Fender and Jackson Custom Shops announce two new Master Builders

Fender and Jackson guitar headstocks
(Image credit: Future)

Fender and Jackson have announced they've recruited two new Master Builders.

Austin Macnutt – a self-professed “huge Fender fan” – will join the Fender Custom Shop cohort of Master Builders, while Pat Campolattano will link up with the Jackson team.

Macnutt’s appointment to Fender comes after the departure of Carlos Lopez, who left the company’s custom shop to establish his own electric guitar brand, Castedosa Guitars.

“To me, it doesn’t get any better than the Fender Custom Shop, and to be able to join the team as a Master Builder is truly a dream come true,” said Macnutt. “It’s a privilege and an honor and I feel extremely proud to be a part of the Dream Factory.” 

Austin Macnutt

Austin Macnutt (Image credit: Fender)

Macnutt began his guitar-building career at the Guitar Craft Academy in Hollywood, where he worked full-time as a teacher as soon as he graduated. He worked at the Academy for five years and during his time there met Ron Thorn – another Fender Master Builder – who recruited him for his own boutique brand, Thorn Guitars.

“From the first time I played my Dad’s 1963 Fender Jaguar as a kid, I’ve been a huge Fender fan,” Macnutt continued. “It feels like I’ve come full circle from that moment in my youth, strumming my Dad’s Jag, to now be building Fender guitars in the Custom Shop.”

Macnutt will join the rest of the Master Builder lineup, which comprises Dale Wilson, Paul Waller, Jason Smith, Todd Krause, Dennis Galuszka, Yuriy Shishkov, Greg Fessler, Ron Thorn, Kyle McMillin and Vincent Van Trigt.

Campolattano, meanwhile, is a Berklee College of Music Graduate who also has experience learning at the Guitar Craft Academy. Upon graduation, he worked for a “well-known boutique builder”, and throughout his career has produced instruments for The Smashing Pumpkins, Megadeth, Exodus, Neil Young, Rival Sons, Scott Ian, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Skid Row and more.

Pat Campolattano

Pat Campolattano (Image credit: Fender)

“Having any position in this elite team is a massive honor,” he commented. “The legendary Mike Shannon left an unfillable void, but I will do my part to the best of my ability. After meeting with Mike and everyone here, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

“The biggest rewards have been education, creative freedom, and the ability to build anything for customers around the world,” Campolattano continued. “That’s why I’m here, and I look forward to the future.’

He will join fellow Master Builders Dave Nichols and Joe Williams.

For more information, head over to Fender or Jackson.

Earlier this year, Fender unveiled its Prestige Collection of one-of-a-kind Master Built instruments, which were all created in the Fender Custom Shop by its current crop of Master Builders.

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Matt Owen

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.