HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 15, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the introduction of its Annual and Prestige collections, as well as additions to the Custom Artist Collection for Jimmy Page and Eric Johnson to the Fender Custom Shop lineup – all debuting at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, Calif.
“At the Fender Custom Shop, we’re known for building dreams, and this year’s lineup of guitars bring to life the unimaginable,” said Mike Lewis, VP of Product Development, Fender Custom Shop. “Guitars from the Fender Custom Shop represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship and creativity at Fender. From our annual collections and artist models – such as Jimmy Page Signature Tele and Limited-Edition Eric Johnson “Virginia” Strat– to one-off showpieces from the world’s most skilled Master Builders, we continue to push the envelope for creativity and innovation in the industry.”
One of those showpieces for 2020 includes a collaboration with animator Chris Schnabel. In collaboration with Fender Custom Shop master builders, Schnabel conceptualised and painted designs for two guitars. Models include the “'50's Telecaster Special" by Master Builder Dale Wilson and “The Conman” from Master Builder Scott Buehl. The concept of the later is based on villain “Captain Carp” from an upcoming book from Schnabel.
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 “Limited Edition” series this year are four models celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Broadcaster and the origins of one of Fender’s most iconic models. In 1950, Fender introduced the Broadcaster, an extremely limited and collectible model that was Fender’s second solid body electric guitar with a truss rod and two pickups. Eventually, the Broadcaster became what players know today as the Telecaster. Teambuilt and masterbuilt in Corona, Calif., 70th Anniversary Broadcaster models are limited to 2020 and will feature a variety of aging options.
In addition to the annual collections, the following make their way into the Fender Custom Shop Artist series lineup. Beginning in 2020, these models will be available at Authorised Custom Shop Dealers. See below for full descriptions; they include:
• Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster® - the ever-popular Jimmy Page signature model (mirrored version) will become a permanent, custom teambuilt model in the Custom Artist Collection.
• Eric Johnson Virginia Stratocaster® - “Virginia” is a rare, modified, sassafras-bodied 1954 Stratocaster (named after a label found inside the pickup routes) that was played on Johnson’s hit song “Cliffs of Dover”. He also wielded it during the recording of the groundbreaking Tones and Ah Via Musicom albums that made him a star beyond guitarist circles. Limited to 50 instruments worldwide and Masterbuilt by Carlos Lopez, the Eric Johnson Virginia Stratocaster is a faithful replica of this magnificent instrument, with a production line model also offered.
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 2020 Prestige Collection models – with one conjured up by each Master Builder; they include:
• Ron Thorn: Fender® Stratocaster® 1 Guitar - $33,000
Acclaimed for building high-performance guitars even before his arrival at Fender, Master Builder Ron Thorn has always loved fast cars. Struck by the similarities in sleek design and high-performance between the Fender Stratocaster guitar and the Saleen® 1 super sports car, Thorn conceived of a one-of-a-kind Stratocaster combining elements of both. The result is the Stratocaster 1. This supercharged guitar is finished in striking Saleen Candy Apple Red. Its hand-laid carbon-fiber body is hollow for super-lightweight, with a roasted alder centre block and a hand-carved maple top. Its quartersawn roasted maple neck has a 12” radius carbon fibre round-lam fingerboard with medium jumbo frets, topped off with a matching carbon fibre headstock overlay. In a special Saleen design touch, the high-output TV Jones™ Power’Tron Plus bridge pickup sits beneath a tinted “rear window,” and the new custom “6-Stack” bridge and handmade Strat 1 tailpiece are brand-new Fender innovations that give the guitar an even more sleek custom look and tone. Further, a custom Strat® 1 pedalboard enhances the player’s “driving” experience with custom volume, tone and wah-wah controls. To complete the set, the Fender Stratocaster 1 also comes with a matching pedal board and will be displayed with a Saleen car at Winter NAMM 2020. *Saleen, Ford, Jaguar, Shelby and TV Jones are trademarks of their respective owners.
• Yuriy Shishkov: Coronation Stratocaster® - $560,000
Yuriy Shishkov’s Coronation Stratocaster is inspired by the Coronation Egg made in 1897 to commemorate the inauguration of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra on an Imperial throne. Given its historical significance, Shishkov says this is the most famous and most valuable egg created and was even a part of a heist plot in the popular movie Oceans 12. The guitar design includes a gold leafed surface with an “on-wood” Guilloche and gilded silver artwork. It also features custom fabricated diamond eagle medallions, along with hundreds of diamonds throughout the instrument. The neck has distinct “trellises” with diamond patterns found on the egg’s “hidden surprise” coach. The Coronation Stratocaster comes with an authentic LTD Edition vintage recreation of the Coronation Egg. After 16 months of work, this has become Shishkov’s “most complicated and intriguing project” to-date, he says.
