Fender’s Senior Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov Unveils Custom Guitar Inlaid With 1,000 Diamonds

A custom Fender Stratocaster guitar inlaid with 1,000 diamonds was one of the biggest draws at last weekend’s National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade show in Anaheim, Calif.

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Conceived by senior master builder Yuriy Shishkov, the Art Deco-inspired design celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Fender Custom Shop.

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The guitar includes 423 diamonds on the front, 462 on the back and 115 at the top. It has a glistening sterling silver body that complements the red enamel guilloche inlay of the dramatic fretboard.

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As a special touch, Shishkov added rubies to the side dots. Shishkov did not, however, cite the total weight of the gemstones used in the design nor the guitar’s estimated value.

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Shishkov explained that the 30th anniversary guitar was inspired by the Art Deco lines of the 1936 Kodak Bantam Special camera, which was the vision of famous industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague. Kodak distributed the Bantam Special from 1936 to 1948, and the camera has since earned a reputation for being one of the most beautifully designed cameras ever made.

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Fender’s senior master builder is calling his one-of-a-kind, diamond-embellished guitar the Fender Studioliner Stratocaster.

“I wanted to connect the two objects together — the guitar and photo camera,” said Shishkov. “For that reason it’s actually called Studioliner [to represent the] photo studio and recording studio.”

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The guitar, which is gorgeous from every angle, is a reflection of the craftsmanship, artistry and attention to detail that has earned Fender’s Custom Shop worldwide acclaim.

A native of the former Soviet Union, Shishkov is considered one of the last of the renaissance guitar builders. He handcrafts many of his own woodworking tools and is known for custom inlay work. Shishkov arrived in the U.S. in 1990 and settled in the Chicago area, where he collaborated with the likes of guitarists Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and Paul Stanley of Kiss. Shishkov joined the Fender Custom Shop’s Master Builder team in 2000.

The 2017 Winter NAMM show, which its organizers describe as “the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry,” is a magnet for famous musicians, who often attend the show to promote their own signature models and equipment.

Credits: Screen captures via fender.com.

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