“The most unique finish Fender makes”: Fender’s new Waste Bucket Sparkle guitars turn trash into treasure

Fender Custom Shop ‘Chicago Special’ Waste Bucket Sparkle finish
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender Custom Shop and retailer Chicago Music Exchange have revealed a new collaboration: three electric guitars – among them a Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster – finished in Waste Bucket Sparkle. 

The effect is achieved by using the leftover mix of excess paint that is created when the Custom Shop sprays its regular sparkle finishes. This might normally go to waste, but here the firm has found a far better use for it.

The underlying mix obviously changes depending on the waste paint that is fed into the pot at the time of use and, as such, it’s being pitched by Chicago Music Exchange as unique among Fender’s lineup, with no two models quite the same.

“We wondered, ‘What would that look like as a finish on our favorite Fender guitars?’ says Chicago Music Exchange. 

“The results were stunning, to say the least, with each guitar painted with material from this bucket getting its own unique combination, making it so that no two of them are exactly alike! This is the most unique finish Fender makes!”

Those “favorite Fender guitars” are, specifically, a trio of the retailer’s custom-spec’d “Chicago Special” builds, including a 1955 Ash Stratocaster, 1955 Ash Telecaster and 1962 Jazzmaster.

Alongside a faithfully vintage build from the Custom Shop, all three models feature hand-wound Chicago Special pickups, plus Fender’s ‘Journeyman Relic’ level of light ageing, which the firm summarises as “used but not abused… a very lucky find.”

Our pick – based on the pictures – has to be the Jazzmaster, which is the only one to feature a matching headstock. Alas, it seems we have expensive tastes...

Fender Custom Shop ‘Chicago Special’ Waste Bucket Sparkle finish Jazzmaster body

(Image credit: Fender)

Prices start at $5,960 for the Telecaster, rising to $6,000 for the Stratocaster and $7,000 for the Jazzmaster.

Earlier this year, a more genuinely road-worn bit of guitar gear appeared on the Chicago Music Exchange shelves in the form of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Tube Screamer.

For more information on the Chicago Special Waste Bucket Sparkle models, head to Chicago Music Exchange.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists 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.