Skip to main content

Fender Custom Shop Celebrates 30th Anniversary with New Documentary

(Image credit: Henry Diltz)

Fender has released a new 10-minute documentary about the genesis of the Fender Custom Shop, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. You can watch it below.

The clip, which is titled "Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary," utilizes archival footage and photos alongside new interviews with the founding master builders who brought the historic shop to life: Michael Stevens, John Page, George Blanda, Fred Stuart, J.W. Black, Mark Kendrick, Alan Hamel and Gene Baker.

“'The Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary' allows fans to experience the Fender Custom Shop story in a way it has never been told—raw and straight from the source,” says Mike Lewis, the Custom Shop's vice president of product development.

“We’re proud to share the story of Custom Shop as a way to immortalize each builder’s talent, creativity and contribution to the overall Fender brand legacy.”

Over the course of a month, the crew filmed footage across three states, visiting John Page and J.W. Black at their workshops in Oregon and Michael Stevens at his shop in Texas. The remainder of the founding master builders came together at the Fender Custom Shop at Fender’s Corona, California, factory. Photographer Henry Diltz joined the crew to capture portraits of each founding master builder and their Founders Design anniversary guitars.

"The Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary" has been released in tandem with the Fender Custom Shop’s Founders Design Project: eight guitars, each designed by one of the builders featured in the documentary. Only 30 units of each design will be built in Corona and released throughout 2017, starting this month, at select dealers.

For more about the project, head here.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.