Fender Custom Shop "Apprentice Masterbuilt"

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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 2871
    ICBM said:

    Could you possibly answer what the difference between the CS Fenders and the Masterbuilt guitars were?
    Hard to explain, but the ‘Masterbuilt’ ones have all felt oddly not quite like real Fenders, but like a close approximation and somehow exaggerated too much - whereas the ‘Team Built’ ones have all felt exactly like I would expect a great example of a genuine old Fender to be like, just with the inconsistency taken out. The ‘Team Built’ have also been universally more resonant and just better-sounding too.

    I know it’s not been a huge sample size - I’ve played about half a dozen ‘Masterbuilt’ and around twenty or so ‘Team Built’ - but it’s been a pretty consistent pattern.

    (And I’ve played probably over a hundred original Fenders and owned about a dozen, so I do know what they feel like.)
    Thanks for the info. I can see what you mean, 

    I think those numbers MB, TB are good, I imagine few would have come across that many. 

    I have a suspicion confirmation bias for choosing guitars can be a thing, which is why it's important to pick an instrument with hands and ears when possible.
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 22630
    Is there a Claude Littner or Karen Brady signature model?
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  • LitterickLitterick Frets: 184
    It's all a bit Kung Fu


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  • LewyLewy Frets: 2026
    edited July 25
    ICBM said:

    Could you possibly answer what the difference between the CS Fenders and the Masterbuilt guitars were?
    Hard to explain, but the ‘Masterbuilt’ ones have all felt oddly not quite like real Fenders, but like a close approximation and somehow exaggerated too much - whereas the ‘Team Built’ ones have all felt exactly like I would expect a great example of a genuine old Fender to be like, just with the inconsistency taken out. The ‘Team Built’ have also been universally more resonant and just better-sounding too.

    I know it’s not been a huge sample size - I’ve played about half a dozen ‘Masterbuilt’ and around twenty or so ‘Team Built’ - but it’s been a pretty consistent pattern.

    (And I’ve played probably over a hundred original Fenders and owned about a dozen, so I do know what they feel like.)

    There’s no reason why you should,  but do you happen to recall what proportion had plain versus quartersawn necks? I’m wondering whether the MB were mostly quartersawn  (because that’s been somewhat fetishised) and the TB mostly plain. 
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  • revsorgrevsorg Frets: 809
    Isn't "Apprentice Masterbuilt" just "Built"?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 22913

    I’m waiting for the Fender Custom Shop O Level Woodwork Project model.

    I hope it's not as wonky as my John Cruz spice rack. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    Lewy said:

    There’s no reason why you should,  but do you happen to recall what proportion had plain versus quartersawn necks? I’m wondering whether the MB were mostly quartersawn  (because that’s been somewhat fetishised) and the TB mostly plain. 
    I don’t, but I think that’s quite a likely explanation. It is something I’ve noticed before with different grain cuts.

    One thing I have noticed is that the MBs usually have more exaggerated ‘fat’ or ‘boat’ type neck profiles, whereas the TBs have normal ones. I much prefer normal for feel... and I don’t agree with the idea that thicker necks sound better either.

    These are almost all guitars that have come through the shop for sale or minor work, so I haven’t always spent much time with them, but it is pretty consistent.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 6892
    An apprentice piece was an old established practice to make a piece of work to demonstrate skill and knowledge before finishing an apprenticeship & becoming a maker. 
    When more experienced & skilled in their career, the maker would present a very high quality piece of work (a Masterpiece) for consideration by fellow members of the appropriate Guild, before being allowed to become a Master Craftsman.
    So 'Apprentice Masterbuilt' is just more meaningless marketing bollocks. Surprisingly...
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  • This is not a new thing. You think Tom Murphy personally aged every gibson that carried that banner? Every intricate profession will endorse this model or you'll find it has a very short life span. Fender just so happen to be the people publicly announcing it. There must be a difference between custom shop employee and master builder therefore the "apprentice" has become a thing. What would you rather. Them train on guitars that never see the light of day or guitars that are reduced in price due to the nature of its build? 

    However I still think the money fender charge for custom shop, apprentice master builds and master build guitars is completely insane.
    Someone stepping up into a role is going to need to produce output as they learn, I have no objection to that output being sold rather than junked. It’s not like there’s tons of these and there’s a gun against anyone’s head, so if you don’t like it don’t buy it. 

    It’s interesting to discuss who these guitars might appeal to - I’ve figured people gambling on flipping if they become a desirable name and people wanting a Fender masterbuilt experience but at discount. But neither are me so I’m not losing sleep on them existing either, there’s tons of luxury items that aren’t for me.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 20546




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  • francerfrancer Frets: 287
    These ‘Apprentices’ are almost certainly time served builders from the existing production lines, not spotty teenagers straight out of college. They will already know how to build great guitars and joining the CS probably means they get more time to spend on each guitar, rather than dramatically develop new skills.

