It’s the start of the summer concert touring season, where thousands of musicians and crews would be crisscrossing the country, setting up shows and entertaining audiences small and large. But… covid, and a whole industry is sidelined.
Fender continues to lead the way and show their support for the countless workers in the live music world who are out of work due to the pandemic shut down. Today the guitar maker unveiled a program in conjunction with Live Nation’s Crew Nation, which offers one-of-a-kind guitars and a select number of artist-signed signature model guitars for sale to the public at gear site Reverb, with proceeds supporting touring and venue crews. You can view and purchase the guitars at this link here (if they haven’t already sold).
It’s quite a selection of eleven unique pieces. There are five Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt guitars and six Artist Signatures Series guitars. Each Masterbuilt guitar is its own work of art from master builders Yuriy Shishkov & Kyle McMillan, Paul Waller & Ron Thorn, Jason Smith & Dennis Galuszka, Todd Krause & Carlos Lopez and Greg Fessler & Dale Wilson.
The six Fender Signature Model guitars with signatures from the guitarist include:
• Signed Eric Clapton Stratocaster® in Pewter – $7,500
• Signed Flea Signature Active Jazz Bass® in Shell Pink – $3,500
• Signed Tom Morello Stratocaster® – $2,600
• Signed Duff McKagan Deluxe Precision Bass® in Black – $2,500
• Signed Brad Paisley Road Worn Telecaster® – $2,450
• American Professional Stratocaster Signed by Jeff Beck – $3,300
The five exclusive Masterbuilt Custom Shop guitars were built in teams of two by the esteemed Fender Master Builders, a never before seen collaboration from the collective. Each guitar’s neck plate will be engraved with a commemorative logo to celebrate the one-of-a-kind guitars and special collaboration. Both Master Builders will also sign the back of the headstock they worked on. All Master Built and artist signed guitars are available for sale in collaboration with Reverb, a leading online marketplace for buying and selling new, used, and vintage musical instruments.
Live Nation launched Crew Nation in April to help support touring and venue crews through this temporary intermission while COVID-19 puts concerts on pause. Live Nation has committed $10 million to the fund – contributing an initial $5 million, then matching the next $5 million in donations, dollar for dollar.
Here is detailed information on each Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt guitar:
Yuriy Shishkov and Kyle McMillan: Fender® Crew Nation Tele®- $14,700
Fashioned from beautifully exotic wood just waiting to be used for something very special, Master Builders Kyle McMillan and Yuriy Shishkov worked in their garages to meticulously shape, sand and finish this guitar using every ounce of their expertise. Each element, detail and custom appointment was executed with the highest degree of attention, even as the instrument took shape outside the physical walls of the Fender Custom Shop. Shishkov created the body artwork, in which the classic Fender Stratocaster headstock intertwines with heart and scrolled-silver inlay work to illustrate Fender’s dedication to its struggling partners in the music world. Indeed, the desire to help stage crew personnel near and far is the driving force behind this distinctive collaboration.
The guitar’s two-piece ash body has a redwood burl top features custom hand-engraved artwork with silver lace inlay, green diopside stone and diamonds, as well as a NOS nitro lacquer finish. The single-piece AAA birdseye maple neck features silver lace inlay, green diopside stone, diamonds; ivoroid nitro binding; a large “C” profile; and a 9.5”-radius fingerboard with medium jumbo frets. “Josefina” hand-wound Tele pickups feature three-way switching and modern Tele wiring. Other features include a custom brown-shell pickguard and control cover; ’58-’63 Tele bridge; Schaller®deluxe tuners; strap locks; a “Build at Home” neck plate by Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn; a bone nut and disk string tree. This guitar includes a deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.
Jason Smith and Dennis Galuszka: Fender® Crew Nation Tamo Strat®- $8,700
Inspired to help raise funds to support the hard-working, behind-the-scenes crews of the artists they love, Fender Custom Shop’s Jason Smith and Dennis Galuszka teamed up for this distinctively classy build. One of the last pieces of tamo ash available in the shop—which was being saved for a special occasion such as this—was used along with a highly-figured maple neck and “Josefina” hand-wound pickups. The result is a beautiful and elegant guitar with tone to match.
