A few US guitar sites have already started listing the new Fender Custom Shop models that are to be officially released at NAMM. It turns out they are mainly Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, as well as Precision and Jazz basses at the moment. As yet, there don’t seem to be many offsets or more ‘out there’ guitars yet…
Fender officially release a new lineup of Custom Shop instruments every year the the NAMM show and this year will be no different. Wildwood guitars and Music Zoo in the USA today published a whole load of information about the new instruments, and all of them are listed as 2016 Custom Shop models. This should give a us all a good idea of what to expect at the NAMM show launch in a few weeks time.
I do like some of the colour options, and as usual Fender have done many ‘60s ‘Heavy Relic’ guitars, which in my opinion is a bit predictable. I feel that the whole ‘Relic’ guitars idea is getting a bit boring nowadays. I suppose they must sell though, and Fender need to make money.
There is a really interesting “Smugglers” Telecaster, originally made in late 1967. Fender had a problem finding lightweight ash for Tele bodies, and experimented with what is known as a “Smugglers” Tele body with a heavier sort of ash. The body was routed somewhat like a Thinline Telecaster, with major wood areas removed underneath the pickguard. Most owners didn’t even know they had a “Smugglers” Tele until they removed the pickguard.
Also, a very tasty looking ‘Journeyman Jazz Bass’ (which unfortunately is also a relic) also caught my eye. There are also a couple of spalted maple, figured mahogany and walnut Strats and Teles which are an interesting look and not ones that have been done that often in the past.
So hopefully the NAMM show will have a few more surprises in store, as for me the new lineup is a bit lacklustre and safe. I expect the Custom Shop to be pushing boundaries and taking risks, so hopefully they will do just that.