Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and the Fender Custom Shop today announced the introduction of its Annual and Prestige collections, as well as a Limited Edition Artist Model for Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready to its 2021 lineup – all which debuted at the 2021 Fender Custom Shop Online Dealer event this month.
“For Fender’s 75th anniversary, we’re proud to debut some of the Shop’s most-innovative and bespoke creations to-date,” said Mike Lewis, Vice President of Product Development at the Fender Custom Shop. ”From our annual collections and Custom-Built limited edition models, to one-off showpieces created by our esteemed master builders, the Shop is the pinnacle of creativity and innovation for the brand. Our guitars have never looked or sounded better than they do today.”
2021 NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONS
ARTIST SIGNATURE MODELS
In true tradition, the Fender® artist models honor iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. In 2021, Fender will honor guitar trailblazer Mike McCready, lead guitarist of Pearl Jam with his own model in the Fender Custom Shop artist series lineup. This model will be available at Authorized Custom Shop Dealers in Spring 2021 and include:
● Limited Edition Mike McCready 1960 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster® ($15,000 USD, £13,399, €14,999, $21,999 AUD, ¥1,750,000 JPY) Available April 2021 – Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready has earned his place among the giants of rock ‘n’ roll guitar. Best known for playing a ’59 Strat® guitar, his searing leads are steeped in blues and classic rock reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. His peerless work on hits, including “Yellow Ledbetter”, “Even Flow”, “Nothing As It Seems” and countless others, helped pave the way for Pearl Jam’s 2017 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. McCready’s guitar work in Seattle supergroups Temple of the Dog and Mad Season also featured instantly recognizable Strat riffs, such as those heard on “Hunger Strike” and “River of Deceit”. Inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan, McCready set out early on to acquire his own ’59 Strat, and, serendipitously, with his first ever vintage guitar purchase, he found “the one” that has been his primary Fender instrument ever since. Now some 28 years later, McCready’s iconic Strat can be heard featured on tracks “Superblood Wolfmoon” and “Dance Of The Clairvoyants” from Pearl Jam’s most recent studio LP, Gigaton.
In this first-time collaboration between Fender and McCready, the Fender Custom Shop is honored to re-create this incredible instrument in exact detail, and in doing so a long held secret about the guitar’s lineage was forced to be revealed to its owner: the Strat was actually constructed in 1960, not 1959 as had long been believed. For this limited 60-piece Masterbuilt run, the Custom Shop’s Vincent Van Trigt carefully disassembled the guitar in order to note and measure every detail, curve and scratch – and there are plenty of scratches, thanks to McCready’s exuberant style! The recreation features an ultimate Relic® lacquer finish on a two-piece select alder body; a flat-sawn flame maple neck with a 1960 “oval C” profile; and a flat-lam rosewood fingerboard with 21 vintage frets. Custom Josefina hand-wound pickups matched to the originals are connected to a five-way switch and vintage wiring, including a “treble bleed” tone capacitor. Other features include a three-ply vinyl pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo with Callaham bridge block, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut and wing string tree with metal spacer. Includes deluxe hardshell case, strap, polishing cloth, McCready case candy kit and certificate of authenticity.
MASTERBUILT PRESTIGE COLLECTION
Each year, the Fender Custom Shop’s esteemed Master Builders are given a challenge to build a guitar with no boundaries. The result of that creative exercise is the 2021 Prestige Collection models – with one conjured up by each Master Builder. Available beginning March at authorized Fender Custom Shop Showcase Dealers the Prestige Collection includes:
● Yuriy Shishkov: Leaves of Tears ($10,000 USD, £9,399, €10,499, $31,499 AUD, ¥1,584,000 JPY) Built with the luxury taste in mind, Yuriy Shishkov’s Leaves of Tears is a delicate and elegant guitar, another example of Yuri’s alternative inlay and decor approach to a handmade embellishment. It has a “wrapping” silver wire inlay pattern around the body, which delivers little sparks with diamonds and diopside stones on each of its branches. The quilt maple wood is well known for its beauty and one of Yuri’s favorite materials for this type of instrument. The contrast between the hand-stained purple burst and precious stones give this guitar it’s unique look. This guitar ticks the boxes of not only a great playing guitar, but also a unique art piece. Complementary of the exotic and lavish features, this guitar will also play like any other high-quality Stratocaster. Video here.
● Scott Buehl: Acrylic Jazzmaster® ($13,650 USD, £12,849, €14,399, $20,999 AUD, ¥2,167,000 JPY) Scott Buehl’s Acrylic Jazzmaster is his first incarnation of an acrylic guitar in the offset platform. Having built acrylic Strats over the last couple of years, and with increasing requests, Buehl says “it seemed like it was time.” The clear acrylic lends itself to the contours of the Jazzmaster, and having the parts and wiring visible contributes to the look. With acrylic weighing more than wood, Scott employed tactics such as routing the entire pickguard perimeter clear of material which not only shed valuable pounds off the guitar, but also contributed to the seamless design of the clear guitar. Scott described the guitar as “an attention getter and it’s brought a lot of compliments”. Featuring Josefina hand-wound Jazzmaster pickups and an RSD Jazzmaster Bridge, this guitar will play and sound as good as it looks. Video here.
