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Custom Shop Master Builder Carlos Lopez leaves Fender

Carlos Lopez, one of the Fender Custom Shop’s Master Builders, has announced he is leaving the firm, saying he plans to “continue this journey on my own.”

During his time with the Custom Shop, Lopez contributed to builds for Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Robbie Robertson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Robin Trower, as well as a host of his own creations based on oddballs in the Fender back catalogue, like the Electric XII and Marauder

Lopez made the announcement in a post on his Instagram profile, alongside a picture of his stunning final build – a sparkle-finish Starcaster. 

“My last Waltz,” said the builder. “Thank you everyone for all the support through the years. I have made the decision to continue this Journey on my own. I don’t know what that looks like but I’m optimistic to my future of stepping into the unknown with open arms. 

“Thank you to everyone that supported me through the years, 16 years to be exact. I am Humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work for the biggest guitar manufacturing company in the world.”

The luthier studied on the Musician’s Institute Guitar Craft program and graduated in 2006. He was hired by Fender soon after and has spent his entire career with the brand to date, becoming an Apprentice Master Builder to Todd Krause back in 2017 and finally gaining the prestigious Master Builder title in 2019.

At the time, Lopez commented: “I have had the opportunity to learn and be mentored from the best of the best throughout my professional career. I can’t put into words how special it is to be a part of such an iconic brand with some of the finest builders in the world.”

Lopez has worked not issued any details on his post-Fender plans yet, but it seems we can assume from his hints above that he doesn’t plan to leave the industry entirely. We look forward to seeing what he does next…

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.