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Fender Custom Shop


Willcutt Guitars is an Authorized Fender® Dealer.  Sales and shipping are limited to USA only.

We have a large selection of Fender® Custom Shop guitars.
Click the links above to view our current inventory.

History


Through the mid 1980s, Fender filled orders from artists for custom guitars through its R&D model shop. Craftsmen had envisioned a larger and more specific custom operation in the early ’80s, but the business climate just wasn’t right.

But by late 1986, Fender was ready. Dan Smith, then marketing vice president, recalled that during the early ’80s, “We looked at various ways to elevate Fender's image from the ‘working man's guitar’ to that held by some of the most respected boutique builders.”

“Bill (Schultz, Fender Chairman) made it his personal mission to see to it that we made this happen,” Smith said. “Other manufacturers had custom shops for custom-built products, and so why not Fender?”

Smith recruited well-known Texas builder Michael Stevens and John Page, a former Fender R&D engineer. The idea was that they’d build a few custom instruments for artists and some showpiece instruments for trade shows. Little did they know what the very near future held in store for the fledgling operation.

Stevens and John Page opened the Fender Custom Shop in 1987 in a small, 850-square-foot space next to the main Fender factory. The first instruments drew rave reviews, and Stevens and Page soon found themselves deluged—more than 600 orders poured in that summer.

The operation was expanded immediately. Bruce Bolen, brought his expertise to Fender around that time. Offerings were expanded to include special limited-edition and price-list models, making the Custom Shop a viable marketing option in addition to being a true custom operation.

Page became manager, and new master builders were gradually enlisted. Builders were “in the trenches”—working with artists hand-in-hand on a day-to-day basis, keeping Fender on the cutting edge and producing instruments of unbelievable beauty and startling originality.

“From the beginning, the Custom Shop built some of the most stunning guitars ever produced,” Smith said.

The Custom Shop embodied a new attitude at Fender—a commitment to responsiveness and to meeting the needs of the customer, be it a Clapton, a Beck, a Vaughan, or the man on the street. Indeed, features and production techniques that were devised in the Custom Shop for the greats sometimes found their way to Fender’s lower-price production lines, improving quality across the board.

Today, the Fender Custom Shop continues its rich tradition of the finest craftsmanship and personal attention to detail. Its team-built and master-built guitars are among the most sought-after instruments on the market; indeed, many are considered “instantly collectible.”

“The Custom Shop was created to push the envelope for Fender,” said Mike Eldred, Custom Shop marketing manager. “We build dreams—we take your dream and transform it into a guitar.”