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 (opens in new tab).

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.