In 2007 we approached the Fender Custom Shop with an idea. We wanted the most beat-up, played-in Stratocaster we'd ever seen, and we wanted it to feel like it had been played every night for 40 years. Soon we realized that we would have to take the aging processes developed in the Custom Shop to their limits to produce what would end up being not a tribute to any famous guitarist, but a tribute to the instrument itself. The Ultimate Relic Stratocaster® was born.
We really wanted something that had that special vibe, that particular feeling that so many vintage, well-played instruments have. We had our doubts that guitars aged to this degree wouldn't be done right unless it was a tribute model or some such limited edition. But we shouldn't have doubted Fender's Masterbuilders. Custom Shop veteran John Cruz and guitar building phenom Jason Smith immediately "got it" and met our challenge with an extraordinary attention to detail and skill.
We can order your Ultimate Relic based on Stratocaster® models from 1954 through 1969, in original colors and custom hues. All Ulimate Relics have a extremely worn (and thin) lacquer finish and a very soft neck feel, with the neck profile determined by the model year. We add a special players touch by outfitting most of the guitars with a slightly flatter 9.5" fingerboard radius, and slight larger 6105 medium jumbo frets. Is it a player's guitar? Or is it a collector's guitar? It's both.
Music Zoo manager Tim Reynolds:
"I worked with John [Cruz] to establish the concept of what the guitars should look like, being careful to create our own style that wouldn’t be replicating any signature guitar or famous Strat that already exists, but rather create a stand-alone, been to hell and back player guitar. I have to admit though, it’s really John’s vision and skill that makes these guitars what they are. …The guitars feel so broken in and ”at home“ in your hands. They look and feel like a vintage piece right out of the case. Tonally, with a minimal amount of finish left, you’ll find the instrument resonates extremely well, and you tend to get more openness and sustain by allowing the wood to ring freely, much in the same way a vintage player guitar comes alive from the first note you play. Bottom line, we just wanted to make the most badass Relic around."
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