The Past and Present Members of the Fender Family
The majority of the past and present Fender Custom Shop master builders were interviewed in detail for this book over 5 years. Consequently, Part 2 of ANNIVERSARY STRAT incorporates 25 mini biographies that share the fascinating personal stories of the Fender Custom Shop master builders, artists, and master pickup winders illustrated below. These images are just a small selection of the old and more recent photos that feature in Part 2 of ANNIVERSARY STRAT.
For more information about the author visit www.garydavies.com
Click on any photo to see a larger version - Gary Davies
Gene Baker captured on film by one of his colleagues back in his days at the Custom Shop. Courtesy of Art Esparza.
Scott Buehl at the Fender Custom Shop. The guitar hanging on the wall concealed under a black cover is the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Stratocaster. Photo by Gary Davies.
Master pickup winder Josefina Campos pictured in her cubicle at the Fender Custom Shop in August 2016. Photo by Gary Davies.
Custom Shop master builder John Cruz playing the Gary Moore Stratocaster prototype at the 5th Annual Gary Moore Memorial Concert in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Krisztián Mezei.
Art Esparza playing sax at Lopez Lake, California. Photo by Gary Davies.
Ralph Esposito on stage doing his thing and obviously enjoying every single minute at Fret Fest 2009, Anaheim, California. Photo by Laura Solano Hedgpeth.
Greg Fessler holding a Fiesta Red Stratocaster with gold hardware that he had just completed, ready for the strings to be installed. Photo by Gary Davies.
Chris Fleming Senior Master Builder, Fender Build Standards Director, mentor, manufacturing troubleshooter, and new product introduction specialist. Fender Musical Instrument Corporation.
Master builder Dennis Galuszka working on a Telecaster body at the Fender Custom Shop in August 2016, before all the workspaces got a makeover. Photo by Gary Davies.
Scott Grant checking out a 1988 40th Anniversary Telecaster in Honey Violin Transparent. This Limited Edition model is the first sizeable run to have shipped from the Custom Shop. Courtesy of Michael Stevens.
Anniversary Alan Hamel Founders Design Sparkle Telecasters made by Fender’s artisans at the Custom Shop. Courtesy of Fender. Photo by Henry Diltz.
Pamelina H pictured in her studio when the author and his wife paid her a visit on August 28, 2016. Photo by Gary Davies.
Mark Kendrick pictured in 2017 with his Golden Teal Sparkle Burst 30th Anniversary Founders Design Stratocaster. Courtesy of Fender. Photo by Henry Diltz.
Senior master builder Todd Krause (left) and the author pictured at the Custom Shop in 2016. On reflection the author thinks he should have grabbed a few guitar boxes to stand on. Photo by Linda Davies.
Kyle McMillin who officially became a Fender master builder on March 5, 2018, holding the bodies of two NAMM guitars he was working on in November 2018. The one on the left is a Telecaster-style bass, which was in the design stage when Kyle first spoke with this author in May 2018. Courtesy of Kyle McMillin.
This instrument utilizes John Page’s own brand of JP Woodtone saddles that help to give the instrument the more acoustic-type character he was looking for. Courtesy of Fender. Photo by Henry Diltz.
Principal master builder Yuriy Shishkov holding the unfinished body of the Studioliner Stratocaster. Photo by Gary Davies.
The author with Jason Smith (left) and George Blanda (right) after interrupting their conversation to make their acquaintance at the Fender Custom Shop on August 24, 2016. Photo by Linda Davies.
Senior master builder/Gretsch Custom Shop manager Stephen Stern can still be seen at work in the shop. Photo by Gary Davies.
Michael holding a Stevens LJ model, which he named in memory of his friend Larry Jameson. Courtesy of Michael Stevens. Photo by Alice Stevens.
Fred Stuart who has fond memories of being sent up to Santa Barbara to work with Phil Kubicki on the Kubicki Basses during the early days of his career at the Fender Custom Shop. Courtesy of Art Esparza.
After a long association with the Fender Custom Shop, inlay artist Ron Thorn joined the crew as a principal master builder in 2018. Courtesy of Fender.
Master builder Paul Waller pictured at the Fender Custom Shop. Courtesy of Fender.
Dale Wilson pictured at the Fender Custom Shop with a heavily reliced Telecaster equipped with a Bigsby. One of his favorite builds is the reliced TV Yellow Tele. Photo by Gary Davies.
Master pickup winder Abigail Ybarra (left) pictured with her then apprentice Josefina Campos in 2011. Abby was able to continue the tradition by passing on everything she has learned to Josefina. Photo by Mike Geoghegan.