“These guitars represent the pinnacle of excellence, blending innovation with the rich heritage of Fender”: The 2024 Custom Collection is a tour de force of high-end guitar design from the Big F Custom Shop

Fender Custom Collection 2024
(Image credit: Fender)

That heady scent of nitrocellulose lacquer in the early February air is the unmistakable sign that the Fender Custom Shop has just rolled out his Custom Collection, with 2024 yielding a bumper crop of high-end electric guitars – and a few bass guitars – that remix some of the Big F’s most-loved designs with some holy grail specs.

These collector-grade electric guitars are an excuse for the Fender Custom Shop to flex its muscle and show off a bit, not only with its talent for heavy relic’ing, but for refreshing the fundamentals with some bespoke appointments – this is the time of year when we see Strats with f-holes, with Burnt Copper finishes, and Esquires with ‘cocked wah’ electronics. Lordy. 

Gathered under six different categories, the Custom Collection 2024 series comprises the Limited Edition, Postmodern, American Custom, Time Machine, Artisan and Vintage Custom models, each with built to their own recognisable design logic.

Mike Lewis, vice president of product development at the Fender Custom Shop was understandably proud of punch with this lot, and said the collection raised the bar for Custom Shop guitar making.

We’re confident that this year’s collection will captivate artists, players, and collectors alike, setting a new standard for excellence in the world of custom guitars

Mike Lewis, Fender Custom Shop

“Crafted by the industry's most skilled artisans, these guitars represent the pinnacle of excellence, blending innovation with the rich heritage of Fender,” said Lewis. “Each collection tells a unique story, from the timeless elegance of the Limited Edition and Time Machine models to the groundbreaking features of the Postmodern and American Custom collections to the nostalgic journey of the Vintage Custom designs. 

“We’re confident that this year’s collection will captivate artists, players, and collectors alike, setting a new standard for excellence in the world of custom guitars. Many models in this collection are available for customisation through our network of Custom Shop Showcase dealers, allowing players to tailor their specifications to individual preferences.”

Fender Custom Limited Edition CuNiFe Telecaster Custom Aged Silver Sparkle

Fender Custom Limited Edition CuNiFe Telecaster Custom Aged Silver Sparkle (Image credit: Fender)

The range is huge. There are dozens of models. Here we’ll look at some of the highlights from this year’s crop to give you an idea what, oh, five to six grand will buy you at the Fender Custom Shop. Spoilers: a lot of guitar.

Limited Edition

First up we’ve got the Limited Edition models. Lewis says “timeless excellence” but that’s kind of a given. The first thing to note about these is they won’t stick around long, and have some specs that are typically reserved for artist collabs or Masterbuilt instruments.

The Limited Edition models include a CuNiFe Telecaster Custom. Bigsby-equipped, with a Journeyman Relic not stepping on its Aged Silver Sparkle finish, it is fitted with a CuNiFe Wide Range humbucker at the neck position and an Original Blackguard single-coil at the bridge, all hooked up with Dual Stack HS wiring.

In what is a theme for this collection, premium tonewoods abound, with this model’s neck fashioned from quartersawn 2A flame maple, which is carved into a ’60s-style Oval C profile.

Fender Custom Limited Edition 1964 "Bobbed" Telecaster Thinline Three-Color Sunburst

Fender Custom Limited Edition 1964 "Bobbed" Telecaster Thinline Three-Color Sunburst (Image credit: Fender)

It is joined by the Limited Edition 1964 “Bobbed” Tele Thinline, so-called for its chambered two-piece select ash Thinline body (though there is a Natural finish model that is mahogany), and the chopped (“Bobbed”) three-saddle bridge, which it should be noted, has Custom Shop RSD saddles to improve intonation. 

Continuing in that Telecaster lineage is the Red Hot Esquire, which is a single-pickup Thinline offered in Aged Black, Aged White Blonde and Super-Faded Aged Candy Apple Red (pictured). That single pickup is a hand-wound reverse-angle Josefina “Red Hot” Telecaster single-coil, and it is wired up to the Esquire “cocked wah” wiring. It looks a lot of fun – and that 1952 “U-shaped” bird’s eye maple neck looks might comfortable.

This is the 70th anniversary of the Stratocaster, so of course this has a Strat, a 1964 L-Series with a Heavy Relic finish. It has a two-piece alder body, a rift-sawn maple neck and 7.25” to 9.5” compound radius rosewood fingerboard, and it is equipped with a trio of hand-wound ’64 Stratocaster pickups. It is offered in Three-Color Sunburst, Aged Daphne Blue, Aged Olympic White and Aged Sage Metallic Green (pictured).

