jason Smith’s Luna Y Sol is a custom Precision Bass® inspired by his meeting with artist Madeline Hanlon at last year’s Winter NAMM show. Hanlon is known for her artistic style of wood burning, which was integrated into the Mexican folk art sun and moon design. Smith’s favorite aspect of the bass is its overall aesthetic appeal – from the detailed wood-burned image and thematic red coral inlays to the rich, warm wood tones, smooth blend of colours and the feel of the satin lacquer topcoat. “This bass feels amazingly comfortable, has a nice medium weight, and the sound of the Josefina Campos overwound pickups just gives the player a sonic experience like a P-Bass® on steroids,” Smith said. “This bass just seems to have it all, style, class, and tone!”
Dennis Galuszka: Hawaiian Fish Hook Telecaster® – £14,599.00
Dennis Galuszka’s Hawaiian Fish Hook Telecaster was inspired by Galuszka’s love of Hawaiian culture, where his in-laws are from. The Telecaster features a vintage pickup and rope binding on the hook – the first of its kind on a guitar. “I wanted to build something masculine and tough-looking, but still simple,” Galuszka said. “This instrument is for players that feel in charge when they walk on stage with a minimalist guitar.”
Dale Wilson: Spalted Maple Telecaster – £6,599.00
Dale Wilson’s Spalted Maple Telecaster was inspired by a singular piece of wood and unique acoustic vibe of Fender Custom Shop Founding Master Builder Fred Stuart’s Founders Design Herringbone Telecaster. The guitar features a Violin Burst that highlights the beauty of the spalted maple top, herringbone binding and P90 pickups in conjunction with a handwound Josephina Broadcaster pickup. Ideal for any player or collector who appreciates exotic wood guitars with a wide range of tones, the Spalted Maple Telecaster makes its debut at Winter NAMM 2019.
Todd Krause: Goldfish Stratocaster – £12,849.00
Todd Krause’s Goldfish Stratocaster was inspired by two guitars he previously built for NAMM, a Trout guitar and Weiner Dog Stratocaster, with the two ideas colliding into one. The guitar features inlay work from Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn and detailed goldfish-inspired artwork by Sarah Gallenberger.
Greg Fessler: Battle of Missionary Ridge Tele® – £9,349.00
Greg Fessler’s Battle of Missionary Ridge Tele was inspired by the famous Civil War battle fought November 25, 1863 near Chatanooga, Tennessee. The wood tells a unique story and was sourced from Capital Park, which is located alongside the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif. In 1897, The Daughters of the Army of the Grand Republic donated several saplings that were gathered from major battlefields of the Civil War and carefully transplanted into the rich California soil as a lasting memorial to those who lost their lives in the war. Those trees reside in an area of Capitol Park called “Memorial Grove.” This guitar is made from wood derived from tree No. 125, which was removed due to heart rot and instability of limbs. The tree and its memory live on in this exemplary Telecaster guitar.
John Cruz: Exotic Thinline Stratocaster – £11,299.00
John Cruz’s Exotic Thinline Stratocaster uses beautiful exotic hardwoods with character as well as a custom inlay design. The orientation of the Claro walnut combined with the Inlay scheme help glorify the natural beauty of this wood. Ideal for players and collectors that appreciate breathtaking hardwoods, this guitar combines ultimate playability, a classic body shape and the feel of a Fender Stratocaster.
Yuriy Shishkov: Silence – £45,899.00
Yuriy Shishkov’s Silence Stratocaster is an abstract art guitar piece with watercolour painting, silver cloisonné, rubies, diamonds and sapphires. It can be viewed from 360 degrees, and Shishkov encourages those witnessing it to create their own “meaning” as an observer.
Ron Thorn: Coronado Antigua Burst – £15,549.00
Ron Thorn’s Coronado is his fresh take on the classic Coronado model using a laminated/pressed arch top and back with an alder rim and center block. Custom-made pickups were designed specifically for this guitar, while the RSD J-Bridge and tailpiece round out the hardware. A unique dove-tail bolt-on neck joint, tilt-back headstock, and a variety of other refinements make this a finely crafted instrument worthy of the “Custom Shop’s Finest” designation.
