An open letter to the Fender Custom Shop…

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…you REALLY missed an opportunity on making two great guitars.

I love the Fender Custom Shop guitars. I don’t mean the regular ones that anyone can buy at every Fender dealer… I mean the pop culture works of art that they do. You know, the one’s usually featured in their Custom Shop calendar. These guitars usually look more like sculptures than instruments. I mean, I’d rather hang one on the wall and look at it than actually play it. For example, look at this beautiful Gretsch ‘Outlaw’ guitar and amp set. This would look GREAT in the corner of my lounge room, tastefully lit with a vintage lamp… maybe one of those 60’s porcelain bikini girl lamps. Hell yeah.

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So, we know Fender can make some cool stuff. But sometimes they really miss the boat… case in point #1:

In 1999, to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang, Ford Motor Company commissioned the Fender Custom Shop to build 35  guitars for Ford executives only. The Mustang is one of my favourite American cars, a true icon. So here is what I imagine would have happened in the meeting the Fender Custom Shop had after receiving the brief from Ford:

Custom Shop Dude 1: “Ford want us to make a 35th Anniversary tribute for the Mustang”

Custom Shop Dude 2: “Cool… let’s make it chrome!”

Custom Shop Dude 1: “Hell yeah! And let’s put a Mustang badge on it!”

Custom Shop Dude 2: “Awesome! And let’s put some galloping Mustangs down the fretboard!”

Custom Shop Dude 1: “Hey! Cool idea! Hey… what about some 1964 Mustang Radio knobs for controls!”

Custom Shop Dude 2: “Genius! Let’s start right now!”

So… I’m guessing after high-fiving each other, they got to work and here is the result.

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Not bad… eh? The chrome body look great. The radio knobs are nice. Good work on the inlays, too. Just one LITTLE thing that Fender could’ve done that would’ve made this even better. I mean… just a small, teeny thing.

How about instead of a Fender Stratocaster you could’ve made a Fender MUSTANG?! Geez, Fender!!! That would’ve been brilliant! The Fender Mustang was introduced in 1964… same as the Ford Mustang! So that means along with it being the 35th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, it was the 35th anniversary of the Fender Mustang!!! I mean… C’MON!!!! Did you guys forget you made the Mustang?! In case you need a memory refresher… this is what they look like:

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For pete’s sake, you even made one with GT racing stripes!!!!

Ok… so Fender dropped the ball on that one. Fair enough, everyone makes mistakes. Surely it couldn’t happen again? I mean, no-one could make THAT type of mistake twice?

Ladies and gents… let me introduce you to the Fender Commerative Jaguar Stratocaster!!!




Heres the specs of this beast: “…The instrument features jaguar logo and the jaguar name on the fret board in gold , a walnut with gold trim pickguard special no screw hole design and all hardware is gold plated including the pick-ups the guitar is actually a very deep British Racing Green. it comes with a genuine white Connolly leather gig bag with a matching white shoulder strap inside a very substantial flightcase.”

Fender... you make a guitar called the Fender Jaguar!!! You’ve made them since 1962! Again… in case you need a reminder… this is what they look like… as played by Birthday Party’s Rowland S. Howard…

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photo by Jonathan Ganley

A Fender Jag with all those wood and gold bits would’ve been great! Plus it would’ve given the Fender Jag a much needed moment in the spotlight. The Strat doesn’t need any more attention. People already love it.

Anyway, that’s my rant over. Fender, if any more car companies come asking for a commemorative guitar, please look in your guitar stable and see what you have. I’m looking at you, Fender Bronco. And Ford… maybe to give Fender a hand, call your next car the Ford Jazzmaster.