Fender's Custom Shop goes to town with 12 special 'student' model guitars

(Image credit: Fender)

We love seeing the work of the Fender Custom Shop's Master Builders and their latest electric guitar building magic is an unusual collection; they've focussed on 12 'student' Fender models from yesteryear in a new collaboration to raise money with the Fender Play Foundation.

The foundation does great work in equipping, educating and inspiring the next generation of players through music. These include equipment donations, personalised instruction, and artist experiences. 


(Image credit: Fender)

So far the program has donated over $1 million in resources and equipment, and it aims to support more than 35,000 students learning a new instrument by the end of 2023 and 1 million students nationwide by 2030.

So it's a worthy cause and the 12 Custom Shop models will be sold via dealers with al proceeds donated to the foundation. The first four one-off creations have now been revealed and all are inspired by the 'student' guitars of the 50s and 60s.


'62 Stratocaster Journeyman Relic in Blue Ice Metallic, Masterbuilt by Greg Fessler

(Image credit: Fender)
  •  Two-piece Select alder body 
  • Quartersawn maple neck with flat-lam rosewood fingerboard 
  • '60-style Oval 'C' back-shape neck  and 9.5" radius 'board; 21 Narrow Tall (6105) frets
  •  Hand-wound Fat 50's pickups with RWRP Middle; 5-Way Switch; Strat Blender wiring
  • Three-Ply parchment pickguard
  • American Vintage Synchronised tremolo
  • Vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut, wing string tree with tall metal space
  • All guitars feature deluxe hardshell case; strap; polishing cloth; certificate of authenticity

Musicmaster N.O.S in Copper Sparkle, N.O.S, Masterbuilt by Dennis Galuszka

(Image credit: Fender)
  • Copper Sparkle finish
  • Two-piece select alder body
  • Quartersawn maple neck round-lam rosewood fingerboard
  •  '62-style 'C' back-shape; 9.5" radius; 22 medium jumbo (6150) frets, pearloid block Inlay with custom FPF logo Inlay at the first fret
  • Curtis Novak Tele (bridge), and Curtis Novak Wide-Range humbucker (neck) pickups
  • Master volume and tone controls, 3-way switch
  • 3-ply black pickguard, hardtail Subsonic bridge; Vintage-style tuning machines; bone nut

Musicmaster Relic in Fiesta Burst, Masterbuilt by Paul Waller 

(Image credit: Fender)
  • Relic lacquer finish
  • Two-piece select alder body, 24.75"-scale flat-sawn maple neck with round-lam rosewood fingerboard
  • 65-style 'C' back-shape neck; 9.5" radius; 22 Medium Jumbo (6150) frets; single wide-Range CuNiFe humbucking (neck) pickup
  • Master volume & tone controls, 3-ply parchment pickguard, vintage-style Strat hardtail bridge; vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut; wing string tree with nylon spacer

Short Scale Strat Deluxe Closet Classic in Oxblood, Masterbuilt by Carlos Lopez

(Image credit: Fender)
  • Two-piece select ash body; 24.75"-scale quartersawn maple neck with flat-lam rosewood fingerboard 
  • '60-style oval 'C' back-shape; 14" radius 'board, 22 Narrow Tall (6105) frets
  • Single DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker (bridge) pickup
  • Single volume control; 3-ply Bback pickguard; American vintage synchronised tremolo; vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut; wing string tree

"History has proven that many professionals have used the original 'Student' instruments to great success,"says Principle Master Builder Ron Thorn, "and as expected, for this project, each Master Builder has provided their artistic vision and creativity to craft versions that never existed and are true one-offs. Music Masters, Duo-Sonics, short-scale Stratocasters, Mustangs are just a few of the models represented.

“Each is designed from scratch," adds Thorn, "requiring custom tooling, hardware, and electronics. The Fender Play Foundation first fret inlay used on each designates it as part of this exclusive collection of 12 instruments, one from each Master Builder. These are not your typical Masterbuilt guitars; they are destined to become classics and contribute to the Fender Play Foundation's worthy cause."

For more information on the foundation visit fenderplayfoundation.org

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.