Photo courtesy of Fender
For anyone who has ever wanted to play the Hollywood Bowl, Fender is looking to bring you one step closer: their new limited-edition Front Row Legend Esquire line uses reclaimed wood benches from the historic venue in the body of the guitar.
For $12,000, master builder Yuriy Shishkov (of Fender’s custom shop) will piece you together one of these beauties—the sort of Rock axe that teens dream of as they practice their scales in hopes of becoming the next Hendrix or Slash.
According to Fender, the wood is “100-year-old Alaskan yellow cedar reclaimed from the original bench boards” at the Hollywood Bowl. “The wood’s original patina, with its cracks, bolt holes and scratches is preserved, and the boards were hand-selected for the coolest and most distinct markings. Every guitar also has a different original ‘seat number’ on the top of the body, so each is truly unique.” The Bowl’s original seating was replaced in 2014, and the wood seats were purchased by Mission Bell Architectural Millwork in Northern California, which then sold it to Fender.
The Esquire guitar was Leo Fender’s 1950, single-pickup precursor to the breakthrough Broadcaster guitar (ultimately renamed the Telecaster). Fender crafted the original Esquires at his shop in Fullerton, California. The 1950s Esquires weren’t without issue, and after adding the second pickup (i.e. creating the Telecaster), the Telecaster would become the first commercially successful, mass produced, single-body electric guitar.
As for the Hollywood Bowl, it has been a staple in the Los Angeles music and performance scene since its opening in July 1922. The stage has seen everyone from Louis Armstrong, to The Doors, to Monty Python, to John Williams perform.
The custom Esquires are part of a collection Shishkov has released as part of Fender Custom Shop’s 30th anniversary. Shishkov is also building a limited number of Pacific Battle Stratacasters and Telecasters ($8,800 each) using aluminum from B-25 Mitchell bombers that saw battle in World War II’s Pacific theater.
May the gods of Rock be ever in your favor, boys and girls. And my the callouses on your fingers build with the practice of each day.