Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on teaming up with Fender to recreate his prized 1960 Stratocaster

Pearl Jam
(Image credit: Danny Clinch)

On their own respective accords, the words ‘custom’ and ‘shop’ are both very lucrative terms to any dedicated guitarist. Put them together, however, and watch the ears of any shredder with a spending problem prick up faster than a labrador at dinnertime. The Fender Custom Shop is a venerable Valhalla for gear nerds, with some of the world’s best luthiers forging monumental works of amp-ready art on the daily. And one extremely popular aspect of their craftsmanship lies in the recreation of classic guitars made iconic by some of music’s most illustrious names. Like, for example, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

After knocking it out of the park with his riffs on last year’s critically adored Gigaton album, McCready is continuing his six-stringed lightning streak with a (super limited) Custom Shop build of his classic 1959 Stratocaster… Or, well, so was the intention. Y’see, McCready bought the guitar in 1991, enamoured by the virtuosic playing of Stevie Ray Vaughan on his own ’59 Strat. And by all reasonable knowledge, McCready thought he was picking up the exact same model – that’s what it said on the tag, at least. But only after Fender borrowed the guitar to spec it up this year that it came to light his Strat was actually a 1960 model. 

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…