Our “Guitar of the Month” for November is a true work of art and craftsmanship. This Fender Telecaster Custom is a familiar classic hand-built and aged by one of Fender Custom Shop’s best known master luthiers, John Cruz.
The Master Builder
John Cruz started working at Fender in 1987 (the year the Custom Shop was founded) and joined the Custom Shop team in 1993. John’s passion and eye for detail led him to build guitars for top players such as Doug Aldrich (Dio, Whitesnake), Dave Amato and Bruce Hall (REO Speedwagon), Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Bono (U2), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Ike Turner, Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Jeff Beck, John Mayer and countless others.
He became a Master Builder in 2003 and is responsible for several famous Custom Shop instruments, including the replica of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s famous “Number One” Stratocaster, the Jeff Beck Esquire Relic (as used with the Yardbirds), the replica of Yngwie Malmsteen’s famous “Duck” Stratocaster, the John Mayer Limited Edition Black 1 Stratocaster and many others.
Pictured: John Cruz (centre) visiting Guitar Village in 2014.
In mid June 2015 we got in touch with our friends at Fender Custom Shop with a whole batch of guitars we had spec’d up ourselves. Included in that was a couple of Masterbuilt instruments. John Cruz’s reputation means he is an extremely respected and sought after luthier and consequently he has a long waiting list. The spec we drew up for this particular guitar wasn’t anything whacky or unusual. Our aim was to recreate this classic Telecaster with the very best materials and craftsmanship Fender had to offer and we knew we wanted John to do it.
A year later the guitar arrived and, WOW!..
It looked, felt and played just like a vintage Fender (except with the added bonus of having new frets!). The tone is that of a guitar that has mellowed with decades of playing – think of the classic bright honk of a Telecaster but with a smoother, less cutting top-end and warmer mids.
The Fender Custom Shop John Cruz Masterbuilt 1960 Tele Custom has a:
- double-bound, medium-weight ash body with authentic and unobtrusive ageing
- quarter-sawn maple neck that has been worn back to the bare wood with a dark tinted patina
- mid-60’s style Oval “C” neck profile
- 9.5″ radius rosewood fingerboard with twenty-one narrow jumbo frets
- handwound Custom Shop Telecaster single-coil pickup in the bridge and neck position
The package is rounded off with a Fender Custom Shop case and certificate of authenticity.