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