John Cruz, formerly of the Fender Custom Shop, launches his own brand of guitars

Cruz was dismissed from the Custom Shop earlier this year, seemingly as a result of a controversial post on Facebook.

Image: John Cruz

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John Cruz, a former master builder for the Fender Custom Shop, has launched his own brand of guitars: John Cruz Custom Guitars.

Cruz launched the guitar brand with a video posted on YouTube. A statement below the video reads: “John Cruz has been building the world’s best guitars for the world’s best players. Now, he has launched John Cruz Custom Guitars.”

The video itself notes Cruz’s extensive experience building guitars, and promises the brand will create “the ultimate tools” for guitarists. Watch the video above.

The launch follows Cruz’s departure from the Fender Custom shop earlier this year. His exit appeared to follow a controversial Facebook post that he made regarding Black Lives Matter protesters. While Fender confirmed that Cruz is no longer with the company, it declined to comment further as “a matter of company policy”.

Speculation over the grounds for Cruz’s dismissal circulated on guitar forums back in June, but the allegations can be traced back to a now-deleted Facebook post by bassist Gregor Fris on 2 June.

Fris wrote: “Hey Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz. Are you planning to stop making fun of harming and even killing Black protestors anytime soon?”

The bassist was seemingly referring to a now-deleted meme, said to be shared by Cruz on Facebook. A user of the thefretboard.co.uk forum uploaded a screenshot of the alleged post in a thread entitled “Fender John Cruz”. It is unconfirmed if Cruz did indeed make the Facebook post.

At the moment, John Cruz Custom Guitars’ website only hosts the launch video. View the site here.

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