If you want a guitar that’s dripping with history then you can either hit the auctions to pick up an iconic player’s treasured instrument or grab yourself a six-string made using wood from old buildings. We’ve already seen some fine reclaimed wood examples from PRS, Wallace Detroit Guitars and Fender, and its the latter we focus on now with the launch of a limited edition Telecaster from Fender Custom Shop’s Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov that makes use of wood from bench boards from the Hollywood Bowl.
Perhaps not as visually arresting as previous offerings from Shishkov – like the over-the-top Master Repeater or the art deco Studioliner – but the Front Row Legend Esquire can’t be beat on music-soaked history. Southern California’s Hollywood Bowl is almost as iconic as the music legends it has hosted over the years.
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The outdoor venue officially opened in July 1922 and has since witnessed performances by everyone from Billie Holliday to The Beatles, Kylie Minogue to Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd to the B-52s. The big name roll call would take an absolute age to rattle off. For his latest Custom Shop creation, Shishkov has raided the original bench boards for 100 year-old Alaskan yellow cedar to make the guitar’s body.
Rather than clean up the wood or select only smooth cuts for a pristine finish, all of the original cracks, bolt holes and scratches have been left as they were when then boards were ripped up. The face of each guitar also sports the original seat number, making every limited Front Row Legend Esquire unique.
Elsewhere, the guitar has a 60s-style quartersawn maple neck with vintage frets, a single bridge pickup like the Telecaster’s ancestor, the Broadcaster, with a push/pull volume pot for tone versatility and oxidized brass hardware for more vintage vibe than you can throw a stick at.
Each instrument will be built to order and is available in strictly limited numbers, though exactly how limited hasn’t been revealed. But if you fancy owning a slice of Hollywood Bowl history crafted by a Fender Master Builder then you’ll have to stump up US$12,000. A high price? Sure, but probably cheaper than bidding on a six-string from one of the artists who played at The Bowl.
Shishkov has been quite busy of late, also crafting a pair of Custom Shop guitars themed on the B-52 Mitchell bomber. The Pacific Battle Strat and Tele both rock a two-piece ash body with a military green stain, tarnished brass hardware and pick guards made from the skin of a B-52. These cool-looking guitars each come with a custom green hardshell case and a model B-52 bomber, at a cost of $8,800.
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