After lifting the curtain on its 2023 Prestige Collection, the Fender Custom Shop has now unveiled its Masterbuilt California Streetwoods electric guitar and bass guitar lineup.
The range itself continues the Custom Shop’s mammoth mid-year guitar-building activities that have been established in previous years, and builds on the precedent set by Fender’s Master Builders, who come together each year to curate a collection based on a singular focus.
While 2021 was the year of the ‘Surf Green with Envy Collection’, and 2022 saw the arrival of the ‘Hot Wheels Collection’, this year is all about sustainability.
Specifically, the California Streetwoods models were made in collaboration with John Mahoney and Street Tree Revival – an urban wood recycling program that works to ensure trees don’t end up in landfills.
As such, the guitars included in the drop have all been made using reclaimed lumber that has been salvaged from storm-damaged trees, disease or deteriorated wood, and urban timber.
The results, as you can imagine, are quite unique. The unorthodox combination of tonewoods contributes to a none-more-natural vibe, with Fender’s Master Builders also taking the opportunity to pair peculiar builds with unconventional spec sheets, all in an effort to “highlight the distinctive qualities of these incredible woods”.
In the Strat department, highlights include Dennis Galuszka’s Ficus Green Wash effort, which makes use of a ficus wood body, V-profile maple neck, oversized headstock and a sole Novak humbucker in the bridge position – all of which gives it the appearance of a rogue Tom DeLonge signature guitar.
Shoutout must also go to Custom Shop apprentice Dylan Del Pizzo, whose heavily relic’d Black Walnut Strat holds its own against the creations of the seasoned Master Builders with its walnut body and wooden pickguard.
Perhaps the most ornate Strat of the bunch, though, is Yuriy Shishkov’s Green Tea Burst Shamel Ash offering. Composed from wood salvaged from Disneyland, the guitar also has a Chinese Pistache fretboard that contains flavonoids – in other words, that means the fretboard glows green under black light.
As for single-cuts, Kyle McMillin’s elm-bodied, bookmatched silver maple-topped Telecaster arguably boasts the most striking cosmetics, while Andy Hicks’ Shou Sugi Ban Redwood Esquire might be the tastiest-looking single-pickup single-cut you’ll see from Fender all year.
Notably, Hicks’ Esquire employs the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban practice of burning and treating wood with oil to improve its longevity and appearance, resulting in a guitar that hopes to “remind us of our responsibility to protect them and raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation”.
A Cabronita has also been tabled by Dave Brown, who opted for an elm top, pear tree neck and a standard ash body while on his quest to “reintroduce the Cabronita Especial into the line as a Masterbuilt instrument”.
A handful of bass models have also made the cut, including a Himalayan Cedar P Bass built by Vincent Van Trigt. Apparently, this model quite literally smells as good as it looks, thanks to the natural “mesmerizing fragrance” of the wood, which was sourced from a tree on Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena.
All of the above models are on-of-a-kind. To find out more, visit the Fender Custom Shop.