Kyle McMillin: The Exotic Hybrid – £6,599.00
Kyle McMillin’s The Exotic Hybrid was inspired by a design he made in his garage nine years ago. “I made some minor changes that I wish I had done back then, and also redesigned the guitar to incorporate Fender’s traditional body shape and headstock,” McMillin said. The guitar features a Stratocaster body and Telecaster headstock; a directly mounted TB4 humbucking pickup; and a custom control configuration designed so the switch is out of the way when strumming. “In the past, I would accidentally hit the selector switch on a Stratocaster while playing,” he said. “In this design, the switch is still within the swing of your arm’s reach, but just a little further from your standard strumming region, so you can’t accidentally bump the switch.” The Exotic Hybrid is ideal for players who love an exotic look and variation on Fender’s traditional designs.
Scott Buehl: Prestige Frosted Duco Tele® – £8,549.00
There are many compelling features about this Tele starting with the Red frosted duco lacquer finish. Duco finishes were first made popular in the 1930s. As the duco paint dries, it crystalizes and creates a stunning look. The guitar hosts an alder body, mahogany neck, original Blackguard Tele (bridge) and a TV Jones Classic Filtertron® (neck) pickups. There is an RSD Tele bridge and Schaller® M6 mini tuning machines for ultimate stability and intonation. Buehl added a custom clear pickguard to allow the duco finish to shine through. All these features together create a classic Tele with a host of never-before-seen features.
Finally, Fender will also debut three unique amplifiers and respective sets:
One of A Kind Walnut Double Champ Amplifier 120V – £9,699.00
Masterbuilt by Shawn Greene, this amp is one-of-a-kind featuring all-solid walnut construction, hand-rubbed oil finish. It also acts as musical furniture or an end table for use in the living room or studio. The amp also includes a ’57 Champ circuit; hand-wired with Fender “yellow” tone caps; two custom Celestion G8 speakers for “double champ” performance; and a slotted walnut grille. It’s backed by “sound suede” grill cloth and has a tasteful black ebony feather inlay on top corner.
`64 Deluxe Tiki – £5,849.00
Light those patio torches and grab that Strat, because the Fender Amp Custom Shop has combined the exotic spirit of the South Sea islands with a sonic slice of Fender history in the gorgeous form of the ’64 Deluxe Tiki amplifier. Elegantly designed and crafted by Amp Custom Shop Master Builders Shawn Greene and Jim Dolmage, the amp’s rustic select-pine cabinet is beautifully laser-etched with stylized Polynesian Tiki imagery inspired by the work of Fender designer Mike Whelan. The amp also features “torched” wood-burnt cabinet edges, hand-wired `64 Deluxe Reverb circuitry, a single 12” Celestion® Cream speaker and a Custom Shop logo on the back. This unusually distinctive one-of-a-kind amp is paired with a matching Tiki Stratocaster guitar that will have you soloing over “My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua” in no time (if you can after all that rum punch).
`64 Deluxe Kraken – £5,849.00
From the bottomless creative depths of the Fender Amp Custom Shop comes a most unusual one-of-a-kind piece combining perhaps the most fearsome of all fabulous sea beasts with a classic sonic slice of Fender history—the ’64 Deluxe Kraken amplifier. Elegantly designed and crafted by Amp Custom Shop Master Builders Shawn Greene and Jim Dolmage, the amp’s rustic select-pine cabinet features exquisitely laser-etched imagery (inspired by the work of Fender designer Mike Whelan) depicting a deep-sea diver of old in truly dire straits—entangled in the formidable tentacles of the enormous Norwegian sea monster that once struck stark terror into the hearts of seafarers everywhere: The Kraken. The amp also features “torched” wood-burnt cabinet edges, hand-wired ’64 Deluxe Reverb circuitry, a single 12” Celestion® cream speaker and a Fender Custom Shop logo on the back. This unusually distinctive one-off amp is paired with a matching Kraken Telecaster guitar with which you can explore untold musical depths.
Fender Custom Shop models will be available at local dealers and on www.fendercustomshop.com throughout 2019 and beyond. Select product images can be accessed here.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.
