Fender Custom Shop Master Design Series

Fender Custom Shop gave their master guitar builders free reign to design and build their dream guitars, resulting in a new limited edition line of guitars called the Master Design Series.

Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1950s Relic Stratocaster
Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1950s Relic Stratocaster

Two Fender Custom Shop master builders designed their personal “dream” Stratocasters, and worked with the custom shop team to develop and build these guitars for a limited run release.

Master builders John Cruz and Todd Krause have extensive experience when it comes to designing and building personalized instruments for professional guitarists. This time around, they are given the opportunity to build guitars that have their favorite parts and specs, without any third party input.

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Both builders opted for a Strat, with each one carrying features, specs and quality that these experts consider as the best. Both guitars feature "relic" finishes, in line with the Custom Shop team's appreciation for vintage guitars.

Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1950s Relic Stratocaster

This is the dream guitar of longtime Master Builder Todd Krause. It is meant to evoke the sound, style and spirit of the Stratocaster’s first decade, while adding several modern touches to address the needs of today's players. Being based on the first few iterations of the Stratocaster, this guitar comes with the stereotypical Strat configuration that includes an alder body, maple neck and maple fretboard. To improve playability, the neck profile is modified to modern specs, with a 9.5" fretboard radius and featuring 21 narrow jumbo frets.

Todd equipped the guitar with three Custom Shop Fat '50s single-coil pickups to reproduce the sparkle of vintage Strats. Being an experienced builder, he shielded the pickups and five-way switching for reduced noise and interference. The Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1950s Relic Stratocaster has a Moss Green nitrocellulose lacquer finish, which is complemented by gold hardware. The instrument's relic finish treatment completes the guitar's vintage appeal. It ships with a case, cable, strap, tool kit and certificate of authenticity.

Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1963 Relic Stratocaster

Master Builder John Cruz opted to embody the Strat from the early '60s when he made this guitar. He designed it to reproduce the look, feel and sound of vintage instruments while adding pickup wiring modifications that expand the instrument's sonic palette. This guitar starts off with a two-piece alder body with an off-center seam, wrapped in two-color sunburst nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Cruz says that the finish "shows signs of period-correct wear without really going over the top." The quarter-sawn maple neck has a larger "C" shaped profile, featuring 12" radius round-laminated rosewood fingerboard with rolled edges and jumbo frets. The back side of the neck has no finish to give it a smooth and modern feel.

Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1963 Relic Stratocaster
Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1963 Relic Stratocaster

The Fender Custom Shop Master Design 1963 Relic Stratocaster features three Master Design single-coil pickups, said to provide improved output and enhanced mid-range. Modern wiring is implemented, including reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup for hum cancellation in position 2 and 4. Other controls include five-way switching, master volume, master tone, and a special blend knob. The blend circuit lets you combine the neck and bridge pickups together in positions one and five, while in positions two and four, you can have all three pickups together. Other features include vintage style synchronized tremolo bridge with brass block, vintage style tuners, 3-ply mint green pickguard and nickel/chrome hardware.

Pricing information was not released yet, but some online stores already list the two Master Design Series guitars with a tag price of around $5,295. For complete specifications and other information, head over to Fender

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