Who is the main customer of the Custom Shop?
Well it tends to be kind of committed consumers, older demographic, people who are at a point in their life where they want to literally spec their dream guitar. And the thing about the Custom Shop is about half of the business we do in the Custom Shop is singularly bespoke guitars. Where literally someone will say “I want this exact guitar, I want my dogs head carved in,” completely personalised. And what you are seeing here is kind of a foundational creativity that the team does that helps people provide some platforms from which they can go “Well I really like this, this and this, but I’d like it with a different colour and I’d like it with a different…” and so that’s the reason they do this, it’s really kind of a foundation platform.
What is the market percentage of sales from Custom Shop compared to other Fender products?
Well we specifically limit Custom Shop and there’s levels within Custom Shop because we have a handful of master builders that people specifically request them to make their guitar. Some of those guys as you heard tonight the waiting list for a Custom Shop guitar generally is about five to six months. The waiting list for those guys (master builders) is sometimes two years.
So for Australia would it take even longer?
It’s not that Australia is anywhere further down on the list than anywhere else it’s just as the orders are submitted we record how long it is for these guys to actually make the guitars.
Have you seen some popular styles that are coming through as a regular menu of a custom guitar?
One of the things that we initially did with Custom Shop guitars is we did literal, faithful reproductions of vintage years. There’s a segment of guitar players that go “the ’55 Strat will never be beat and don’t ever change it” and for those consumers who believe that we can give them that. I don’t believe that. My belief is that it’s like the Porsche 911. The Porsche 911 that you buy today definitely has reference points to the Porsche 911 that Ferdinand Porsche made, but it performs at a much higher level and I would argue that with Stratocaster Elite and Telecaster Elite. It’s a different guitar. So, what we found in the Custom Shop is that these are aficionados, these are geeks who are as geeky as I am, they’re going “well I want my guitar to look like a ’54, but I want it to have higher frets, I want it to have this type of neck radius”. I once bought myself a vintage car ‘cause I was in love with the notion and then when I got it I went “I want air conditioning and I want power steering!” So, what these aficionados would do was exactly that. They want a Stratocaster that looks like a ’54 but I want it to function like a 2017 guitar. So, a lot of what you see, is taking all of that input that’s coming from these aficionados and interpreting it into what we do on a lot of guitars, their input, plus the artists’ input as well as what we’re seeing coming out of Custom Shop.