    Fender marketing learned long ago that if you name the builder of a particular component it suddenly becomes more prized to collectors, witness the cults of Tadeo Gomez and Abby Ybarra. 
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  • WhitecatWhitecat Frets: 4117
    Lewy said:
    ICBM said:

    Could you possibly answer what the difference between the CS Fenders and the Masterbuilt guitars were?
    Hard to explain, but the ‘Masterbuilt’ ones have all felt oddly not quite like real Fenders, but like a close approximation and somehow exaggerated too much - whereas the ‘Team Built’ ones have all felt exactly like I would expect a great example of a genuine old Fender to be like, just with the inconsistency taken out. The ‘Team Built’ have also been universally more resonant and just better-sounding too.

    I know it’s not been a huge sample size - I’ve played about half a dozen ‘Masterbuilt’ and around twenty or so ‘Team Built’ - but it’s been a pretty consistent pattern.

    (And I’ve played probably over a hundred original Fenders and owned about a dozen, so I do know what they feel like.)

    There’s no reason why you should,  but do you happen to recall what proportion had plain versus quartersawn necks? I’m wondering whether the MB were mostly quartersawn  (because that’s been somewhat fetishised) and the TB mostly plain. 
    Purely anecdotal but the CS seems to mostly be using rift-sawn necks these days. Quartersawn does still pop up but I don’t think it’s as common as you might expect - the price premium on it doesn’t necessarily translate to many if any tangible benefits of it for the average buyer. Plain/flatsawn necks seem to be a rare bird in the CS world nowadays. I see the odd one but it’s pretty uncommon. Ironically, they would be the most historically accurate on a majority of reissue models but I wonder if they avoid them just as a differentiator between CS and USA. 
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  • SeziertischSeziertisch Frets: 665
    edited July 25
    p90fool said:

    I’m waiting for the Fender Custom Shop O Level Woodwork Project model.

    I hope it's not as wonky as my John Cruz spice rack. 
    Nick Henderson from Grimsby failed his O Level Woodwork - his wonky coffee table didn’t cut it - now we’ve changed his name to Saccone and gotten him a job as a Masterbuilder in the Fender Custom Shop. This Fall on Sky Living find out what happens!!!
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  • thebreezethebreeze Frets: 1908
    They needed to find a place for Ian Elson and this seemed like the right move.
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  • Strat54Strat54 Frets: 1778
    The marketing worked....sold in 24 hrs lol. 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 17279
    I assume this is so these guys can "graduate" to MB status in a couple of years, hence increasing the pool of people building guitars Fender can charge extra for. As much as I really really fancy a '54 light relic Strat at some point I can't say I'm bothered about who made it
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  • AnacharsisAnacharsis Frets: 183
    edited July 25
    I'm not in the market for anything in that price range, so I don't care what they do. They sure don't have a problem making sales.

    Regarding the Thorn quote: I have two of Ron Thorn's guitars from the 2000s, made when he had his own company. They're phenomenal guitars, and he's an even better guy. I wish him all the success in the world, and I love that he's getting sane hours and benefits now. He's earned it.

    Guitar companies seem to have no problem selling high end offerings. Not sure why I should care one tiny bit one way or the other, so long as I like the guitars that I have (including several standard production Fenders). And I do.
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  • Whitecat said:
    Lewy said:
    ICBM said:

    Could you possibly answer what the difference between the CS Fenders and the Masterbuilt guitars were?
    Hard to explain, but the ‘Masterbuilt’ ones have all felt oddly not quite like real Fenders, but like a close approximation and somehow exaggerated too much - whereas the ‘Team Built’ ones have all felt exactly like I would expect a great example of a genuine old Fender to be like, just with the inconsistency taken out. The ‘Team Built’ have also been universally more resonant and just better-sounding too.

    I know it’s not been a huge sample size - I’ve played about half a dozen ‘Masterbuilt’ and around twenty or so ‘Team Built’ - but it’s been a pretty consistent pattern.

    (And I’ve played probably over a hundred original Fenders and owned about a dozen, so I do know what they feel like.)

    There’s no reason why you should,  but do you happen to recall what proportion had plain versus quartersawn necks? I’m wondering whether the MB were mostly quartersawn  (because that’s been somewhat fetishised) and the TB mostly plain. 
    Purely anecdotal but the CS seems to mostly be using rift-sawn necks these days. Quartersawn does still pop up but I don’t think it’s as common as you might expect - the price premium on it doesn’t necessarily translate to many if any tangible benefits of it for the average buyer. Plain/flatsawn necks seem to be a rare bird in the CS world nowadays. I see the odd one but it’s pretty uncommon. Ironically, they would be the most historically accurate on a majority of reissue models but I wonder if they avoid them just as a differentiator between CS and USA. 

    Worth a note - plenty of vintage Fenders had rift-sawn necks, so still very much historically accurate.
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 5847
    I'm confused. I thought this sort of thread involving petty hammering of a manufacturer and their practices was reserved for Gibson, no?
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • teradaterada Frets: 5009
    Hattigol said:
    I'm confused. I thought this sort of thread involving petty hammering of a manufacturer and their practices was reserved for Gibson, no?
    Apologies:

    Gibson QC utter rubbish
    Pick guard or not?
    Bigsby
    urgh pick guard gap
    urgh neck pickup gap
    urgh ridge between fretboard and neck
    too heavy
    too light
    plaintop
    too tiger stripy
    Tom Murphy falling appart
    £10k for a reissue?!
    Neck angle
    Henry
    truss rod condom
    nibs?
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