Fender’s Custom Shop Master Builders have unveiled four of 12 planned one-off custom guitars, inspired by Fender’s ‘student’ models of the 1950s and 1960s, and are being made in celebration of the Fender Play Foundation.
The original student models of old had a number of design quirks, including shorter scale lengths, smaller bodies and often simpler pickup and switching options. The four one-off custom shop guitars being unveiled today include two Stratocasters – one short-scale – and two Musicmasters. The guitars’ sale is in aid of the Fender Play Foundation, supporting its aim to “equip, educate and inspire the next generation of players.”
The Fender Custom Shop’s Principle Master Builder Ron Thorn said of the instruments: “History has proven that many professionals have used the original ‘student’ instruments to great success, and as expected, for this project, each Master Builder has provided their artistic vision and creativity to craft versions that never existed and are true one-offs. Music Masters, Duo-Sonics, short-scale Stratocasters, Mustangs are just a few of the models represented.
“Each is designed from scratch, requiring custom tooling, hardware, and electronics. The Fender Play Foundation first fret inlay used on each designates it as part of this exclusive collection of 12 instruments, one from each Master Builder. These are not your typical Masterbuilt guitars; they are destined to become classics and contribute to the Fender Play Foundation’s worthy cause.”
Greg Fessler: ‘62 Stratocaster, Journeyman Relic’d Blue Ice Metallic finish
This guitar is constructed with a 2-piece alder body and a quartersawn Maple Neck with a flat-laminated rosewood fingerboard. The neck bears a 1960-style oval “C” Back-Shape, while the 9.5-inch radius bears 21 narrow tall (6105) frets.
Electronics include hand-wound Fat 50’s Pickups with a RWRP (reverse-wound reverse-polarity) middle pickup, five-way blade switch and standard Strat ‘blender’ wiring. Hardware includes an American vintage synchronized vibrato and vintage-style tuning machines.
Dennis Galuszka: Musicmaster, ‘New Old Stock’ Copper Sparkle Finish
This Musicmaster is made with a two-piece select alder body and quartersawn maple neck with a round-laminated rosewood fingerboard. The neck has a 1962-style ‘C’ shape and the 9.5-inch radius has 22 medium jumbo frets and pearloid block inlays.
Pickups are a slightly odd combo of a Curtis Novak Tele pickup in the bridge and a Curtis Novak Wide-Range humbucker in the neck. Hardware includes a hardtail Subsonic bridge, vintage-style tuning machines and a bone nut.
The ‘New Old Stock’ designates a finish reminiscent of a perfectly preserved vintage instrument.
Paul Waller: Musicmaster, Relic’d Fiesta Burst
This guitar is made with a two-piece select alder body; with a short 24.75-inch scale flat-sawn maple neck with a round-lam rosewood fingerboard. The neck has a 1965-style “C” shape, while the 9.5-inch radius fretboard has 22 medium jumbo frets. There’s a single CuNiFe Wide-Range humbucker in the neck, controlled by master volume and tone knobs. Hardware consists of a vintage-style Strat hardtail bridge, vintage-style tuning machines and a bone nut.
Carlos Lopez: Short Scale Stratocaster, Closet Classic Oxblood finish
This guitar is made with a two-piece select ash body, with a short-scale 24.75-inch quartersawn maple neck topped with a flat-laminated rosewood fingerboard. The neck has a 1960 style oval ‘C’ shape, while the 14-inch radius fretboard has 22 narrow tall frets. In the bridge is a single Dimarzio Super Distortion humbucker, controlled by a sole volume knob.
Hardware includes an American Vintage synchronized tremolo, vintage-style tuning machines and a bone nut.
Each Fender Play Foundation student model guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case, strap, polishing cloth, and certificate of authenticity. Find out more here.