The Fender Custom Shop has introduced the two latest collections of handcrafted instruments, the Artisan Series and Master Designed Series. Here's their description of each series:
With the Artisan series, the Fender Custom Shop pulls out all the stops for high-end instruments of remarkable tone, look and feel. In a first for the Custom Shop and inspired by Master Built instruments created for the 2013 Tokyo Guitar Show, this series is built to spotlight fine woods with distinctive figures, hand-rubbed stains and gloss finishes. Team-built for a limited time only, Artisan series instruments are also outfitted with a wealth of special appointments and features that contribute to their striking sound and style.
The Artisan series Quilt Maple-Top Stratocaster features a gorgeously figured quilt maple top accentuated by a new "tiger-eye" burst finish. Other highly distinctive features include chrome "lipstick" pickup covers, special chrome control knobs, chrome tuners with ebony buttons, a choice of one-piece maple neck and fingerboard or rosewood fingerboard.
The Artisan series Spalted Maple-Top Stratocaster features a dramatically figured spalted maple top accentuated by a new "buckeye" finish. Other highly distinctive features include chrome "lipstick" pickup covers, special chrome control knobs, chrome tuners with ebony buttons, a choice of one-piece maple neck and fingerboard or rosewood fingerboard.
The Artisan series Walnut-Top Stratocaster features a beautifully crafted walnut top accentuated by a new "buckeye" finish. Other highly distinctive features include chrome "lipstick" pickup covers, special chrome control knobs, chrome tuners with ebony buttons, a choice of one-piece maple neck and fingerboard or rosewood fingerboard.
Master Design Series
The Fender Custom Shop Master Design Series is in essence what instruments Master Builders would build for themselves given the opportunity. In this case, legendary Master Builders John Cruz and Todd Krause conjured up their personal "dream" Stratocaster guitars and worked with the renowned custom shop team to develop and build them to spec. Now, through the Master Design Series, their dream guitars are available in limited quantities to musicians all over the world.
The Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1950s Relic Stratocaster is the finely crafted work of longtime Master Builder Todd Krause. It expertly evokes the sound, style and spirit of the Stratocaster's first decade, while offering several modern touches and the impeccably distressed look of a relic finish treatment. Its alder body features a Moss Green nitrocellulose lacquer finish accented by gold hardware, with a maple neck and fingerboard with a comfortable modern 9.5"-radius and 21 narrow jumbo frets. Sparkling Strat® tone comes from three shielded Custom Shop Fat '50s single-coil pickups, offered here with shielded modern wiring and five-way switching for optimal tonal versatility, plus a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge. Includes case, cable, strap, tool kit and certificate of authenticity.
The Fender Custom Shop Master Design Series 1963 Relic Stratocaster is meticulously designed by longtime Master Builder John Cruz to embody classic early-'60s look and soul, with mods under the hood that deliver remarkable modern tonal versatility. Its special Master Design single-coil pickups provide greater output, more midrange and a sweeter tone for soloing, with a reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup for hum cancellation in positions two and four. Its custom wiring features five-way switching, master volume control, master tone control and a special blend control built into what would normally be the second tone knob. This blend control offers the neck and bridge pickups together in positions one and five, and all three pickups together in positions two and four.
The two-piece alder body has an off-center seam and a faded Two-color Sunburst nitrocellulose lacquer finish that Cruz says "shows signs of period-correct wear without really going over the top." Other premium features include a quarter-sawn maple neck with a larger "C"-shaped profile and no back finish (for a smooth, fast feel), 12"-radius round-laminated rosewood fingerboard with comfortably rolled edges and jumbo frets, three-ply mint green nitrocellulose pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with brass block for more overall tonal liveliness, an extra-sturdy larger-diameter trem arm, and nickel/chrome hardware. Includes case, cable, strap, tool kit and certificate of authenticity.
Pricing and Availability:
See website for details of local retailer.
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