Fender Custom Shop - History


For nearly 20 years Fender was owned and operated by the CBS corporation. Many players felt that the interests of CBS were at odds with the marketplace, profits declined, and in 1984 CBS sold the rights to the Fender name and designs to an investor group of employees led by Bill Schultz who launched Fender Musical Instruments. The Custom Shop was begun in 1987, under the supervision of then-CEO Schultz. The initial staff comprised only two Master Builders (John Page, Michael Stevens) and a Haas VF4 CNC machine (modified for woodwork) that cuts three bodies or four necks at once.

The primary intent of the Fender Custom Shop was to create instruments in the tradition of Leo Fender and his staff at the original Fender facilities in Fullerton, CA, accommodating famous endorsers and other discerning players who wanted the accuracy, detail, and quality—as well as customization and personal touches—that were widely perceived as omitted under the tutelage of CBS, and considered lacking on the revamped Fender's mass-produced instruments. In 1991, the Fender Custom Amp Shop was created and housed in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fender's headquarters at the time. Seven years later, the entirety of Fender's US manufacturing and R & D operations, along with Custom Shop divisions, was moved to its present location in Corona. Currently, the Fender Custom Shop employs over 50 craftsmen and produces both custom one-off projects and limited CNC-tooled production runs.

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