A Fender Custom Shop instrument is extraordinary. You know it when you play one—it’s definitely more than the sum of its parts. It’s filled with intangible, electrifying elements that add a new dimension to your playing experience. It’s as if the instrument itself is imbued with history, alive with the spirit of the place where it was built and the devotion of those who crafted it.
For players who wish to create a completely custom instrument—anything from a humbucking pickup-equipped banjo to a custom-engraved aluminum-bodied Strat—we offer Masterbuilt, a singular experience working one-on-one with one of our Master Builders. Custom-Built is for those prefer to start with one of our time-honored models and personalise the specifications to meet your specific needs. Use this guide to design your very own Masterbuilt or Custom-Built Fender guitar and make your dreams come true.
Dont forget to check out our huge range of Fender Custom Shop Guitars we currently have in-stock! You never know, we may have produced your perfect guitar already! > www.gak.co.uk/en/fender-custom-shop
LET’S GET STARTED!
Is there a special Fender instrument that you have been dreaming of your whole life? We have some good news for you! The Fender Custom Shop can take your dreams and shape them into a tonal reality. The process is simple:
1. Choose your build level (Masterbuilt or Custom-built).
2. Select a Custom Shop base model.
3. Choose an ageing package.
4. Choose your custom options.
5. Submit our order!
1. Choosing your build level
In every art form there are those who have mastered their craft so thoroughly, through years of training and experience, their work routinely commands extra acclaim and admiration, not to mention outright awe.
Crafting a guitar with a Custom Shop Master Builder is the ultimate artistic partnership—simply put, no idea is too crazy and no job too large or too small. They’ll walk you through everything—body design, neck shape, tonewoods, pickups, hardware and more—to give you the look, feel and sound that you’re searching for. From start to finish the Master Builder will personally ensure that each guitar is built with the highest possible quality and to your exact specifications.
From neck shaping and fretwork to finishing and aging—every step of creation—each Custom Shop craftsperson brings years of hard-earned skill and dedication to bear on your custom-built guitar with one goal in mind—to create an instrument and playing experience that can only come from the Fender Custom Shop.
2. Select a base model
Possibly one the most important choices of building your dream Fender Custom Shop. You can choose from multiple Stratocasters, Telecasters, Offests, Precision Basses & Jazz Basses. Whatever shape your dream may be, our luthiers stand ready to craft an instrument that will unlock your utmost creativity and self-expression.
The Fender Stratocaster is a model of electric guitar designed in 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton, and Freddie Tavares. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top “horn” shape for balance.
The Fender Telecaster, colloquially known as the Tele, is the world’s first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar. Its simple yet effective design and revolutionary sound broke ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music.
Offset guitars refer to bodies with asymmetrical tops and bottoms. Offset guitars have always offered players something a little different to stand out from more conventional body styles.
The Precision Bass often shortened to “P-Bass” was designed by Leo Fender in 1950, was brought to market in 1951, the first electric bass to earn widespread attention and use, remaining among the best-selling and most-imitated electric basses with considerable effect on the sound of popular music ever since.
The Jazz Bass (or J Bass) is the second model of electric bass created by Leo Fender. It is distinct from the Precision Bass in that its tone is brighter and richer in the midrange and treble with less emphasis on the fundamental frequency.
3. Select an Ageing Style
Every guitar tells a story, one that is most readily apparent in the finish. Six different levels of ageing let you select the exact appearance of your Dream Shop instrument. From a pristine untouched finish that could have leapt from a ‘50s time capsule to the heavily-worn, weathered appearance of a trusty “road dog” companion guitar, our artful Custom Shop luthiers are masters of the craft of ageing an instrument.
New Old Stock (NOS)
Models from the past that have survived to the present day looking brand new. An all-lacquer finish that looks as if it hasn’t aged at all as if you went back in time and bought it.
No real playing wear, but more subtle indications of the ages, such as a finish that has lost its sheen, mild discoloration of plastic parts, metal hardware showing slight oxidation, “mild” finish checking and minor surface scratches on the body and headstock.
Lush Closet Classic
Well taken care of and religiously polished throughout the years. The owner of this guitar took pride in keeping it clean and shiny. Over time the finish started showing age and like a fine wine it evolved into something complex and refined. Moderate finish checking, oxidation of hardware, and mild discoloration of parts give this finish its distinct look and feel.
Handed down or changed hands through the years but mostly played around the house, with the occasional jam session or weekend gig. Has been well taken care of over the years but has moderate ware, finish checking, and some “friendly” down to-the-wood nicks and dings, dullish hardware, and moderate wear-a very lucky find.
The Authentic worn-in wear of a guitar that has experienced many years of regular use in clubs and bars. Marks that tell a story, finish checking all over the body; scars dings and dents from bridge to headstock.
The heaviest of the relic treatments, designed to evoke decades of the most punishing play and touring. From serious dinged and wear to intensely discolored hardware and finish, the true battle-hardened workhorse.
