Summer NAMM 2018: Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster leads Fender’s Custom Shop offerings

SUMMER NAMM 2018: Fender has announced this summer’s Custom Shop models, headed up by the Jimmie Vaughan Signature Stratocaster, and followed by four 2018 Mid-Year Collection models.

The Jimmie Vaughan Strat is based on the guitarist’s current spec, and features new custom hand-wound JLV pickups, JLV modified #2 wiring and carefully selected colours: Aged Olympic White, Wide-Fade 2-Colour Sunburst and Aged Aztec Gold.

It’s a ’50s-style offering, with a select alder body and Closet Classic lacquer finish, while the one-piece rift sawn maple neck features a custom ‘C’ back shape with a 9.5-inch radius and 21 Jescar 57110 jumbo frets.

A single-ply Eggshell pickguard, Custom Shop vintage synchronised tremolo and vintage-style tuning machines round off the spec.

The Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster will set you back £4,199. Here’s the skinny on the Custom Shop’s other four beauties…

2018 LTD Artisan Maple Burl Thinline Tele®


PRESS RELEASE: Elegant exotic figuring and classic Fender tone combine in the Artisan Maple Burl Tele Thinline, a stunning instrument with astounding aesthetic appointments.

The rich-sounding two-piece Fiji mahogany body is topped by a 4A Flame Maple Burl top that swirls with texture that’s unique to each guitar. Crafted from 3A Birdseye maple, the “ ‘63 C”-shaped neck is ideal for any playing style, and the 9.5”-radius African blackwood fingerboard sports 21 player-friendly 6105 frets.

The hand-wound ‘51 Loaded Nocaster® bridge pickup is matched with a hand-wound ‘51 Open Loaded Nocaster neck pickup and Fat ‘50s wiring for fat Fender Tele tone that snarls and sings. Tortoiseshell binding and herringbone purfling on the top complete the package.

Other features include 3- way switch, 1-ply Tortoiseshell pickguard, ‘58-‘63 Tele bridge with RSD brass saddles, vintage-style tuning machines with rare Tortoiseshell buttons, bone nut and wing string tree.

Offered in Aged Natural, this model includes a strap, deluxe hardshell case and Certificate of Authenticity.

2018 Limited Edition ’51 HS Tele® Relic®


PRESS RELEASE: Combining authentic Fender feel with a favorite player’s modification, the Limited Edition ‘51 HS Tele Relic adds fat, high output sound to the traditional twang of a Tele.

The hand-wound ‘50-‘51 “Crushed” Blackguard single- coil bridge pickup is joined by a Seymour Duncan® Seth Lover SH-55 humbucking neck pickup for a one-two punch of tone. We customised a dual-stack HS Tele wiring to create the perfect sonic balance between the two, incorporating 250k/500k potentiometers on the volume and tone controls to ensure compatibility.

The two- piece off-center ash body wears a Relic flashcoat lacquer finish, giving it the look and feel of a well-loved instrument that’s seen many a stage and tour bus. Sporting a dark tinted Relic flashcoat lacquer finish, the riftsawn maple neck sports a “10/56 V”-shaped profile that’s ideal for all playing styles.

For ultimate comfort and playability, the Fender Custom Shop topped the neck with a 7.25”-9.5” compound-radius fingerboard and 21 50085 medium-vintage frets. The vintage-style Nocaster bridge features compensated brass saddles for authentic Fender tone and superior intonation.

Other features include a 3-way pickup switch, single-ply Black phenolic pickguard, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut and round string tree. 

Offered in Aged Nocaster Blonde and Wide-Fade 2-Colour Sunburst, these models include a deluxe hardshell case, strap and a Certificate of Authenticity.

2018 Limited Edition ‘60 Roasted Strat Heavy Relic®


PRESS RELEASE: Inspired by a classic 1960 Stratocaster and tweaked for modern players, the Limited Edition ‘60 Roasted Strat Heavy Relic begs to be picked up and played.

We started with a roasted alder body and ultra-stable quartersawn maple neck with a “ ‘60 Oval C”-shaped profile, ideal for almost any playing style. Then we roasted the wood, making it more resonant for enhanced sustain, and adding a delectable chocolate- like aesthetic.

The heavy Relic lacquer finish gives it the look and comfortable playing feel of a well-loved instrument that’s been in service for decades. Hot-rodded with a trio of hand-wound Ancho Poblano single-coil pickups—including a RWRP middle pickup to reduce hum— and Vintage Modified #2 wiring, this Strat sings with spicy, balanced tone that can make your music come alive in new ways.

The 12”-radius rosewood fingerboard features extra-rolled edges and wears 21 57110 super-jumbo frets for sublime playing feel. Other features include a nitro Tortoiseshell pickguard, 5- way pickup switch, American Vintage synchronised tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut and wing string tree with a metal spacer.

Offered in Aged Vintage White, Faded Aged Fiesta Red and Aged Black, these models include a deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.

2018 Limited Edition ’68 Paisley Strat® Relic®


PRESS RELEASE: A standout classic, the ‘68 Paisley instruments feature a bold, psychedelic-inspired aesthetic straight from the “flower power” era.

The Limited Edition ‘68 Paisley Strat Relic is an homage to these storied instruments, combining vintage-cool style with modern playability and tone. The two-piece alder body wears a Relic lacquer finish that will wear in a distinctly personal way.

The lightly tinted riftsawn maple neck sports a urethane finish and medium-tinted lacquer headstock face—just like the originals. The “C”-shaped profile is comfortable for any playing style and the 9.5”-radius round-lam maple fingerboard hosts 21 6105 frets.

The 3-ply, paisley covered Parchment pickguard hosts a trio of hand-wound single-coil pickups for authentic Fender tone: a Texas Special bridge pickup, RWRP Fat ‘50’s middle pickup to reduce hum and a ’69 neck pickup, all tied together with Vintage Modified #2 wiring.

Other features include an American Vintage synchronised tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut and wing string tree with a nylon spacer. Offered in Pink Paisley and Black Paisley, these models include a deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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