Fender Launches Joe Strummer Masterbuilt Telecaster

Re-creation of punk icon’s axe a “labor of love” for Fender Custom Shop’s Paul Waller

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This week, Fender revealed the Joe Strummer Masterbuilt Telecaster®, the latest collectible signature offering from the Custom Shop. The limited-edition replica 1966 Fender Telecaster features period-correct specs, plus a painstakingly detailed road-worn finish in tribute to Strummer’s own heavily patina’d instrument.

Also available is a full run of “Joe Strummer accessories,” including such suitably punk-scented effects as a pink 13’ instrument cable and a faux leopard print fur guitar strap. There’s also a pink hardshell case with faux-leopard lining and, perhaps most compellingly, a set of road-worn ‘60s Tele pickups that will at least get you the Strummer sound if you can’t shell out for the total package.

According to Fender Senior Master Builder Paul Waller, the impetus for “meticulously” recreating “every aspect” of Strummer’s iconic Tele stemmed from a desire to “be accurate and create a product that means a lot to so many people, which is why we always try and pair the right builder with the right artist… (f)or me growing up listening to all of this music and then working for a brand like Fender to have access to instruments like these is pretty powerful and a full circle moment.”

It’s clear that Waller’s passion touched every facet of this instrument throughout its creation, as the amount of detail work required to simulate the years of wear and tear on the road with the Clash… well, the pictures speak for themselves. (One can only wonder whether the guitar smells like an ashtray!)

As for the specs, well, this is every bit a $20,000 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt instrument. A 2-piece Alder body meets a plain-grain Maple ‘60s “C” oval neck with a 21-vintage-fretted rosewood fretboard. It’s got a string-through 6-saddle bridge with steel barrel saddles, and of course, a set of two Custom Shop Hand-Wound ‘67 Single-Coil Tele® pickups.

And, as you can see, the relic job is one for the books – not only is the paint aged, but the wood itself is worn down on Strummer’s model from years of play. Waller stated that this guitar was “one of the hardest” he’s ever had to replicate, and that’s easy to believe just at first glance.

Strummer’s Tele began as a Sunburst model and subsequently suffered a coat of primer and black paint over the entire body (meaning pickguard included), assorted stickers, and years of abuse applied to all of the above. The result: a weathered, motley appearance befitting not only the punk icon, but the style icon that Strummer was and remains to this day.

Anyone who’s ever attempted a home relic job would agree that replicating Strummer’s “fabulously (...) corrode(d)” instrument is a tall order indeed. Waller again, ever humble: “(it is) very, very difficult to emulate all those years and every scratch and every scar, but it is a labor of love.”

Learn more about the Fender Joe Strummer Masterbuilt Telecaster at the Fender Custom Shop.

Images courtesy of Fender

Leave a Reply

Rights to First Officially Sanctioned Led Zeppelin Documentary Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics

Rights to First Officially Sanctioned Led Zeppelin Documentary Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics