NAMM 2018: Fender Custom Shop sure plays a mean Pinball

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NAMM 2018: Yuri Shiskov, the Custom Shop wizard behind 2016's beautiful, demented, diamond-encrusted Repeater Tele and many other flabbergasting Fenders, has been at it again.

Shiskov's typically flamboyant showstopper for NAMM 2018 pays paper-thinly disguised tribute to the Who's Tommy. 

Yours, if you're lucky, for $80,000, his Pinball Telecaster guitar, accompanied by a matching “Wizard” amplifier built by Fender’s custom amp expert Jim Dolmage actually uses parts and materials from a genuine 40-year old Bally machine.

The Pinball Tele actually uses parts and materials from a genuine 40-year old Bally machine.

The Tele features the game’s original coloured plastic playfield inserts. Better still, they actually light up in a random pattern thanks to battery-powered LEDs. Movable flippers and a spring-loaded ball shooter add further hilarity to this otherwise operational instrument, and plastic painted game trim pieces on the body and headstock complete the not-understated pinball theme. 

Rounding off the guitar are a vintage-style maple neck, a Fender Custom Shop Nocaster neck pickup, a chromed pinball volume knob, a chrome wraparound bridge/tailpiece and still more plywood from the vintage pinball machine.

The matching Wizard amplifier’s enclosure is also constructed entirely from wood and metal recycled from the pinball machine’s cabinetry, the heavy plywood and metal trim apparently lending a significant attack to onboard ’57 Custom Pro-Amp circuitry, which is then warmed up by a 15-inch Eminence speaker. 

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