Guitar Notes with Brian Baggett

Fender’s Roadshow Hits Kansas City

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Musician’s Friend Private Reserve plays host to a drool-inducing collection of sweet guitars crafted by the Fender Custom Shop.

Man, talk about an overwhelming hit of Fender goodness! Private Reserve recently hosted the Fender Custom Shop Roadshow in Kansas City’s luxe Green Lady Lounge jazz club.

We brought in around 40 Fender Custom Shop instruments for the event, the Green Lady’s walls offering a luxuriant backdrop for some of the finest instruments on earth. Customers came from all over the country (and Canada!) for the chance to play one of the largest collections of Fender Custom Shop guitars and basses assembled anywhere in the world.

Every guitar was available for sale or just to test drive. We brought along a couple Fender amps and plenty of headphone amps so our customers could get their hands and ears on these magical instruments.

Fender Custom Shop Guitars at Green Lady Lounge

Guitars line the walls of the Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City.

Customer Playing Fender Custom Shop Guitar

A guest jams at the Fender Roadshow.

Partnering with the Fender Custom Shop to make this a free event, there was plenty of food and drink on hand as well as live music and a Custom Shop guitar giveaway. A look inside the Custom Shop with Fender’s Joe Reynoso and a presentation by Master Builder Dale Wilson helped bring the Shop’s legacy to life.

Joe is Director of Sales for the Custom Shop, and on my first visit to Fender he took wonderful care of me with an up-close look at the factory as well as fine meals and conversation. It was great seeing Joe again, and the Roadshow got off to a great start with his presentation that included a fantastic virtual tour of the Custom Shop and a healthy helping of Fender history.

Joe Reynoso of Fender Custom Shop and Dale Wilson

Fender’s Joe Reynoso (L) takes the audience on a virtual tour of the Custom Shop while Dale Wilson (R) completes final assembly of a Thinline Telecaster.

I first met Dale Wilson at his workbench in the Fender Custom Shop. His Masterbuilt Fenders have been a longtime favorite of Musician’s Friend Private Reserve.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones who like his work. While at the Custom Shop, Dale showed me an amazing Day of the Dead bass he was working on for Dusty Hill of ZZ Top.

Some time ago, Private Reserve commissioned Dale to build a collection of Custom Shop instruments with super-light bodies and relic’d finishes. Dale’s tendency is to apply more subtle relic treatments that are on the lighter side of “beat.” He uses an actual guitar as inspiration to keep his treatment as natural as possible. You can read an extensive interview about the making of these one-of-a-kind guitars here.

Dale’s goal is to deliver an impeccable guitar that feels broken in from day one. Check out our great deals on the Private Reserve Dale Wilson collection.

Brian Baggett with Dale Wilson

Hanging with Dale Wilson at his workbench at the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, California.

Day of the Dead Guitar Neck for Dusty Hill of ZZ Top

Day of the Dead neck for the Custom Shop bass Dale built for ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill.

At the Roadshow, Dale Wilson discussed his craft and demonstrated final assembly of a Custom Shop Telecaster. His passion for guitars, guitar construction—and Fender—is contagious. I’m really learning to appreciate guitars as beautiful pieces of art. People like Dale Wilson seem equally concerned with the sculpture as they are the function. The beautiful guitar Dale was working on at the Roadshow was quickly snapped up by a Private Reserve customer.

Dale Wilson Final Assembly of a Thinline Telecaster

Dale Wilson demonstrates some final assembly steps on a Thinline Telecaster.

Dale Wilson with New Owners of a Thinline Telecaster

Dale with the proud new owner of a Fender Custom Shop Thinline Tele that went through final assembly during the event.

After Dale’s show and tell, it was time to play some Dale Wilson Fenders! Private Reserve invited my trio, DŌJŌ, to the Green Lady to demo a Dale Wilson ‘61 Relic Jazz Bass and a Dale Wilson ‘57 Relic Stratocaster. It’s always fun to play an instrument in front of the builder, and Dale had a big smile on his face during our set.

I didn’t play the bass but I have a recording of the show, and the bass sounds beautiful! Nice and clear but with some big bottom. I had a chance to get to know the Stratocaster I was using while at Private Reserve, and just like the other Dale Wilson guitars I’ve played, it felt like an old friend.

The best way I can describe a Fender Custom Shop Relic is to say it has no rough edges. There is a softness to these instruments that enhances the playing experience on so many levels. I introduced these fine Fenders to the packed house while realizing how much I had used the tremolo bar during the set without tuning even once. You can check out the performance footage here.

At the end of our set I helped Fender’s Joe Reynoso draw the name of the lucky winner of a Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster! This was a great end to a fantastic evening with Fender in Kansas City.

DŌJŌ Performing at Fender Road Show

DŌJŌ performs at the Roadshow playing Dale Wilson Masterbuilt Fenders.

Brian Baggett, Joe Renoso, and the Winner of a Dale Wilson Strat

Me, Joe Reynoso, a Dale Wilson Strat and its very happy and lucky new owner.

Special thanks to Joe Reynoso, Dale Wilson, Fender Custom Shop, Green Lady Lounge and DŌJŌ for an amazing night with Musician’s Friend Private Reserve! Check out the links below for more about Dale Wilson. Until next time…keep playing!

Check out the Private Reserve’s Dale Wilson Collection here.

Our interview with Dale Wilson is here.

Read more Guitar Notes from Brian Baggett: Guitar Notes The HUB

Visit www.privatereserveguitars.com or contact Derek White directly at 866-926-1923. He can get you the absolute lowest price on your dream guitar. Connect with Private Reserve Guitars on Facebook and Instagram.

Brian Baggett Private Reserve Bio

Brian Baggett is Video Presenter for Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitars. He curates the Private Reserve guitar collection on video, visits guitar factories and works closely with luthiers and signature artists to gain insight into the greatest guitars being built today. He is also a professional guitarist playing every Wednesday and Saturday night at The Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City. A former jazz guitar professor, Brian continues to teach guitar lessons and has a book and DVD titled Keys To Unlocking the Fretboard. Find Brian on Facebook and twitter.

Tags: Electric Guitars Private Reserve Guitars Guitar Notes

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