Fender Custom Shop’s beautiful new Violinmaster turns a 1713 Stradivarius into a Telecaster

Using the same spruce as Antonio Stradivari would have used.

The Fender Custom Shop has debuted a stunning new guitar inspired by a three-century-old violin, with a no-expense-spared approach taken to recreating the look and feel of an ancient instrument in a modern, electric format.

Created by Fender Master Builders Yuriy Shishkov, the Violinmaster features a hollow flame-maple body, with a spruce top from Italy’s Fiemme Valley – the same region Antonio Stradivari would have sourced his spruce.

This spruce only recently became available for use in construction when a violent storm ripped up a number of trees in the Fiemme Valley, freeing the protected timber for the first time in years.

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The F-holes in the body are also accurate to the violin’s, and have been proportionally scaled to make their place in the body sit right aesthetically. The guitar’s neck is Bosnian flame maple, with an oval-C-shape and a 9.5-inch-radius laminated ebony fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets. Both body and neck are finished with a hand-polished violin polish.

Electronics consist of two TV Jones Thunder’Blade pickups, as well as three passive piezo pickups for some more acoustic tones. The bridge and tailpiece are really quite something, with a floating ebony hardtail evoking the guitar’s violin inspiration. The bridge’s saddle-bar can be changed out for differing intonation needs, with a few extras being supplied in a small violin-shaped case alongside the guitar.

Fender Custom Shop Violinmaster
Image: Fender

The violin that inspired the guitar has quite the history, as you might expect for a 308-year-old instrument. Across the 20th century, its ownership changed hands a number of times. It was stolen twice from Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman: first in 1919 in Vienna, and again in 1936 in New York – he would never see it again after this theft. In 1985, the violin was rediscovered when the thief – a violinist who disguised it with shoe polish for almost half a century – confessed on his deathbed.

It was restored over a nine-month period, and then sold at auction to British violinist Norbert Brainin. It then was acquired in 2001 by violinist Joshua Bell, who owns it to this day.

Shishkov narrates a short documentary about the creation of the guitar and Stradivari’s history below.

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See more at fendercustomshop.com.

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