Fender Custom Shop

There are very few other groups of guitar builders that possess the mystique of the Fender Custom Shop. Years of studying and repairing vintage Fender Guitars have granted the master luthiers profound insights into what makes their guitars sing. The classics are classics for a reason, so if you’re looking for an extraordinary butterscotch Telecaster, or an elegant sunburst Stratocaster, they’ve got you covered. On top of that, they’ve unveiled some subtly (and some not so subtly) postmodern axes that brilliantly expand on tradition. As always, fit and feel are essential, so they offer a wide range of specs and relicing options, ranging from “journeyman” to “heavy”. These are more than just instruments, these are custom shop Fender Guitars hand-built by some of the best in the game. The custom shop is free and encouraged to take their favorite branches from the Fender family tree and graft them onto something totally new.

7 of 7 Items
7 of 7 Items

The Origin of Fender Custom Shop

In 1965 Leo Fender sold his company to CBS, and the quality of the instruments declined. With the exception of a few cool new models, most of the changes made during this period were implemented to save money. In 1984, the company began its triumphant return to grace when its employees rallied together under their CEO, Bill Schulz, and purchased the company back from CBS.

Although they needed to continue large-scale production in order to stay viable, the new leadership wanted a division dedicated to honoring the precise attention to detail that initially distinguished their guitars. In 1987, the Fender Custom Shop was founded. Some of their first builds were for sponsored artists. Former Master builder, John Suhr, made a tweed twin for Eric Clapton. They built a tele for Danny Gatton. Before long, many of these signature models were made available to the general public along with other unique interpretations and configurations of their classic designs. The Custom Shop came to function as Fender’s R&D department, constantly experimenting and innovating. For luthiers, it also came to represent the pinnacle of solid-body guitar luthiers. What started as a duo of master builders has expanded into a team of 11, each with thousands of instruments already under their belts. The Custom Shop is like the NASA of Rock & Roll. They employ the brightest minds, keenest eyes, sharpest ears, and most dexterous fingers they can find. As a result, a custom shop fender is one of the most coveted 6-strings in the world.

The Origin of Fender

Fender Musical Instruments evolved out of a humble radio repair shop run by Leo Fender and his partner Clayton Orr “Doc” Kaufman, a former employee of Rickenbacker. In addition to fixing tube radios, They had been commissioned on occasion to construct PA systems for local dance halls. This experience, combined with the growing popularity of electric Hawaiian lap steel guitars, led them to begin experimenting with their own amplifiers and pickups. Over the course of many experiments and designs, K&F created a “pick-up” test rig that, rather than being a retro-fitted arch-top or lap-steel, boasted key qualities of each. This hunk of solid, resonant yet feedback-resistant wood featured a neck that you could fret, and it soon became so popular with clients that they began asking to borrow the “test-rig” for gigs. Clearly they were on to something. Leo decided to refine the instrument with the intention of combining the volume and metallic intensity of the lap-steel with the versatility and general aesthetic of a traditional, “Spanish”-style guitar. Doc wasn’t comfortable venturing into such uncharted waters, so Leo embarked alone, and Fender Electrical Musical Instrument Company was born.

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