Have A Seat

A unique gui­tar made from part of an iconic mu­sic venue.

Classic Rock - - The Dirt - Si­mon Bradley

Since the Hol­ly­wood Bowl opened on July 11, 1922, some of mu­sic’s great­est ever artists have trod­den its creaky boards. Land­mark per­for­mances by Judy Gar­land, Frank Si­na­tra, The Bea­tles and Jimi Hen­drix are just some notable ex­am­ples. To­day the Bowl is a reg­u­lar stop on many di­verse artists’ US itin­er­ary – Queen rocked up there as re­cently as June this year.

When some of the rows of iconic wooden bleachers were re­moved in 2014, the Fender Cus­tom Shop, based in Corona, Cal­i­for­nia, hit upon the idea of putting to­gether a num­ber of gui­tars us­ing wood re­claimed from th­ese seats. The re­sult is the Front Row Leg­end Esquire.

“Nat­u­ral sun­light, rain and wind have made the wood, ob­vi­ously, look kind of old,” leg­endary Fender Mas­ter Builder Yuriy Shishkov ex­plained to LA Weekly. “But in­side it looks like it was cut yes­ter­day.”

He’s not wrong. It’s Alaskan yel­low cedar, and Shishkov joins a num­ber of pieces to­gether to make each body, retaining the weath­ered front face, knot­holes and all, plus one length bear­ing a stamped seat num­ber for added ex­clu­siv­ity. The face, pol­ished by the but­tocks of thou­sands of fans over the years, is sealed with a cou­ple of su­per-thin coats of satin fin­ish, but oth­er­wise left un­treated. And it looks great.

The re­main­der of the body bears the wood’s more nat­u­ral hue and is nicely con­trasted by the ox­i­dised brass fix­tures and the paler maple of the 60s-style, one­piece quar­ter-sawn neck. This be­ing an Esquire, it’s has just one pickup, a hand­wound Cus­tom Shop Black­guard sin­gle­coil, and the tone is pure vin­tage Fender.

Each gui­tar is made to or­der, and the bonkers price of £10,089 seems out­ra­geously over the top. But con­sid­er­ing its limited num­bers and unique her­itage, the cost is al­most sec­ondary. Just don’t sit on it.

More at www.fend­er­cus­tomshop.com

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