In celebration of Fender Custom Shop’s 30th anniversary milestone, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) releases an exclusive, 10-minute documentary about the genesis of the renowned Fender Custom Shop – known as the “Dream Factory.”
Photo: Henry Diltz
Told through the eyes of eight trailblazing luthiers who helped elevate the Custom Shop to worldwide acclaim, the Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary intercuts archival footage and photos alongside present day interviews with the influential Founding Master Builders who brought the historic shop to life: Michael Stevens, John Page, George Blanda, Fred Stuart, J.W. Black, Mark Kendrick, Alan Hamel and Gene Baker.
The documentary reflects the lifelong passion each Founding Master Builder holds for Fender and creating guitars. The filmmakers utilized an unfiltered approach to capture each builder in their purest and most-honest state. The story of Fender Custom Shop now breathes through the experiences of some of its Founding Master Builders whose one-of-a-kind handcrafted creations remain as legendary today as the icons who wielded them throughout history including: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and many more.
“The Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary allows fans to experience the Fender Custom Shop story in a way it has never been told – raw and straight from the source,” said Mike Lewis, Vice President Product Development, Fender Custom Shop. “We’re proud to share the story of Fender Custom Shop as a way to immortalize each builder’s talent, creativity, and contribution to the overall Fender brand legacy.”
Over the course of one month, the crew filmed footage across three states, visiting John Page and J.W. Black at their home workshops in the Oregon forest and Michael Stevens at his shop in the picturesque Texas countryside. The remainder of the Founding Master Builders came together at the present day Fender Custom Shop at Fender’s Corona, Calif. factory where they reminisced and shared stories from the early days. Henry Diltz, a legendary rock photographer and partner at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, joined the film crew to capture portraits of each Founding Master Builder and their Founders Design anniversary guitars through his lens. What resulted from the filming process was an unearthing of countless memories, archival photos and video of these Founding Master Builders, preserving a piece of Fender’s most-valuable history. Chronicling the milestones and what Fender Custom Shop has come to stand for through the years, the documentary will take fans on a journey – starting with the early days in Michael Stevens’ garage – and key successes that took the Shop to the next level, and closing with continuing the legend and bringing the band of Founding Master Builders back together.
The Fender Custom Shop Founders Design 30th Anniversary Documentary is released in tandem with Fender Custom Shop’s Founders Design Project: eight guitars, each designed by one of eight visionary Founding Master Builders featured in the documentary. One of the most exclusive and coveted collections in the Shop’s history, only 30 units of each design will be built by a team of artisans at Fender Custom Shop in Corona, Calif. and released throughout 2017 beginning in March at select dealers.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender Custom Shop and Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com or www.fendercustomshop.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender and @Fendercustomshop.