● Dale Wilson: Tapestry Telecaster® ($19,100 USD, £17,999, €20,149, $29,499 AUD, ¥3,028,000 JPY) Dale Wilson’s Tapestry Tele was a collaboration with LA based artist, Pamelina, who had the initial inspiration for this guitar. She brought the idea to Wilson to collaborate on the specifics. He was originally drawn to the idea of Pamelina incorporating the wood into the artwork. Wilson says “I’m always drawn to guitars that have wood as a canvas.” He describes the artwork as “a beautiful combination of scrolls against a backdrop of flame maple with a barely noticeable burst on the edge”. The guitar features a flame top, back and neck and features Josefina hand-wound “OBG” (Bridge) and Twisted Tele (Neck) Pickups. Video here.
● Jason Smith: Custom ‘60s P Bass® Special ($9,400 USD, £8,849, €9,899, $14,499 AUD, ¥1,491,000 JPY) Inspired by the 70th Anniversary of the Precision Bass, Jason Smith’s Custom ‘60s P-Bass Special is a celebration of both the Precision Bass and old western ghost towns. The design of this P Bass was to have early P Bass vibe with modern playability and weathered old western appearance. Featuring a rustic, reclaimed, roasted pine body with nail and bolt holes, the wood has lived a life as an old grain elevator in Minnesota before becoming an instrument. The tooled leather hand painted pickguard gives the instrument a look of elegance paired with the weathered body. The instrument features a Josefina hand-wound PJ pickup set, slightly over-wound for higher output and deeper bass tone. Video here.
● Carlos Lopez: Double Neck Marauder ($20,000 USD, £18,849, €21,099, $30,999 AUD, ¥3,163,000 JPY) Carlos Lopez’ Double Neck Marauder was inspired by the possibility of combining two of Lopez’ favorite guitars: The Electric XII and the Marauder, to create the Double Neck XII Marauder. The guitar was designed in collaboration with Paul Frank, who shares a very similar taste in guitars with Lopez. Speaking about his creation, Lopez said “Love the fact that the 12 string is on the top side, just how it should be.” All pickups on this guitar were designed and built by Curtis Novak, and according to Lopez “the color and feel of the creation just has to be experienced in person.” Designed to appeal to anyone who loves to think outside the box and can appreciate the mystique and obscure guitar such as the Marauder. This model will be featured in a March episode of Fender’s “Dream Factory” series. Video here.
● Kyle McMillin: Custom Burled Redwood Strat® ($10,000 USD, £9,399, €10,499, $15,999 AUD, ¥1,585,000 JPY) Taking inspiration from woodworking and resin art on social media, Kyle McMillin has created the Custom Burled Redwood Strat. Using techniques more associated with furniture and home decor, McMillin has created a truly unique piece. The resin top is a new feature for guitar builders and is one of McMillin’s favorite aesthetic features along with the inlays which ties the look of the guitar together. Flashy and exotic guitars have always been a love of McMillin’s in guitar making. He set out to create something that had never come out of the Custom Shop before. Describing the guitar as “stunning and beautiful in both appearance and sound”, this is one of McMillin’s favorite builds to date. Video here.
● Todd Krause: Box Top Tele® ($11,150 USD, £10,499, €11,749, $17,499 AUD, ¥1,778,000 JPY) Todd Krause’s Box Top Tele is inspired by the construction of an amplifier cabinet. The maple top is inset into the body of the guitar with a box joint, which is a personal highlight for Krause and a technique not often employed in guitar building. The contrasting woods give the appearance of checkered binding, the light honey color shows off the joint and the AAAA Birdseye top. Despite its unique appearance, Krause’s Telecaster still features traditional specs. Someone seeking a different look which delivers a familiar feel, playability and tone of a Telecaster will find this guitar compelling. Pickups are Josefina hand-wound “OBG” in the bridge and ‘55/’56 Tele in the neck. Video here.
● Greg Fessler: Tamo Ash Tele ($8,450 USD, £7,999, €8,949, $12,999 AUD, ¥1,343,000 JPY) Greg Fessler’s Tamo Ash Tele is an exotic take on a classic design. A fan of figured wood, the Prestige collection was the perfect opportunity to use a Tamo Ash top that Greg had been saving for a special occasion. The guitar features the highly figured Tamo top and a flame maple “U”- shaped neck with abalone dots. The Tamo Ash Tele also features Seymour Duncan Vintage P90 pickups, a “Sawed-Off” Vintage-Style Tele Bridge and a Tamo Ash body. This guitar is for the player who likes exotic wood on their guitar and doesn’t want to compromise on tone. Video here.