• John Cruz: Custom Griffin Themed Leather carved and covered 612 Doubleneck Tele® - $75,000
John Cruz’s Custom Griffin Themed Leather carved and covered 612 Doubleneck Tele is a custom-themed guitar that has never been created before. In addition to a 612 Doubleneck feature, the guitar also features painted artwork with a 3D effect. “I wanted to create something that looked beautiful, but also be totally playable and sound amazing,” he says. “This guitar is for anyone who dares to be different.”
• Greg Fessler: Boutique Telecaster - $8,500
Greg Fessler’s Boutique Telecaster celebrates the 70th anniversary of the esteemed model. As he mapped out the concept for the guitar, he was focused on showcasing beautiful figured wood but used in a “boutique” version of a Telecaster.
• Dennis Galuszka: The Argyle Telecaster® - $9,850
Dennis Galuszka’s The Argyle Telecaster was conceived in collaboration with virtuoso Fender painter Jay Nelson. Designed to bring out anyone’s internal hipster, this Telecaster features a sparkle paint job along with an argyle pattern. “We have an amazing in-house painter in Jay and I am a total sucker for sparkle paint jobs and patterns within a sparkle,” he says.
• Todd Krause: Swagger - $9,300
Todd Krause’s Swagger guitar is based on the Fender “Swinger,” but takes on a different name due to the various changes he applied to the model. Krause used roasted figured maple for the neck and gave the headstock the same curves as the body. The guitar also features a full 25.5” scale length, a custom bridge, custom top mount and high output silver foil pickups from Curtis Novak. “This is a great guitar for a Swinger collector or collectors looking for something a little different,” Krause says.
• Carlos Lopez: Sugar Skull Strat® - $36,500
Carlos Lopez’ Sugar Skull Strat is entirely painted by esteemed artist Pamelina. As Lopez created the guitar, the building part was secondary to the painting, which transforms this instrument into a work of art. “When I was an apprentice, I told myself I was going to work with Pamelina when I became a Master Builder. I hope this guitar will remind everyone that we are more than just guitar builders.”
• Kyle McMillin: Vineyard Tele - $9,300
Kyle McMillin’s The Beaulieu Vineyard Tele is made from reclaimed wood from the wine barrels of the vineyard of its namesake. Through the decades, the barrel wood developed a natural red stain from the wine that was made within it. To showcase the old wood and its character, McMillin finished the guitar off with a super thin permalac finish. Unique and elegantly simple, the Telecaster also features cork knobs and tarnished raw hardware, as well as a Twisted Tele neck pickup and a Broadcaster bridge pickup.
• Jason Smith: India Garden Esquire® - $16,000
Jason Smith’s India Garden Esquire is a collaboration with Pyrography artist Madeline Hanlon, whose beautiful, detailed wood burning design is displayed on the guitar. As Smith design his Prestige creation, he pulled inspiration from the 70th Anniversary of the Esquire guitar, as well as floral prints found on tapestries and clothing of India for the artwork. There’s a simplicity to the overall design - from the lack of fretboard markers on the highly figured birdseye neck, to the single pickup and simplistic volume and tone control layout.
• Paul Waller: Carved Top Telecaster - $9,500
Paul Waller’s Carved Top Telecaster is a semi-hollow, double “F” hole Telecaster made from swamp ash and a book matched quilted maple top. The custom-made Curtis Novak P-90 style pickups are covered in tortoise, which is accentuated by the tortoise double bound body. The roasted AA flame neck wears a flat lam Indian rosewood board and holds 22 - 6105 frets. It’s easily navigated with a mid-sized oval “C” shaped neck. The guitar’s colour is a hand mixed teal transparent with a slight burst covered in NOS lacquer. Gold hardware completes the package of this custom one-off.
• Dale Wilson: Tamo Ash Esquire - $8,550
Dale Wilson’s Tamo Ash Esquire was inspired by a piece of Tamo Ash wood he saved years ago for a special project. “The figuring on this piece of Tamo Ash was incredible, and I’m a sucker for a Honey Burst paint job,” he says. Wilson was determined to showcase the beauty and simplicity of the Fender Esquire with this showpiece.
