30 years ago, Fender guitars opened the Custom Shop sect of their business with a small group of ragtag luthiers (a fancy name for guitar builder) in a small workspace. The brand wasn’t even certain that the project would succeed. But sure enough, the orders came pouring through. Everyone from Johnny Cash to Eric Clapton – and everyone in between – wanted one. Now, 30 years later and a clear-cut success, those same builders have each designed their dream guitar for Fender to sell.
Called the Founders Design Collection, these instruments represent the highest echelon of guitar building prowess. They include a range of body shapes – including Fender’s Esquire/Telecaster, the Jazzmaster, and (the brand’s most famous shape) the Stratocaster – are crafted out of varying tone woods from blonde ash to the blackest ebony, and feature styling that is simultaneously classic and representative of the men who designed them. Ownership of one of these premium guitars, however, will cost you a premium price. They range from $5,450 up to $8,400 a piece. [Purchase]