Fender has gone Custom Shop mad with its 2022 Masterbuilt collection, taking its associated brands – Jackson, Gretsch and Charvel – along for the ride, and turning out some of its most head-turning electric guitar and bass models yet.
The Charvel USA Custom Shop has lifted the curtain on four show-stoppers of its own: the San Dimas Reflector, Spacecaster, San Dimas Gold Leaf Flames and a US-built take on Frank Bello’s Signature So-Cal Bass.
The Bello bass is made to order, but the three guitars are one-of-a-kind, so you’d best get in touch with the Charvel Custom Shop ASAP if these designs set your heart (and wallet) ablaze.
Anyhoo, here’s a closer look at these four Charvellian masterworks…
Charvel Custom Shop San Dimas Reflector, Masterbuilt by Big Rob Knowles ($6,599)
No need to play spot the difference here; it’s the dotty finish that sets this SuperStrat apart from regular San Dimas models. The entire guitar is painted black aside from the exposed red reflective material, which forms the randomly sized dots.
The quartersawn maple neck is bound with red sparkle binding, while its dot inlays utilize the same reflective material as the body.
More conventional specs include Luminlay side dots, a top-mounted Floyd Rose tremolo, Schaller tuners and a single push/pull pickup selector for the Seymour Duncan SH2 and TB4 pickup pairing.
Charvel Custom Shop Spacecaster, Black with Purple/Green Flip Flop Bevels, Masterbuilt by “Metal” Joe Williams ($7,399)
You might recall seeing a flip-flop finish on John Mayer’s Nebula PRS Silver Sky, but the concept is taken to intergalactic heights with this Joe Williams design, which contrasts Brian Bock-designed flip-flop bevels with a black-finished mahogany body.
Enhancing the look of the UFO-themed Spacecaster is a Jackson Roswell headstock, as well as crop circle inlays, built from abalone to match the flip-flop bevels.
Hardware and pickup options are more of this Earth, with a hipshot hardtail bridge, single volume control and upper horn-mounted toggle switch, while a direct-mount DiMarzio X2N and slanted HS-3 provide the tones.
This looks amazing, and there simply aren’t enough high-performance offsets on the market, if you ask us. A new Surfcaster line, around $1k, ideally with a model that replicates this design would do nicely. You listening, Fender?
Charvel Custom Shop San Dimas, Custom Gold Leaf Flames Artwork by Brian Bock, Masterbuilt by “Red” Dave Nichols ($7,499)
Vrrm vrrm! Flames have been a common fixture in the annual Fender Custom Shop calendar, but trust Charvel’s Master Builders to take it one step further.
This red-hot San Dimas gets its name from the machine-turned gold leaf and hand-painted flames on the guitar’s alder body and headstock, courtesy of Brian Bock.
Appropriately enough, the neck is composed of caramelized flame maple, while the hardware – which includes a gold recessed Floyd Rose Original double-locking tremolo – is gold, gold, gold.
The only thing preventing this guitar from spontaneously combusting is the inclusion of a DiMarzio Rainmaker neck pickup, while a Dreamcatcher handles bridge duties.
Charvel Custom Shop So-Cal Bass, Frank Bello Signature Model, Masterbuilt by Pasquale Campolattano ($5,999)
The Anthrax man’s bass is one of the flashier low-end offerings in the Charvel stable, and this USA-built model pays homage to Bello and Charvel’s longstanding history.
Its quartersawn maple neck features block inlays, hipshot tuners and a brass nut. Meanwhile, the gloss black alder body includes Bello’s custom-designed EMG pickup set, a Hipshot Hi-Mass bridge and, of course, that custom mirrored pickguard. Meow.