Finally, Fender will also debut five Fender Custom Shop amplifiers, which include:
Custom Shop ‘57 DeluxeTM, Hangar One, 120V - $9,000
A one-of-a-kind amplifier with a cabinet crafted from old-growth redwood that was reclaimed from Hangar One on Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. The rear panel includes laser-cut artwork commemorating a vision of the colossal 1930s blimp hangar and an airborne Navy dirigible in flight. The hand-wired and tweaked 5E3 deluxe chassis complements the highly seasoned, lightly sealed wood enclosure with a Celestion Blue driver for superb tone and appearance. Only one unit available; for 120 Volt regions only.
Custom Shop ‘57 DeluxeTM, Rustic Big Boy 15, 120V - $6,000
The ‘57 Deluxe “Big Boy” 15 amplifier takes the time-honored Tweed Deluxe formula and bumps up the tone with a 15-inch guitar speaker - the mighty Fender®/Eminence® Special Design 15. To tighten up the extra-fat bass response, we’ve tweaked the Fender “yellow” tone capacitor values for more refined attack and twang. The resonant, lightweight premium pine cabinet is stained black, hand-sanded for an eye-grabbing “rustic grain” appearance and lightly clear-coated. Only 25 units will be built for the world.
Custom Shop ‘57 Custom Twin – 120V- $10,000
This Fender Custom Shop amplifier built by Master Builder Jim Dolmage is constructed with pine and custom painted metal flake finish by Cam Fury of Fury in Kolor. Sold as a set with matching guitar built by Master Builder Ron Thorn. Features include a cabinet built with kiln dried sugar pine, hand selected from quarter sawn lumber free of knots and defects; all-tube classic 5E8A circuitry, based on the hand wired 57 Custom Twin with 40 Watts of power; Fender Pure Vintage yellow capacitors; Mercury Magnetics transformers; and two 12AY7 preamp tubes; Twin 12” Eminence Special Design alnico speakers.
Fender Masterbuilt Dynamite Box Amplifier – 120V- $9,000
The Fender Amp Custom Shop advises you to stand back, because its newest musical munition—the Masterbuilt Dynamite Box Amplifier—packs quite a punch into a small but powerful amp armament. Its rare reclaimed 1920s-era wooden cabinet once transported real explosives made by the Trojan Powder Company of Allentown, Pa., and Roberts Landing, Calif., for use by the military and in the mining and dam-building industries. Designed and crafted by Amp Custom Shop Master Builder Shawn Greene, the well-worn century-old cabinet houses single 6” and 8” Jensen® alnico speakers for unique full-frequency tonality, powered by hand-wired ’57 Champ circuitry (5 watts at 4 ohms) with hand-selected components. With distressed grille, a pine control panel fashioned from the cabinet’s own chassis cut-out, hand-aged hardware and silkscreened Trojan logo and other labeling, it’s a one-of-a-kind item of stylish sonic ammo ideal for living room and studio alike.
Masterbuilt Princeton Stars N Stripes – 120V - $10,000
This Fender Custom Shop amplifier was conceived and developed by Master Builder Jim Dolmage. It is constructed with beautiful hand selected tone woods from our “private stash.” This is a one of a kind amplifier built to celebrate the release of our hand wired ‘64 Custom Princeton Reverb amp. Other features include a cabinet built with smoked and roasted ash in alternating vertical stripes, with reclaimed walnut and maple star inlays on the sides; chamfered “diamond cut” flame maple trim; all tube hand-wired circuitry based on the ‘64 Custom Princeton Reverb amp; Celestion G12H30 speaker squeezed in for a rich, full bodied sound; Tube-driven tremolo and long-spring reverb; and the wood was hand-sanded and treated with 8 coats of oil for a luminous natural finish.
