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VIDEO Fender Lexus Stratocaster Features Wood Composite Fretboard

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November 20, 2021 | Bill Esler

Corona, CA—Fender, the iconic guitar maker, launched a limited edition Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster guitar, crafted by the Fender Custom Shop in maple, alder, and Richlite, a forest-product composite material.

The guitar is the newest custom-built instrument designed by Fender Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn. The Fender Custom Shop Master Builders are periodically given such challenges to build guitars and basses with no boundaries.

Master builder Ron Thorn at the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, CA.

“As a deep car enthusiast, this was a fun project to build off. 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,” says Thorn. Fender says Lexus was chosen for the project for its passion for bold design, intuitive technology and Takumi craftsmanship. It will be releasing just 100 Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster guitars globally. In the U.S. they will be priced at $6,000.

“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, Fender Custom Shop™. “The process our team took to design this Strat has certainly been a labor of love, as well as a source of inspiration and excitement around the shop.”

The Lexus Stratocaster features a 3A flame maple neck.

The Stratocaster guitar includes an omnidirectional Structural Blue finish, a spectral range that produces light metallic blue to deep midnight blue originally inspired by the Morpho butterfly. The paint on the Stratocaster guitar is the same paint that was used on the Lexus LC 500 coupe and convertible Inspiration Series, of which only 200 total vehicles were produced for the U.S.

Structural blue paint shows off the rich curvature of both the Lexus LC 500 and the Lexus Stratocaster guitar body. 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.”

The neck is fashioned from beautiful 3A flame maple and finished in high-gloss urethane, imparting a hint of Fender woodworking tradition in contrast with the instrument’s other advanced visual elements. The fretboard is made of deep-blue polished Richlite, a composite material consisting of 70 percent reclaimed paper and resins. Popular as an architectural panel, it withstands moisture and has been used for interior projects.

Operations at the Fender Custom Shop, Corona, CA.

Richlite is also known for its tonal properties, structural stability, and resistance to wear and moisture, and used by the Fender Custom Shop for the first time. The fretboard has a flatter 12-inch radius and 22 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets. On darkened stages, its white Luminlay inlays glow in vivid blue.

Additionally, the fasteners on the pickguard are black button head machine screws that create a clean automotive appearance. The headstock face, where the keys are embedded to tune the guitar, is finished in Structural Blue with a chrome Fender logo.

“When we saw the first iteration of this Stratocaster, we couldn’t believe how well it matched the original LC 500 Inspiration Series,” says Vinay Shahani, VP of Lexus marketing. “It’s amazing to see this partnership come together based on our respective brands’ mutual admiration for one another. Seeing our Structural Blue color represented in this Stratocaster guitar illustrates endless possibilities of creativity, and we’re honored to have been a part of this creation.”

Operating in Corona, CA, the Fender Custom Shop was founded in 1987 and has grown to become a preeminent maker of highly collectible, custom instruments. Known as the “Dream Factory,” the Fender Custom Shop is also home to an honored group known as the Master Builders – some of the most-skilled luthiers in the world – who craft Fender’s legendary instruments and push the boundaries of possibility. The distinguished Master Builders make dream guitars a reality for players—from Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, H.E.R. and Jimmy Page to collectors, working professionals, and guitar enthusiasts. As the epicenter of innovation at Fender and the pinnacle of the brand, ideas and production techniques devised in the Fender Custom Shop for both Masterbuilt and Teambuilt guitars go on to inspire and influence Fender’s other production line models.

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