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Fender ups the ante with five Mid-Year Collection Stratocaster and Telecaster models

Fender Limited Edition 2022 electric guitar
(Image credit: Fender)

After dropping 13 Masterbuilt electric guitars, the Fender Custom Shop has maintained its momentum by unveiling five limited-edition Stratocaster and Telecaster models as part of its Mid-Year Collection launch.

Bringing to the table a range of vintage aesthetics, classic designs and varying levels of artificial aging, the quintet is said to showcase “the latest innovations and developments” to leave the Fender Custom Shop.

It’s a mission statement that rings true: among the mix are numerous versatile control layouts, ranging from the Reverse Esquire’s Cocked-Wah wiring to the Tomatillo Tele’s modified ‘51 Nocaster circuit that can be swapped out for an included alternative control assembly.

There are also a handful of compound radius fretboards, unusual pickup pairings and intriguing wood choices, too, making this an eyebrow-raising drop indeed.

To find out more, cast your gaze below.

Fender Limited Edition '67 HSS Stratocaster Journeyman Relic with Closet Classic Hardware

In no particular order, first up is the HSS-configured ‘67 Stratocaster, which pays tribute to a “momentous” year for the Big F’s flagship double-cut model. In an effort to harness the spirit of “excitement and creativity”, the Strat sports the core of a ‘67 model but introduces a handful of contemporary custom shop tweaks.

The spec sheet is headed up by a two-piece select alder body with a Journeyman Relic Lacquer finish – in either Aged Vintage White, Faded Aged Blue Ice Metallic or Three-Color Sunburst – as well as a quarter-sawn maple neck.

Atop the ‘65 C-profile neck sits a 9.5” radius round-lam rosewood fretboard with parchment binding, 21 jumbo frets and mother of pearl dot inlays. As the name suggests, it also features closet classic hardware – a finishing technique that applies only subtle signs of supposed wear and tear, if any.

The ‘67 HSS Stratocaster will be available for $5,125.

Fender Limited Edition Dual P-90 Stratocaster Deluxe Closet Classic

The second closet classic Strat on the list is the Dual P-90 iteration, which aims to assimilate traditional Fender feel with the familiar warmth of the P-90 pickup. Another notable appointment aside from the Fat ‘50s pickups is the body – it’s fashioned from vintage Michigan mahogany, which is treated to subtle aging.

Elsewhere, it sports a roasted quarter-sawn maple neck and a 12” radius round-lam rosewood ‘board, which is adorned with 21 jumbo frets, as well as a control layout comprising master volume and tone controls, and a three-way switch.

Fender’s limited edition closet classic Dual P-90 Strat will be available for $4,700, and can be obtained in Tobacco Sunburst, Aged Butterscotch Blonde or Burnt Copper.

Fender Limited Edition Tomatillo Stratocaster Special Journeyman Relic

Moving on from the modernist tendencies of the above, the third and final Strat of the drop is the Tomatillo Strat Special Journeyman Relic model. A classically styled Strat with three single-coils at its core, the guitar features a two-piece alder body with a more distinct Journeyman relic’d finish.

Specifically, the six-string sports hand-wound Tomatillo single-coils in the neck and middle pickups – the middle is reversed wound for hum elimination – and an Ancho Poblano bridge single-coil, all of which answer to the versatile Blender wiring.

The build also boasts a one-piece rift-sawn maple neck – offering an off-center V profile – and a compound-radius fretboard topped with 21 narrow tall frets that moves from 7.25” to 9.5”. Other notable specs include vintage-style tuning machines, a three-ply parchment pickguard and a bone nut, as well as a vintage synchronized tremolo.

The guitar offers three color options – Tomatillo Green, Super Faded Aged Shell Pink and Super Faded Aged Sonic Blue – and will be available for $4,950.

Fender Limited Edition Tomatillo Telecaster Custom Relic

Moving onto Telecasters, Fender has paired the above Strat with a Tomatillo single-cut six-string, which is headed up by a two-piece select ash body, one-piece soft V-profile 2A flame maple neck and a 7.25”-9.5” compound radius fretboard with 21 narrow tall frets.

Other specs worthy of a shoutout include the reverse Nocaster bridge with Custom Shop RSD compensated brass saddles – supposedly for better intonation – and two all-new hand-wound Tomatillo Tele pickups.

The above pickups are controlled by a modified ‘51 Nocaster wiring layout, which allows for dynamic pickup blending, with the guitar also arriving with a retrofittable modern Fat ‘50s Tele control assembly accessory kit.

Again, three colors are on the menu: Bleached Three-Color sunburst, Aged Teal Green Metallic and Super Faded Aged Lake Placid Blue, with the guitar carrying a $5,475 price tag.

Fender Limited Edition Reverse Esquire Heavy Relic

Rounding things off is the heavy relic Reverse Esquire. Offering some appropriately applied relic and a choice of three colorways – Aged White Blonde, Aged Black and Aged Cimarron Red – the Esquire is dubbed an “imaginatively feature-filled return to Fender’s very first Spanish-style electric guitar”.

It's the electronics that steal the show here. The Esquire has a single Custom Shop hand-wound ‘50/’51 Blackguard pickup – styled to the earliest spec known – which is built using larger magnets and thinner wire to tap into a lively sound with improved “touch tone” dynamics.

This pickup is mounted at a reverse angle for “fatter highs and tighter bass”, and has a three-way switch that is attached to a Cocked-Wah Esquire wiring layout. In practice, there is a fixed tone cap on the forward switch position, meaning the guitar delivers a wah pedal-esque tone in mid-travel.

The Reverse Esquire is available for $4,750.

There's been no word on when the above instruments will be available, but it has been confirmed they will only be sold by authorized Fender Custom Shop showcase dealers.

To find out more, visit Fender Custom Shop (opens in new tab).

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.