The chambered ash body has a figured tamo ash top and an NOS lacquer finish. The tinted AAAA flame-maple neck has a flat-lam AAAA maple fretboard with a 9.5” radius and 21 narrow tall frets. Josefina hand-wound ’60s Strat pickups (with reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup) feature five-way switching and Vintage Modified #2 wiring. Other features include a three-ply white nitro pickguard; a Custom Classic Strat tremolo; “Build at Home” neck plate by Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn; vintage-style tuners with brown-shell buttons; a bone nut and wing string tree. The guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.
Ron Thorn and Paul Waller: Fender® Crew Nation Korina Strat®- $7,600
Before coming to work in the Fender Custom Shop, Ron Thorn ran his own custom guitar workshop from home. During the first part of the 2020 global pandemic lockdown, Thorn and fellow Fender Custom Shop artist Paul Waller were both eager to collaborate, so Waller worked as a socially safe guest at Thorn’s home and home workshop. Thorn had a beautiful piece of korina wood that he was saving for something special, and the two decided it would be a perfect start to the collaboration they envisioned. Waller also had some hand-wound Abigail Ybarra pickups in his back pocket. They decided both were ideal for the project at hand.
The guitar’s korina body has an NOS lacquer “walnut burst” finish. The quartersawn korina neck features a ’60-style oval “U” profile; a flat-lam Macassar ebony fingerboard with a 12” radius; and 21 medium jumbo frets. “Abby” hand-wound Fat ’50s pickups feature five-way switching and Vintage Modified #2 wiring. Other features include a gold anodized pickguard; RSD Strat bridge with narrow spacing; “Build at Home” neck plate by Thorn; vintage-style tuners; a bone nut and wing string tree with metal spacer. This guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.
Greg Fessler and Dale Wilson: Fender® Crew Nation 2 Tone Tele®-$7,200
Dale Wilson and Greg Fessler collaborated on this classic “meat-and-potatoes” Telecaster. Fessler and Wilson wanted to keep it simple and bring it on home with tried-and-true appointments allowing their colleagues to use their talents on exotic woods and such. That’s exactly what they did, even as both craftsmen were separated by lockdown in their respective homes. Fessler did the wiring and custom Relic body finish, while Wilson worked on giving the neck its extremely comfortable rolled edges and the final setup.
The guitar features a two-piece select ash body with a Journeyman Relic lacquer finish. It also has a single-piece tinted flat-sawn maple neck with a ’52 “U” profile, 9.5” fingerboard radius and 21 medium jumbo frets. “Josefina” hand-wound Twisted Tele pickups feature three-way switching and modern Tele wiring. Other features include a ’52 parchment Tele pickguard; ’58-’63 Tele bridge; “Build at Home” neck plate by the Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn; vintage-style tuners; a bone nut and disk string tree. The guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.
Todd Krause and Carlos Lopez: Fender® Crew Nation ‘56 Strat®-$7,000
Through years of collaboration, master builders Carlos Lopez and Todd Krause bring a wealth of tasteful know-how and expertise to any project. Lopez apprenticed with Krause for many years, so both craftsmen find an easy workflow just like old times. A hallmark of this build is the simple aesthetic of color contrast and combining an ash body with a single-piece maple neck (a favorite Krause combination). The color is inspired by a 12-string guitar Lopez once built for the NAMM show, which Krause suggested they use in combination with a custom single-ply black acrylic pickguard. The result is a simple-but-stunning build any player would find irresistibly inspirational.
The guitar features a two-piece ash body; a single-piece quartersawn maple neck with a 10/’56 “V” profile and 9.5”-radius fingerboard with 21 medium jumbo frets. “Josefina” hand-wound pickups feature five-way switching and modern Strat wiring. Other features include an American Vintage Strat tremolo; “Build at Home” neck plate by Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn; vintage-style tuners; a bone nut and wing string tree. This guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.