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Fender Debuts the Limited-Edition Saleen Stratocaster 1 Guitar

Let’s say you’ve got an extra several thousand dollars lying around. Bills are taken care of, contributions to savings and 401(k) have been made, perhaps a charitable donation has given you the good feels … now what? How do you reward yourself for being a hard-working, responsible, male-identifying human being?

It’s okay if you’re stuck. We’ve got an idea for you.

Fender Saleen Stratocaster 1

Fender guitars just announced its latest collaboration. If you’ve been following the brand, you’ve seen a veritable pageant of innovative, creatively imagined, handcrafted guitars coming down the line, from Game of Thrones-inspired shredders to vintage instruments built to recreate the sounds that defined rock and roll. This one, though, is something different altogether. The inaugural release from Fender’s annual Prestige Collection reimagines the Fender Stratocaster as a turbocharged sports car. The look is fearsome, the specs are top-of-line, and the sound is somewhere between a feral snarl and a shimmering glissando.

Each year, Fender issues a challenge to its Master Builders to build the guitar of their dreams. No rules, no specifications, no boundaries — just the instrument maker and whatever is inspiring him at that time. For Master Builder Ron Thorn, one of the world’s most respected guitar builders, that inspiration came from the new Saleen 1 (S1), a mid-engine 4-cylinder turbocharged sports car that parallels the Fender Stratocaster in sleek design, high performance, and sexy handling.

A devotee of fast, good-looking cars, Thorn says the beautiful lines, carbon fiber construction and unique details of the Saleen 1 guided him in producing the one-of-a-kind Fender Saleen Stratocaster 1 for the Prestige Collection. The handlaid carbon fiber body ensures a feather-light weight, while the tinted “rear window” over the bridge and sculpted “ribs” on either side nod to the instrument’s origin in high-end automotive design. Unique tech features like the high-output TV Jones Power’Tron Plus bridge pickup, custom “6-Stack” bridge, and custom pedalboard enhance the musician experience with custom volume, tone, and controls.

Building the SALEEN STRATOCASTER 1 | Dream Factory | Fender

Featuring a quartersawn roasted maple neck and carbon fiber headstock overlay, and finished in Saleen’s own candy apple red, the Fender Strat 1 is a guitar built to shred at the speed of sound. In Thorn’s words, “It was an extremely challenging yet fulfilling build, utilizing methods, materials, and concepts new to both the Fender Custom Shop and myself, resulting in an exciting homage worthy of representing both brands’ products.” Collectors, musicians and design lovers of every stripe will be dreaming of this dream machine that blends the beauty and expertise of two iconic American makers.

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Chelsea Batten
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