A one-of-a-kind 1985 Fender Performer with a maple fretboard is set to go up for auction

The guitar is thought to be a prototype for the production model Fender sought to disrupt the Superstrat market with in the ’80s.


Image: Gardiner Holgate

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A super-rare 1985 Fender Performer – possibly the only one in existence to feature a maple fingerboard – is about to go under the hammer.

A far cry from the aesthetics of a typical Fender electric guitar, the Performer – not to be confused with the company’s modern Performer series – was the brainchild of former Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Page.

It was built for only one year, with the intention of tapping into the emerging Superstrat market, which was blossoming in the ’80s thanks to the rise of heavy metal music.

According to auction house Gardiner Houlgate, the guitar is the only 1985 Fender Performer thought to exist with a maple board. John Page suggests that it may have been a prototype before the Japanese-made production model with a rosewood fingerboard came out.

As the auction is not taking place until 5 and 6 September, there is limited information about the axe in question, but we do know that the instrument features a Fender System I tremolo and an Emerald Mist colourway.

For updates on the auction – including estimated prices and the time it goes live – you can head over to Gardiner Houlgate.

In more auction news, Kurt Cobain’s pick he used during the Nevermind era was sold last week for over $14,000.

The heavily used pick had been signed by Cobain with the purposeful misspelling of ‘Kurdt Kobain’ scrawled in marker pen on one side, and there’s also a doodled ‘tortoise’ in place of the original logo on the other side.

According to Guitar World, the pick was acquired on Friday 6 April, 1990, which marked the end of the week that Nirvana spent demoing Nevermind tracks at Butch Vig’s Smart Studios – including the version of Polly that would make the final album – making chances very high that the pick was used during those sessions.

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