Fender American Design Experience Goes Online

I Heart GuitarOne of the absolute coolest things about my visit to Fender a few years ago was checking out the Fender American Design Experience, a section of the Fender Visitor Center in Corona, California where you could go in and select the parts to build your own personalised guitar or bass. It’s not quite Custom Shop but certainly more personal than a regular production guitar. And now Fender has taken this experience online, allowing you to configure your own Strat, Telecaster, Precision Bass or Jazz Bass from a wide range of options, then have the guitar built and sent out to you all for a pretty dang affordable price. You can make your own design from scratch or use various artist-designed models as your jumping-off point. I used the Configurator to whip up a 65-influenced Strat with Texas Special pickups and a left-handed neck. Oh and I also made a little tribute to the Frank Zappa/Jimi Hendrix Strat in its ‘pre-restored’ configuration. And a tribute to David Gilmour’s #0001 Stratocaster. And a Richie Kotzen-esque Strat. And a couple of SRV-ish ones (one with a rosewood fretboard, one with maple). And a red, humbucker-loaded vintage/modern hybrid something-or-other. And a sunburst-and-gold Telecaster. And on and on. Here they are, followed by the press release.


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The Fender American Design Experience

I love my Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster Reissue. And I’ve been blown away by pretty much every single Fender Custom Shop instrument I’ve had the pleasure to play. But you may not know that Fender offers a unique experience which falls somewhere in between these two instrument lines. The Fender American Design Experience is a service offered at the Fender Visitor Center at the factory in Corona, California, where visitors can select the individual components to make up their very own custom guitar.

Fender has dozens of bodies, necks and pickguard configurations on display in the American Design Experience room, and the helpful staff will talk you through the various options and their respective qualities: neck shape, fret size, wood type, pickups, switching configurations, etc. There are plenty of bodies on display, and Fender’s paint shop even provides unique one-off finishes that will never be seen on a production line Fender guitar. The guitar is then assembled at Fender, and delivered to its new owner in less than a month, complete with certificate of authenticity.

I snapped the pics below when I visited the factory in January.