How Fender built Mike McCready’s Custom Shop Strat, one of its most intricate replicas yet

Mike McCready
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Generally speaking, a signature guitar model offers fans an opportunity to learn more about an iconic instrument – from the woods to the electronics to the appointments – used by their favorite player and on some of their favorite songs.  

But in the case of Fender’s new Custom Shop replica of Mike McCready’s famed 1959 Stratocaster, it was the artist himself who learned something new – for starters, that the guitar was actually built in 1960. “I was shocked,” McCready says with a laugh. “It was like, ‘Was it all a lie? What happened?’ ”  

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.