The resulting Limited Edition George Fullerton 50th Anniversary Stratocaster is a beautifully Master Built instrument with a two-color sunburst lacquer finish on its three-piece blade-cut alder body. The one-piece ’57-style soft V-shaped maple neck has a lacquer finish and 7.25”-radius maple fingerboard. The guitar include ’50s-style pickups hand wound by world-renown expert Abigail Ybarra, who was hired to work for Fender by George Fullerton in 1956 and continues to work at the Fender Custom Shop today. The guitar also features a three-position pickup selector switch mounted on a single-ply white pickguard, plus vintage hardware, a commemorative neck plate and a certificate of authenticity signed by George Fullerton himself.
The guitar’s partner is the Relic Tweed Pro Junior™ amp, which evokes the revered ’50s era of small Fender tube amps such as the Champ®, Princeton® and Harvard. The 15-watt, single-channel Relic Tweed Pro Junior features a single 10” speaker, vintage pointer knobs and period-correct vintage-style tweed covering.
In 1948, George Fullerton went to work for his close friend, Clarence “Leo” Fender at the Fender Electric Instrument Co. in Fullerton, Calif. He became a key collaborator with Leo and played a pivotal role in the design and manufacture of the revolutionary instruments and amplifiers that later went on to change the world.
“Leo and I used to go out and sit in these nightclubs, beer joints and smoky rooms to talk to musicians, to listen to what they had to say,” said Fullerton. “We were trying to learn what players really needed for their instruments. We listened to them rather than tell them what we were doing—we used a lot of what we learned in our designs for the market.”
In 1954, Fender released what would become the most popular, recognizable and influential electric guitar of all time – the Stratocaster. Featuring a comfortable contoured body, three pickups—which allowed for a multitude of tones never heard before—and a tremolo system that allowed players to mimic popular lap- and pedal-steel tones, all while remaining in tune. After three years of production and design improvement, the 1957 Stratocaster was introduced and is still widely considered to have achieved design perfection.
Since then, with Fender Stratocaster guitars in the hands of iconic artists such as Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few, entire genres of music took form. More popular music over the last 50 years was made and played on the Stratocaster than any other electric instrument.
“George Fullerton’s contribution to Fender is immeasurable and to have him come home to be part of the Fender family again, is an incredible honor for every employee here at Fender Musical Instruments,” said Mike Eldred, Fender Custom Shop marketing director. “For the Fender Custom Shop team to be able to sit down with him and work on these projects together has been like getting an incredible first-hand glimpse into history.”
Since its founding, Fender has grown dramatically in stature, and still creates everything guitarists and bassists need, from instruments, amplifiers, strings and accessories to professional audio products. Fender became the world leader by meeting the needs of musicians and by continuing to create quality products. As Fender forges into the 21st century, it continues to be driven by the same passions that inspired its founder and his passion and eternal love for music.