● Chris Fleming: Jazz Telecaster ($20,450 USD, ¥3,242,000 JPY) Chris Fleming’s Jazz Telecaster is a tribute to Fleming’s love of the art of b-bop style Jazz guitar mixed with a love of the classic Telecaster design. The Jazz Telecaster features a custom designed and machined Fender Jazz Tailpiece, which was designed specifically for this instrument, a Tilted Snake Head headstock, mahogany neck, and Brazilian rosewood fingerboard custom wood appointments. In the true spirit of keeping it functional, simple and elegant, the guitar features a single humbucker pickup and volume control. Simple and clean. The guitar body is semi hollow mahogany, with a tortoiseshell bound spruce top. The goal was to recreate the feel of an archtop guitar with a Telecaster. This is a true one-of-a-kind guitar and is one of a handful of instruments Fleming has made prior to his retirement this year. Video here.
● Vincent Van Trigt: Custom Flamingo Sunset Tele ($16,350 USD, £15,399, €17,249, $25,999 AUD, ¥2,599,000 JPY) Vincent Van Trig took inspiration from a ‘60s cocktail bar by the beach when creating The Flamingo Sunset Telecaster. Based on a ‘60s Telecaster, the guitar features artwork by Ian Ward. After years of parties, jam sessions, salty air and heavy storms, the bar is gone, but the guitar lives on to tell its stories. Designed for the player who likes a one of a kind look with a vintage feel, this guitar features cocktail bar neck inlays, a roasted body and neck and Josefina hand-wound ‘63 Tele Pickups. This guitar is light and resonant; according to Trigt “Ian’s artwork captures exactly the vibe I had in mind”. Video here.
● Paul Waller: Sugar Surprise Strat ($25,250 USD, £23,749, €26,599, $38,999 AUD, ¥4,006,000 JPY) Paul Waller’s Sugar Surprise Strat was inspired by LA based artist, Pamelina, who approached Waller with a project of a guitar that lights up. The idea was to create something that would take on a different feel once illuminated. The Sugar Skull theme of the guitar ties together the idea of artwork having two different looks. What looks like simple and beautiful scrolling art turns into a sugar skull with flowing hair. This guitar will be the envy of any collection, complete with Josefina hand wound pickups. Video here.
● Dennis Galuszka: Custom ‘62 Precision Bass® ($16,150 USD, £15,249, €17,049, $24,999 AUD, ¥2,569,000 JPY) Dennis Galuzska let his inner horror buff contribute to his 2021 Masterbuilt Prestige creation. His love of the look of a dead forest, or even better, a singular dead tree, was the basis for this Precision Bass. Featuring artwork by Pyrography artist, Madeline Hanlin, an otherwise tried and true vintage P-Bass, this bass is form meets function, appealing to anyone who needs that classic P-Bass tone and wants to do it with some serious style. It features the tonal standards of a Fender bass, alder body and maple neck, which also made for the perfect canvas for this form of artwork, while featuring a Josefina hand-wound ‘62 Precision Bass pickup. Video here.
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. Joining the Annual Collections this year is the Masterbuilt Surf Green with Envy Collection, the brainchild of master builders Paul Waller and Ron Thorn. Each Master Builder chose an iconic year to showcase and was challenged to build their own vintage-inspired guitar painted with Fender’s iconic Surf Green finish. The Fender Custom Shop team went as far as adding matching amplifiers, pedals and even a custom painted Gretsch drum kit, which accompanied Master Builder Dennis Galuszka’s ‘63 Esquire® guitar. The collection also includes six amplifiers (sold separately) – both custom built and production line – as well as two matching effects pedals – a Boost and Tremolo – handbuilt by Fender’s Vice President, R&D, Guitars Stan Cotey. Each model in this collection is one-of-a-kind and only sold at authorized Fender Custom Shop showcase dealers in person or online.
Masterbuild Surf Green WIth Envy Collection ($1,250-$17,400, £6,239-£16,399, €6,999-€18,399, $9,299 – $27,999 AUD, ¥518,000-¥1,524,000 JPY)
● ‘63 Esquire® NOS w/ Surf Green Gretsch Drum Set
● ‘72 Tele® Custom NOS
● ‘69 Mustang® NOS
● ‘60 Tele Custom® NOS
● Electric XII NOS
● ‘66 Strat® NOS
● ‘68 Tele Thinline NOS
● ‘68 P-Bass® NOS
● ‘60 Strat® NOS
● ‘65 Jaguar® NOS
● ‘58 Strat® NOS
● ‘55 P-Bass® NOS
● ‘55 Tele® NOS
● ‘65 Jazzmaster® NOS
● Bass Vi® NOS
● ‘64 J Bass NOS
● ‘50’s Electric Mando
● ‘65 Super Surf
● 65 Twin Surf
● 59 Bassman
● 65 Princeton Surf
● ‘64 Deluxe Surf
● ‘64 Princeton® Surf
● Surf Boost
● Surf Tremolo®
Additional 2021 annual collections also include: Artisan Collection, Vintage Custom Collection, American Custom Collection, Time Machine Collection, Limited Edition and Post-Modern Collections.
To learn more about each model, visit the Fender Custom Shop website here. Contact your local authorized Fender Custom Shop dealer for more information.