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Fender Custom Shop

Fender Custom Shop was established in 1987 with the intent to create instruments of peerless accuracy, detail, and quality -- and with a few personal flourishes to set them apart from the mass-produced ranges that dominate the guitar market. The shop has over 50 master craftspersons who do limited production runs and custom one-offs in collaboration with specific artists.

Examples of these include "redneck jazz" guitarist Danny Gatton's signature Telecaster, and Kurt Cobain's mutant splicing of the Jaguar and Mustang: the Jag-Stang. Both of these guitars would end up getting limited production runs. Other examples of players who had guitars designed for them by the Custom Shop include David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck.

Jeff Beck's Tribute Esquire features "relic" treatment, where an instrument is 'weathered' with varying degrees of wear, modifications, and abuse. Stevie Ray Vaughan has a similarly beat-up tribute to his well-used Stratocaster. Such guitars are crafted by hand by a single luthier rather than on an assembly line. Fender denotes these guitars as "Master Built," and it's the highest recognition of quality you can come by with a Fender instrument.

Photo credit: Eric Parks

Man installing pickups on a Fender Strat.
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