Rounding out the Limited Edition models is a P-Jazz Bass, a high-end hybrid with a two-piece select ash body an a hand-wound ’57 Precision Bass pickup. The Jazz part of the equation can be found in the fretting hand, with the neck fashioned into a ‘60s-style “U” Jazz Bass profile.


The Postmodern line is more unorthodox and “combine the best features of the past with modern materials and innovations”, and you’ll find it populated by a range of Thinline Telecasters and the lesser-spotted thinline Strats with f-holes. 

Again, the specs are tip-top. There are hand-wound Master Design “Bone-Tone” Strat pickups, hand-wound Tomatillo single-coils on the Telecaster. These skewing a little vintage-modern, Fender has giving these a light Journeyman Relic finish. 

We particularly like the the Bigsby B5 vibrato RSD J-Bridge on the Aged Black Postmodern Tele. That Burnt Copper finish on the Postmodern Strat, however, is hard to beat. It almost looks edible. The Strats have a ‘60s-style Oval C neck, while the Tele has a ’57-style Soft “V” neck profile. All have contoured heels.

American Custom

The American Custom is contemporary US Fender, as imagined by the Custom Shop, so finished are NOS as standard. These are freshly minted, offering the Strats with a choice of maple or rosewood fingerboards, digging out the AAA roasted flame maple for necks and fingerboards where applicable. 

Premium details include hand-wound Loaded Nocaster pickups on the Telecaster, hand-wound Dual-Mag single-coils on the Strats, both with ‘50s-style wiring, 1/2 Blender on the Strat, Fat ‘50s on the Tele.

The Tele comes in Sapphire Blue Transparent (pictured) and Honey Blonde, and both have black anodized aluminium pickguards. The Stratocaster has Aged White Blonde,Wide-Fade Chocolate Two-Color Sunburst, Vintage Blonde and Three-Color Sunburst finishes, again with the black ‘guards.

Time Machine

The Time Machine models are where things get super-vintage, not only in terms of the specs and the efforts to match the tones to the year of the model, but to match how the finish might look after decades of playing. We say “playing” but some of these look like they have done some hard living.

Some of these make Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Strat look Collector’s Grade, but not all. Indeed, one of our favourites from this year’s Time Machine collection is a 1967 Jazzmaster Deluxe with Closet Classic lacquer. It comes in Vintage Blonde and Three-Color Sunburst, but the Aged Lake Placid Blue (pictured) takes some beating. 

These all have hand-wired electric guitar pickups, the vintage-accurate floating vibrato, all the good stuff, but especially that 4-ply brown shell pickguard which looks the bee’s knees.

Other highlights include the 1967 Stratocaster Relic in the ever-amazing Charcoal Frost finish. The 1957 Stratocaster in Heavy Relic Aged Surf Green looks as though it has been thrashed to death but you just know it’s going to have the tones, and it will play like a dream. 

It has a set of hand-wound Tomatillo Strat single-coils, BTW, with RWRP on the middle pickup for enhanced mids and zero hum, and those are hooked up with Vintage Modified #2 wiring and Greasebucket tone circuit.

If you are in the market for a high-end offset that looks vintage but well-kept, well-loved and rarely played, that 1964 Jaguar in Faded Aged Burgundy Mist is a keeper. 


Fender Custom Artisan Maple Burl Jazz Bass Aged Natural

(Image credit: Fender)

The Artisan range is a little more rococo than the others and comprises of one stunning Maple Burl Jazz Bass in an Aged Natural finish. And that AAAA maple burl has no shortage of curl to it. It’s positively three-dimensional.

This has a round-laminated rosewood fingerboard, hand-wound vintage Jazz Bass pickups, vintage wiring, a ’60s-style “U” profile neck and an RSD HiMass bridge.

Vintage Custom

And finally we have the Vintage Custom models, which offers two 1959 Stratocasters that catch the storied double-cut in a transitional year, introducing the rosewood fingerboard, and remixing the sunburst to offer three colours, not two. In 2024, it is also offered in a ghostly Faded Aged Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red, the latter making us want to play Apache all day and all night. 

Key features include a ’59 C profile neck, a 7.25” to 9.5” compound radius fingerboard, flash-coat lacquer, two-piece alder bodies, hand-wound ’59 Strat pickups and 3-ply mint green nitrocellulose pickguards. Wowzers. 

To view the full range, head over to the Fender Custom Shop. If you have five grand earmarked for a new guitar, today might be the day…

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.