2017 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Fender Custom Shop, and for that occasion, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and its guitar luthiery pioneers have reunited for 2017 Fender Custom Shop Founders Design: eight guitars, each designed by one of eight visionary Founding Master Builders who kick-started the iconic Custom Shop – known as the “dream factory.”
One of the most exclusive and coveted collections in the Shop’s history, only 30 units of each design will be built by a team of artisans at Fender Custom Shop in Corona, Calif. and released throughout 2017.
The monthly rollout will begin with designs by legendary founding fathers that shaped the Custom Shop legacy, Michael Stevens and John Page in March and April – respectively – followed by creations from Founding Master Builders George Blanda, Fred Stuart, J.W. Black, Mark Kendrick, Alan Hamel and Gene Baker. Thanks to the passion, commitment and unique legacy of these Founding Master Builders who built the Custom Shop from the ground up over 30 years – it has become widely recognized as a leading epicenter of creativity and craftsmanship in the music industry, and the best Fender has to offer.
ecognizing the invaluable contribution the original Founding Master Builders have made to the luthier’s art and guitar history, Fender asked each to unleash their imagination and design their dream guitar, with no limits. Alternative tone woods, hand-wound custom pickups, hybrid designs—anything they could dream up was fair game. Along the way, legendary rock and roll photographer and partner at the Morrison Hotel Gallery Henry Diltz, who’s photographed Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix and countless rock royalty, captured these illustrious instruments and their creators through his lens. In addition to Diltz’ photography, Fender will curate the captivating stories of these Founding Master Builders in a documentary film highlighting Fender Custom Shop’s roots. The Founders Design series ranges from approximately $5,450.00 – $8,400.00 and will be rolled out throughout the year at select Authorized Showcase dealers.
In addition to Founders Design, a host of Fender Custom Shop 30th anniversary products are planned throughout 2017, including the 30th anniversary-themed Prestige Series, also debuting at Winter NAMM, as well as the 2017 Collection and Custom Team-Built guitars, including: the Artisan, Time Machine and Postmodern Series; Limited Edition Collection, Telecaster®, Precision Bass® and HLE Strat – the very first special run by the Custom Shop; and Eric Clapton Journeyman Relic® Signature Strats, which mirror current Clapton model specs, but with all lacquer Journeyman Relic finish over an ash body. All Fender Custom Shop guitars created in 2017 will feature the 30th anniversary logo, making each handcrafted instrument an essential piece for any collection.