Two iconic American brands based in Southern California have teamed-up to collaborate on a unique new project that blends the exciting worlds of high-performance supercars and custom guitars that debuted at WNAMM this past week.
Supercar manufacturer Saleen Automotive has announced a special collaboration with Fender to produce the “Fender® Stratocaster® 1,”a custom electric guitar inspired by the new Saleen 1 (S1) mid-engine 4-cylinder turbocharged sports car. The new guitar debuted this week at the National Association of Musical Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, Calif. was built by Fender Custom Shop’s Principal Master Builer Ron Thorne – a lifelong automotive enthusiast and one of the world’s most respected guitar builders.
Each year, the Fender Custom Shop’s esteemed Master Builders are given a challenge to build a guitar with no boundaries. The result of that creative exercise is the 2020 Prestige Collection models – with one conjured up by each Master Builder.
Acclaimed for building high-performance guitars even before his arrival at Fender, Master Builder Ron Thorn has always loved fast cars. Struck by the similarities in sleek design and high-performance between the Fender Stratocaster guitar and the Saleen® 1 super sports car, Thorn conceived of a one-of-a-kind Stratocaster combining elements of both. The result is the Stratocaster 1.
This supercharged guitar is finished in striking Saleen Candy Apple Red. Its hand-laid carbon-fiber body is hollow for super-lightweight, with a roasted alder center block and a hand-carved maple top. Its quartersawn roasted maple neck has a 12” radius carbon fiber round-lam fingerboard with medium jumbo frets, topped off with a matching carbon fiber headstock overlay. In a special Saleen design touch, the high-output TV Jones™ Power’Tron Plus bridge pickup sits beneath a tinted “rear window,” and the new custom “6-Stack” bridge and handmade Strat 1 tailpiece are brand-new Fender innovations that give the guitar an even more sleek custom look and tone.
Further, a custom Strat® 1 pedalboard enhances the player’s “driving” experience with custom volume, tone and wah-wah controls. To complete the set, the Fender Stratocaster 1 also comes with a matching pedal board and will be displayed with a Saleen car at Winter NAMM 2020.
“Fender Custom Shop and Saleen Automotive are two titans in their respective industries – both producing top gear and high-performance products in Corona, California. Being an automotive enthusiast, I’m absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with the legendary Steve Saleen and his amazing team,” said Ron Thorn, Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder. “The new Saleen 1’s beautiful lines, carbon fiber construction and other unique details were the inspiration behind the design and construction of the Stratocaster 1. It was an extremely challenging yet fulfilling build, utilizing methods, materials and concepts new to both the Fender Custom Shop and myself, resulting in an exciting homage worthy of representing both brand’s products.”
“Similar to Fender, Saleen was born and raised in Southern California, and the culture in this region of building hots rods and supercars has very influential around the world,” said Saleen Automotive founder and CEO Steve Saleen. “The qualities that we look at in producing cars at Saleen – the engineering, technology, sculpture and design and pride of craftsmanship – are very much in-line with what Fender looks at, as well.”