Utilizing the agave plant—what tequila is made from—Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller spent nearly thirty hours crafting the Fender Agave Stratocaster. On top of that, there was another five days of agave stalk harvesting and guitar sealing book-ending those thirty hours.
Everything that is usually made from wood on a guitar was replaced with agave (the body, twenty-one fret neck, and fingerboard) for this special release. The rest of the classic-styled ax is made from Fender hardware and features a custom-engraved neck plate (with a Jose Cuervo inscription), hand-wound Fat 50s neck, and RWRP middle and bridge pickups.
This isn’t the first time that Jose Cuervo has used agave in ways other than making tequila. Since 1998, they’ve partnered with a variety of companies to produce agave products, including working with Ford to produce sustainable agave products and working with pro big wave surfer Gary Linden to create a surfboard made completely from agave. Linden, who has worked with agave for decades, traveled with Waller to Tequila, Mexico to help him first learn about, and then harvest the agave that would eventually become the Agave Stratocaster.
Not only was the special edition Strat crafted to help forward Jose Cuervo’s mission of finding more sustainable uses for agave, but it also helps mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Fender Custom Shop, which has crafted guitars who dozens of stars, from Robert Cray to Eric Clapton.
The lucky recipients of this guitar were the band Young the Giant, who’ve worked with Fender since just after the release of their self-titled first album.
On getting to play the agave guitar, Young The Giant guitarist Jacob Tilley said, “The agave drastically changes the Strat’s attributes. It’s feather light. The spanky attack with a quick release was challenging at first. I had to approach everything with grace.”
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