2020 Annual Collections Include:
• Artisan Koa Stratocaster®
• Artisan Maple Burl Stratocaster®
• Artisan Spalted Maple Stratocaster®
• Artisan Koa P-90 Telecaster®
• Artisan Maple Burl P-90 Telecaster®
• Artisan Flame Maple P-90 Telecaster®
• Vintage Custom 1950 Pine Esquire®
• Vintage Custom 1968 Telecaster® Thinline
• American Custom Telecaster® MN
• American Custom Stratocaster® RW
• American Custom Stratocaster® MN
• 1956 Stratocaster® Relic®
• 1960 Stratocaster® Heavy Relic®
• 1964 Stratocaster® Journeyman Relic®
• 1970 Stratocaster® Journeyman Relic®
• 1957 Telecaster® Journeyman Relic®
• 1961 Telecaster® Relic®
• 1964 Tele® Custom Heavy Relic®
• 1962 Jaguar® Journeyman Relic®
• 1965 Jazzmaster® Relic®
• 1957 Precision Bass® Journeyman Relic®
• 1960 Jazz Bass® Heavy Relic®
• 1966 Jazz Bass® Journeyman Relic®
• 1963 Bass VI Journeyman Relic®
• Limited Edition ‘70s Tele® Custom Journeyman Relic®
• Limited Edition 70th Anniversary Broadcaster
• Limited Edition ’60s Telecaster® Thinline Journeyman Relic®
• Limited Edition ’58 Special Strat® Journeyman Relic®
• Limited Edition ’60s HS Tele® Custom Heavy Relic®
• Limited Edition Double Esquire® Custom Relic®
• Limited Edition ’72 Tele® Thinline Heavy Relic®
2020 artist models include:
Eric Johnson Virginia Stratocaster® Guitar – £8099.00
In 1988 renowned tone savant Eric Johnson made his debut on Austin City Limits, delivering an electrifying performance that ultimately catapulted “Cliffs of Dover” to #5 on the Billboard Top 100. “Virginia,” a rare, modified, sassafras-bodied 1954 Stratocaster (named after a label found inside the pickup routes) powered this career-defining moment. He also wielded it during the recording of the groundbreaking Tones and Ah Via Musicom albums that made him a star beyond guitarist circles.
Limited to 50 instruments worldwide and Masterbuilt by Carlos Lopez, the Eric Johnson Virginia Stratocaster is a 1:1 replica of this magnificent instrument, one that could only be born in the Dream Factory. Every intricacy of Johnson’s original was reproduced in painstaking detail by Lopez. From the single Graph Tech® String Saver saddle on the high E to the flat washer on the output jack and specially cut nut, he left no stone unturned in his quest—even going so far as to match the actual pot values and removing one spring from the rear cavity. Featuring a Deluxe Closet Classic finish package, this guitar wears a lightly checked lacquer finish, matched to Closet Classic hardware, giving it a well-loved, slightly aged look. The offset-seam, two-piece body is crafted from tight-grained sassafrass, which adds a “round” note to the instrument’s voice. The AAAA flame maple neck features a “V”-shaped profile that comfortably fills the hand and hosts a 12” radius maple fingerboard with 21 jumbo frets. Custom, hand-wound “Virginia” neck and middle pickups, matched to a fat-sounding DiMarzio HS2 humbucking bridge pickup powers this guitar’s voice. This trio of pickups are connected by custom wiring and a 5-way pickup switch which places the pickup pair in-phase in switch position two and out-of-phase in position four, unlocking his singing, violin-like tone for you to enjoy. Other features include single-ply Eggshell pickguard, vintage-style EJ synchronized tremolo assembly, vintage-style tuning machines, American Vintage string tree with nylon spacer and as a special touch, a piece of masking tape inside the control route labelled ‘Virginia’. Includes custom pure nickel string set for vintage-informed tone, deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.
Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster® – £4449.00
The Fender Custom Shop Custom Artist collection Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster® is a faithful recreation of the guitar Jimmy Page played in the early days of Led Zeppelin and used on the band’s groundbreaking debut album. The Telecaster guitar was a gift from Jeff Beck, Page’s predecessor, in seminal U.K. psychedelic blues-rock outfit the Yardbirds. Page promptly “consecrated” the guitar—a 1959 model with a white blonde finish and rosewood fingerboard—by applying eight round mirrors to it in order to, in his own words “make it sort of almost kinetic” and “a channeling vehicle for music.” Page used the Telecaster for all the electric guitar work on eponymous 1969 album Led Zeppelin, one of the most acclaimed and influential debut albums in rock history.
True to the original, the Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster has a two-piece ash body with off-center seam, with an eight-hole pickguard and Journeyman Relic lacquer finish. The tinted maple neck has a custom Jimmy Page 1959 profile, topped by a flat-lam rosewood fingerboard with a 7.25” radius and vintage-upgrade frets. The two hand-wound 1958 Telecaster pickups have three-way switching with modern wiring. Other features include a top-load/string-through-body Telecaster bridge with threaded steel saddles, vintage-style tuning machines, and bone nut. Includes deluxe hardshell case, custom strap, custom mirror kit, coil cable and Certificate of Authenticity.
For additional information on new Fender products or to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com or www.fendercustomshop.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender and @FenderCustomShop.