The luxury automaker describes the partnership as a “labor of love.”
Fender recently launched its limited edition Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster, a custom-built guitar from principal master builder Ron Thorn.
Since 1987, the Fender Custom Shop and its builders have created marvels of creativity, ingenuity and artistry. From its humble Southern California beginnings, the brand has grown to become the world’s preeminent maker of highly collectible, custom instruments.
Their dream guitars have been used by such names as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, H.E.R., Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, and Jimmy Page.
Only 100 pieces of the limited edition collaboration between guitar builder and automaker will be released globally. “Collaborating with Lexus to conceptualize, design and build the Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster has been an incredible ride,” says Mike Lewis, VP of product development of Fender Custom Shop.
Lewis says that the process to design the Strat was a “labor of love, as well as a source of inspiration and excitement around the shop. Our team is constantly building innovative products and this launch is another great representation of craftsmanship and creativity at Fender.”
Thorn, who worked on the guitar, has built over 800 instruments under his own brand. He is the first person Fender has given the title of “principal master builder” to.
“As a deep car enthusiast, this was a fun project to build off,” Thorn says. “We went bold with the technical specs to make this model a living Lexus guitar. I can’t wait to see how everyone rocks out to it.”
The Stratocaster guitar includes an omnidirectional Structural Blue finish, a spectral range that produces light metallic blue to deep midnight blue that was originally inspired by the Morpho butterfly. This paint is the same that was used on the Lexus LC 500 coupe and convertible Inspiration Series. Only 200 total vehicles were produced for the US.
The paint does not contain any blue material; it looks blue only because of the interference of light. Layers of colorless materials come together to generate the ultimate color, hence the name “structural.”
3A flame maple was sculpted for the guitar’s neck and was finished in high-gloss urethane. The fingerboard is made of deep-blue polished Richlite, which Fender is using for the first time. This composite material is known for its tonal properties, structural stability, and resistance to wear and moisture.
The fingerboard has a flatter 12-inch radius and 22 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets. On darkened stages, the white Luminlay fingerboard inlays glow in vivid blue.
Additionally, the fasteners on the pickguard are black button head machine screws that create a clean automotive appearance, while the pickups are Fender’s latest version of our Noiseless Single Coils, another first for the Fender Custom Shop.
To top it off, the headstock face is finished in Structural Blue with a chrome Fender logo while the custom case is wrapped in carbon fiber textured vinyl, with black leather ends and the Lexus logo embroidered inside the lid.
“Fender is a legendary brand that has made an indelible mark in the world of music. As such, Lexus is honored to team with them in the development of this unique guitar that highlights our brand’s unique design cues and Structural Blue paint technology,” Lexus International general manager Brian Bolain says.
With this partnership, Bolain shares, they hope to raise awareness of the elevated level of craftsmanship shared by the Fender Custom Shop and Lexus.
Every day, Fender’s esteemed master builders are challenged to build guitars and basses with no boundaries. To match Lexus’s sound systems configuration, principal master builder Ron Thorn included custom machined brushed aluminum knobs. This is to match the Mark Levinson stereo knobs, while reducing the quantity from three typically found on a Stratocaster guitar to two: Master Volume and Master Tone.
The fretboard is a polished deep blue Richlite, a material new to the Fender Custom Shop and selected exclusively for this build given the similar components it has with Lexus vehicles.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit fendercustomshop.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender and @FenderCustomShop.