It’s March, which means it’s that time of year again when the Fender Custom Shop Master Builders band together to create a range of unique, one-of-a-kind electric guitars under the Prestige Collection umbrella.
As is the case every year, the 2022 installment features some truly eye-popping six-strings. With a heavy emphasis on Telecasters, the Collection contains only one Stratocaster model, a sole bass guitar and two offsets, all of which sport a range of stand-out specs.
From the dazzling artwork of Greg Fessler’s Ghost Town Tele and Jason Smith’s Electric Sea Gems Esquire, to Ron Thorn’s elegant Hawaiian Dream Resonator and Yuriy Shishkov’s ornate quilted ‘60s Strat, the 2022 Prestige Collection isn’t short of show-stopping six-strings.
And, for this year, the Masterbuilt models will be joined by a run of limited-edition Annual Collection guitars, which boast Fender's “latest innovations and developments” – including pickup design, wiring, finish processes and more.
Read on to find out all you need to know about Fender’s Prestige and Annual collections.
Greg Fessler Prestige Ghost Town Telecaster
Greg Fessler’s build takes inspiration from fellow Master Builder Dale Wilson’s travels to South West "ghost towns", and sports an eye-catching artwork that was composed by artist Dave Newman. The Ghost Town-themed design sits atop a pre-distressed ash body, and is partnered with some hand-wound Josefina Campos and Merle Haggard electronics.
The Ghost Town Tele is available for $17,500.
Dennis Galuszka Prestige Moto Jazzmaster
Next up is Dennis Galuszka’s Moto Jazzmaster. The offset model pays homage to “all things pearloid," and was made in partnership with founding Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Fred Stuart. Highlights include the Bronze Sunburst Moto covering, Curtis Novak Wide-Range Jazzmaster pickups and roasted quartersawn maple neck.
Galuszka's Jazzmaster is available for $15,000.
Todd Krause Prestige Jazzmaster
The second offset in the drop comes from Todd Krause, who attempted to create a “modern version” of the classic design. The streamlined six-string features a small pickguard and Olympic White finish, as well as a roasted rift sawn maple neck and rear-loaded electronics.
The Jazzmaster is available for $11,250.
Kyle McMillin Prestige Thinline Telecaster
Kyle McMillin’s Thinline Telecaster is an ode to an abalone shell pickguard the Master Builder has “cherished for years." The custom abalone veneer pickguard is paired with side dots and a headstock Fender logo of the same material, and lines up alongside a Satin Tobacco Burst-finished Tasmanian blackwood body with black top binding.
McMillin's Thinline Tele carries a price tag of $11,000.
Yuriy Shishkov Prestige Quilted '60s Stratocaster
The only Stratocaster of the drop is Yuriy Shishkov’s Quilted ‘60s model. As the name implies, the guitar flashes a 4A quilted maple top over a select roasted ash body, as well as Josefina Campos hand-wound pickups, gold hardware and a deep purple finish.
Shishkov's 2022 Prestige Collection Strat weighs in at $9,500.
Jason Smith Prestige Electric Sea Gems Esquire
Up next is Jason Smith’s eye-grabbing Electric Sea Gems Esquire. Smith, who is the frontman for Echovox, had commissioned artist Laura Bennett to create his band’s album cover art, and it’s this piece of art that inspired the Esquire.
Specs include a two-piece select alder body, quartersawn maple neck and heavily rolled fretboard edges, which promise a more comfortable, vintage feel.
The Electric Sea Gems Esquire is available for $13,000.
Ron Thorn Prestige Hawaiian Dream Resonator
Ron Thorn’s luxurious Hawaiian Dream Resonator was built in celebration of the state's “rich musical heritage and love of slide and steel guitars," and sports a Tele body shape composed from koa. The thick wood promises additional volume and projection from a hand-spun resonator cone, which works in tandem with an active preamp.
Other highlights include the Hawaiian flower fretboard inlays in a selection of pearl, abalone and semi-precious stones, as well as the Thorn hand-engraved bronze-plated brass top.
The Hawaiian Dream will set you back an eye-watering $36,500.
Vincent Van Trigt 1952 Peacock Precision Bass
Vincent Van Trigt has built the only bass of the bunch: the Peacock Precision Bass, which is seen as a spiritual sequel to the Flamingo Telecaster he created for last year’s Prestige Collection. Once again, Van Trigt worked with aviary enthusiast Ian Ward for the build, which features Ward’s artwork and inlays, Josefina Campos hand-wound pickups and custom mounted rings.
There’s also a reversed headstock, which is a nod to the late ZZ Top bassist, Dusty Hill.
It's available for $22,500.
Paul Waller Prestige Saint John's Skeleton Telecaster
Last but not least is Paul Waller’s Skeleton Telecaster. Boasting artwork from oil/canvas painter David Kassan, the spooky six-string sports a painting inspired by a skeleton of the Saint John the Divine Cathedral in New York.
According to Kassan, “This has the profound potential to wake us up and breathe more life into our lives. In this case, the Telecaster is the ossuary for all of my decisions to create this work. It embodies/absorbed all of my success as well as my failures in painting it.”
Waller's Saint John's Skeleton Tele is available for $21,500.
Fender Limited Edition Annual Collection
This year, the Masterbuilt models are joined by a handful of limited-edition Annual Collection models, which, as previously mentioned, offer insights into Fender's latest innovations and developments.
Stand-out models include the T.V. Jones-equipped, 500K pot-loaded Caballo Tono Ligero Relic Telecaster, as well as the HS-configured Custom Relic Tele, which features a humbucker in the neck position and single-coil in the bridge.
The Annual Collection also contains the Red Hot Strat Super Heavy Relic, which arrives with Red Hot Strat pickups and a vintage modified wiring with a Greasebucket tone circuit.
To find out more, head over to the Fender Custom Shop.