4. Choose your custom options
Select A Tone Wood – Body Wood Options
ALDER – A fantastic tone wood long used by Fender for its electric guitar bodies, alder is noted for bright, balanced and resonant tone with pronounced upper midrange, excellent sustain and sharp attack. It also features large, swirling grain patterns.
ASH – Strong and dense, ash is a longtime Fender classic for electric instrument bodies. Notably resonant and sweet sounding, it’s characterised by well-defined midrange and strong low end.
MAHOGANY – A dense, dark tone wood that yields warm tone and midrange bite, mahogany is a great option that adds a unique and complex sonic and visual twist to your build.
ROASTED ASH BODY – Strong and ultra-stable, a roasted ash body is a thing of beauty. Not only does the roasting process accentuate the figuring of the wood, it also crystallises the sap, giving it the sound of old wood.
ROASTED ALDER – The roasting process will darken the wood while keeping it very stable and durable. As with a slab of wood that has dried over the years, the properties change slightly and add to the richness and depth of tone.
Quilt/Flame Top Options
QUILT MAPLE TOP – A beautifully figured wood, quilt maple works especially well with transparent and natural finishes that allow the flowing grain to show through.
AA FLAME MAPLE TOP – AA flame maple features tigerlike striping in the wood grain. Many believe that this is caused by the tree swaying in the wind, the minerals in the ground and other ephemeral variables. We aren’t positive about that, but we do know it provides a strikingly beautiful look to any instrument neck or body.
AAA FLAME MAPLE TOP – AAA flame maple sports a more intense concentration of figuring than AA Flame. The bold stripes are always a beautiful touch in natural and transparent finishes.
Neck Wood Options
MAPLE NECK – Light in color, with a bright, chimey tone, maple is favourite amongst many Fender players for its look, feel and tone.
FLAME NECK – With its strong, vibrant figure, flame maple is one of our favourite ways to liven up the look of a maple neck.
BIRDSEYE MAPLE – Small round figuring in the wood which produces small “birdseye” markings. Used on many Custom Shop guitars, a birdseye maple neck will add a unique and striking look to your guitar.
ROASTED MAPLE NECK – Roasting your maple neck will not only make the wood darker and pop the grain, it also warms up your tone. The roasting process makes the wood stable and more resonant and looks amazing.
ROSEWOOD NECK – Darker in colour and warmer in tone than maple, rosewood can be specially sorted for a darker colour. In 1959, all Fenders were outfitted with rosewood fingerboards, which was a significant departure from the look and tone of the previous maple boards.
Select A Colour Option
Select A Neck Shape
Everybody plays differently, and the “right” neck shape can go a long way to making any guitar feel like “home”. We offer a number of classic profiles from Fender’s storied history—all artfully shaped by hand. If you have a special neck shape in mind, a Custom Shop Master Builder can craft any neck you desire.
Select A Fret Wire
Custom Shop frets are made from only the highest quality nickel and can be made in a variety of different heights and thicknesses. Larger frets tend to account for easier string bending. Smaller frets are “true to vintage” in many cases, and facilitate easier chording. Medium jumbo frets are designed to be the perfect marriage between small vintage frets and modern jumbo frets. Keep the following examples in mind when choosing the frets that you want on your guitar:
Select A Pickup Option
Hand-Wound – True to Fender history prior to 1965, hand-wound or “scatter-wound” pickups are distinctly unique in character. Each pickup has its own subtle nuances and personalised character which is what made the original Fender pickups so sought after and prized.
Machine Wound – Each pickup is consistent and even in winds making each one sound and respond relatively the same. Though most of the Custom Shop pickups are hand-wound, some players prefer the consistency of machine-wound pickups, so we are happy to offer both options.
’50s STRAT – Crafted to faithfully replicate the cutting tones reminiscent of 1950’s Stratocaster guitars. Alnico 5 magnets, vintage stagger and formvar wire
’50s STRAT FAT – 1950s Stratocaster sound you know and love. Hot-rodded wiring design delivers enhanced bass response and an extra shot of 21st-century attitude.
60s STRAT – Classic 1960’s design with alnico 2 magnets, formvar wire and a vintage stagger. Strat sound with glistening highs and warm punchy lows.
TEXAS SPECIAL STRAT – Characterized by their midrange chirp, crystalline highs and tight bass, Fender Texas Special™ Strat pickups feature an overwound single-coil construction that produces big Texas-blues tone.
DUAL-MAG STRAT – Vintage style calibrated pickup set with unbeveled alnico 5 magnets on the bass side and beveled alnico 2 magnets on the treble. The two magnet types create balance and consistency in tone and allow for improved clarity string to string.
EL DIABLO STRAT – Overwound and dipped in the special sauce for a big open sound. Slightly hotter than the Ancho Poblanos with calibrated alnico 5 pickups with custom low G (middle and neck) and flush with high D (bridge) pole pieces.