2019 Annual Collections Include:
Vintage Custom ’57 Strat®
Vintage Custom ’62 Stratocaster®
Vintage Custom ’58 Telecaster
Vintage Custom 1958 JazzmasterPostmodern:
2019 Postmodern Strat® Maple – Journeyman Relic®
2019 Postmodern Strat® Rosewood – Journeyman Relic®
2019 Postmodern Tele® – Journeyman Relic®
2019 Postmodern Bass – Journeyman Relic®Time Machine:
1959 Heavy Relic® Stratocaster®
1965 Journeyman Relic® Stratocaster®
1967 Stratocaster® Rosewood Relic®
1952 Telecaster® Relic®
1956 Telecaster® Journeyman Relic®
1965 Custom Telecaster® Relic®
1959 Jazzmaster® Rosewood Journeyman
1964 Jaguar® Lush Closet Classic
1960 Precision Bass® Heavy Relic®
1961 Jazz Bass® Heavy Relic®Limited Edition:
Limited Edition Roasted Pine Double Esquire® Relic®
Limited Edition Big Head Strat® Rosewood Journeyman Relic®
Limited Edition Roasted Tomatillo Strat® Relic®
Limited Edition Roasted Tomatillo Strat® Rosewood Relic®
Limited Edition Thinline Loaded Nocaster Relic®
Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster – £3,949.00 (Available January 2019)
If there were a Mount Rushmore of Stratocaster Masters, Stevie Ray Vaughan would be one of the greats enshrined there. Almost single-handedly responsible for the electric blues revival of the 80s and 90s, he used his beloved Strat® to blaze his way to the top of the charts. Only the artisans at the Custom Shop could craft this guitar that Vaughan co-designed with us before his untimely passing. It’s one of the most revered guitars in the world, and we’re proud to make it a permanent addition to the Custom Artist Collection. SRV heavily modified his Strat to match his energetic, yet controlled, playing style. We included a trio of hot, high-output Custom Shop Hand-Wound Texas Special pickups for fiery, authentically Fender tone that’s as big as the Lone Star state. As an homage to his personal hero, Jimi Hendrix (who’s also been known to pick up a Strat) SRV used a left-handed vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge on his guitar, allowing him to work the tremolo arm with his elbow—a modification we cheerfully recreated. The two-piece body is crafted from alder selected for its weight and grain, and its NOS lacquer finish will age and wear in a distinctly personal way, just like the original. The tinted riftsawn maple neck has an “Oval C” profile that’s slightly thinner on the treble side, making it easier to bend those strings into the stratosphere—a precise recreation of his favorite guitar’s neck profile. Other features include 5-way pickup switching, vintage-style wiring, 3-ply Black “SRV” pickguard, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut and round string tree. Includes deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.
Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster® – £4249.00 (Available January 2019)
Nobody brings the fury to the fingerboard like Yngwie J Malmsteen, the legendary guitarist who single-handedly invented the neo-classical shred genre on his modified Vintage White Stratocaster. As only the artisans at the Custom Shop can do, we co-designed this guitar with Malmsteen, constantly refining the design until he loved it, right down to the special pickups and the distinctively scalloped fingerboard. Originally released in 1988, the Yngwie Malmsteeen Stratocaster was one of the first official Fender signature instruments, and we’re proud to add this Custom Shop model as a permanent part of the Custom Artist Collection. Balancing dynamic response and articulation, the custom Seymour Duncan® YJM Fury single-coil pickups are voiced for their positions, reinforcing each other to create a high-performance, responsive set of pickups. The two-piece select alder body wears a NOS lacquer finish with WLS undercoat while the tinted maple neck sports a “Custom C”-shaped profile that’s designed for fleet-fingered playing. Not just for shredders, the 9.5”-radius fingerboard is scalloped, just like Malmsteen’s original, which provides more control along with enhancing your ability to bend and manipulate notes. Combining the vintage-inspired style of a “big” headstock, vintage bridge and “F”-stamped tuning machines with player-oriented enhancements like 21 super-jumbo frets, brass nut and special strap locks drilled into the guitar for extra security, this instrument will bring new life and ideas to any player’s music. Other features include 5-way pickup switch, vintage-style wiring, 3-ply Eggshell pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge and wing string tree with metal spacer. Includes Yngwie Malmsteen Signature .008-.046 light gauge electric guitar strings, deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.
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