Fender Custom Shop: Buying Nostalgia?

12 Apr

(Photo Credit: www.fendercustomshop.com)

#1: Why would you buy a beat up guitar for more than double the price of a regular brand new one? This is the question many guitarists have been asking themselves ever since the Fender Custom Shop came out in 1991 (Then called the Fender Custom Amp Shop).

The Fender Custom Shop builds guitars that echo the 50’s and 60’s era when Fender was getting big. Today the Shop employs Master Guitar Builders to make whatever the customer wants and applies it to a Fender Guitar, mostly always including a process called “Relicing”. Relicing refers to the treatment the guitars receive in order to look like they have been played for 40 years or so. It’s not just the look but the quality built into each guitar. The guitars not only look the part of a 60’s Strat, they sound just as good if not better than their ancestors. Even well known players like John Mayer had his famous Back1 Guitar (Shown in picture) made in the Custom Shop. Now Fender is selling a limited run of 83 John Mayer Black1’s at a premium price.

But are you buying fake nostalgia? Shouldn’t you play your guitar for years and earn all those scratches and dings yourself? Fender has created a market that embodies the coolness factor of vintage. Even the logo which uses a Cadillac style “V” creates their brand identity that is synonymous with style and quality.

Over time Fender has been ridiculed for selling “fake nostalgia” but no one can deny the success they have gained in this niche market. People will pay for quality if done right and the branding of quality and exclusivity of Fender Custom Shop shines through in this category.

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