ANCHO POBLANO STRAT – Simmered in a secret Custom Shop sauce and then individually calibrated from neck to bridge. Uniquely overwound by hand for a wide range of high-output tones—from blistering-hot output to sizzling vintage warmth—with plenty of tonal flexibility.
VINTAGE NOISELESS STRAT – Produce all the brilliant clarity, definition and harmonic attributes of vintage single-coil Strat tone without the hum.
FENDER LACE SENSOR STRAT – Low noise performance inspired by classic, crisp, bell-like Fender tone.
’51 TELE/NOCASTER – Created with the original design in mind to accurately mimic the twang and shimmer of the originals. These period-correct singlecoil pickups impart tight low end and clear, balanced midrange.
’63 TELE – A true replication of the original ’63 Tele Pickups with all the bite and warmth to spare. Alnico 2 Magnets, vintage stagger and enamel wire.
’67 TELE – Lower output Tele pickups with Grey bobbins and copper baseplate with a vintage stagger, alnico 5 magnets and enamel wire for crystal clear Tele twang.
TWISTED TELE – High-output Telecaster guitar tone with a dash of sparkling Stratocaster guitar character.
TEXAS SPECIAL TELE – Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele pickups are built to produce blistering hot output, along with noticeable presence and midrange.
JOSEFINA RED HOT TELE – Super-hot Tele pickups with a mid-range growl in the bridge position and a brighter neck pickup for more versatility. Alnico 5 magnets on the bridge and alnico 2 on the neck.
’64 JAZZ BASS – These vintage-style pickups produce warm, clear and articulate tone, with great low-end definition, up-front midrange punch and singing high end.
’75 JAZZ BASS – Vintage bobbin construction, Alnico 5 magnets, flush mounted pole pieces and enamel wire provides warm tones, enhanced dynamics and even string response.
NOISELESS JAZZ BASS – Fender Noiseless Jazz Bass pickups produce all the brilliant clarity, definition and harmonic attributes of a vintage Jazz Bass without the hum.
ENFORCER – Super-hot high output pickup with dynamic range. Achieves crunchy distortion with full volume and cleans up nicely when rolling back the volume.
SHAWBUCKER – Full of multi-dimensional tone with well-defined overtones, this open-coil pickup complements and balances your guitar’s natural voice while playing well with other pickup designs.
Select A Wiring Option
Precision Bass Wiring
Jazz Bass Wiring
Select A Hardware Option
VINTAGE SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO – Original Stratocaster tremolo made using original die-cast moulds and punch presses purchased by Leo Fender.
2-POINT CUSTOM CLASSIC TREMOLO – Polished steel two-point synchronised tremolo bridge assembly.
VINTAGE HARD-TAIL – Vintage stamped saddles, chrome plated bridge, and string through body design.
RSD STRAT – Vintage style with improved pivot geometry, plating tolerances, string spacing and arm tension adjustment.
FLOYD ROSE RSD STRAT – Double-locking tremolo bridge, recessed for pick hand comfort providing laser-accurate intonation and ultra-stable tuning when combined with the Floyd Rose R3 locking nut.
’51-’53 TELECASTER, BRASS SADDLES – Telecaster ashtray bridge plate with original tooling marks, serial number and 3 brass saddles.
’60 & UP TELECASTER, RELIC THREADED SADDLES – Period correct ashtray bridge plate and threaded steel saddles for bright Tele twang.
’67 TELE, STEEL SADDLES – Vintage style ashtray bridge plate with notched steel saddles.
RSD TELE – Low profile bridge plate, compensated brass saddles with a refined look and feel.
CUSTOM DELUXE TELE – Modern six-saddle bridge assembly with a string-through-body plate, and polished steel saddles.
VINTAGE THREADED SADDLES – Genuine Fender bass bridge assembly with nickel-plated steel bridge plate and four threaded barrel saddles.
VINTAGE GROOVE SADDLES – Vintage Fender bass bridge assembly with nickel-plated steel bridge plate and four grooved barrel saddles.
MODERN BASS BRIDGE – Chrome plated steel bridge plate with partially threaded stainless steel saddles and string through body or top load option.
RSD BASS – Hi-Mass Bridge constructed from a solid brass billet with threaded steel saddles.
Head over to www.fendercustomshop.com/how-to-order to download your Fender 2017 Design Guide and combine all of your favourite parts, colours and options to create your ultimate dream guitar!
Wanna talk to a Fender specialist? Head into GAK and we can help you design your Custom Shop Guitar from headstock to bridge. Go through each section of the design guide in detail and we can make your personal shopping experience as smooth as possible!
Also, dont forget to check out our range of Fender Custom Shop Guitars we currently have in-stock! You never know, we may have produced your perfect guitar already! > www.gak.co.uk/en/fender-custom-shop