The very first Fiesta Red Fender ever

Recently while at the Fender factory and Visitor Center in Corona, California I stumbled upon this little beauty: the very first Fiesta Red Fender guitar ever. It’s a 1957 Jazzmaster prototype, and not only was this the first Fiesta Red guitar, this very guitar was also the first ever Fender to feature a custom colour. And if that doesn’t make it historic enough, Fender’s George Fullerton later added an experimental neck with a round-laminated fretboard made of lacquer-coated black vulcanised fiber – the same stuff used to make pickup bobbins.

 

Here’s some more info on the guitar from Fender.

 

We get so used to thinking of guitars as these commodities, mass-produced items that you can see half a dozen of lined up at your local store. But stuff like this particular Jazzmaster, and like visiting the Fender factory in general, reminds me that each one is a unique instrument with tonal properties particular to the individual pieces of wood, the individual trees, that they were made from. And then when you think that before this instrument was made there was no such thing as a Fiesta Red Fender, and that this is the actual first one to ever feature this finish – it all just makes it hit home that little bit harder, the history of this wonderful instrument that we all (if you’re reading this site) use to express ourselves.

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.

design1

design3

design2

designg6

designg5

designg4

designg3

designg2

designg1

 

 

Today I met a legend!

Today I went to the Fender factory and Visitor Center at Corona, California. Had a great time checking out the Custom Shop and all the cool stuff at the Visitor Center (did you know you can design a guitar there at the Fender American Design section,¬†with whatever finish you like, and probably get it much sooner than a Custom Shop instrument?). I’ll post a full factory tour article soon, but in the meantime, here’s a highlight: I met Abigail Ybarra, who was hired by Fender in 1956, and she still winds pickups in the Custom Shop today. Awesome. Abigail is living Fender history and many players proudly proclaim that they play pickups wound by her.