Iconic guitar and music instrument manufacturer Fender has teamed up with car company Lexus to launch a limited-edition Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster, the newest custom-built piece from Principal Master Builder, Ron Thorn.
“Collaborating with Lexus to conceptualise, design and build the Fender Lexus LC Stratocaster has been an incredible ride,” said Mike Lewis, Vice President of Product Development, Fender Custom Shop.” The process our team took to design this Strat has certainly been a labour of love, as well as a source of inspiration and excitement around the shop. Our team is constantly building innovative products and this launch is another great representation of craftsmanship and creativity at Fender.”
The Stratocaster guitar includes an omnidirectional Structural Blue finish, a spectral range that produces light metallic blue to deep midnight blue that was originally inspired by the Morpho butterfly. The paint on the Stratocaster guitar is the same paint that was used on the Lexus LC 500 coupe and convertible Inspiration Series, of which only a limited number of units were produced for many markets- including South Africa a couple of years ago. Structural blue paint brings to life the rich curvature of the LC 500 body, and now the guitar body. The paint does not contain any blue material – it looks blue only because of the interference of light. Layers of colourless materials come together to generate the ultimate colour, hence the name “structural”.
The neck is fashioned from beautiful 3A flame maple and finished in high-gloss urethane, imparting a hint of Fender wood working tradition in contrast with the instrument’s other advanced visual elements. The fingerboard is made of deep-blue polished Richlite, a composite material known for its tonal properties, structural stability, and resistance to wear and moisture, and used by the Fender Custom Shop for the first time. The fingerboard has a flatter 12-inch radius and 22 medium-jumbo stainless-steel frets. On darkened stages, the white Luminlay fingerboard inlays glow in vivid blue.
Additionally, the fasteners on the pickguard are black button head machine screws that create a clean automotive appearance, while the pickups are Fender’s latest version of our Noiseless Single Coils, another first for the Fender Custom Shop. To top it off, the headstock face is finished in Structural Blue with a chrome Fender logo while the custom case is wrapped in carbon fibre textured vinyl, with black leather ends and the Lexus logo embroidered inside the lid.
“Fender is a legendary brand that has made an indelible mark in the world of music. As such, Lexus is honoured to team with them in the development of this unique guitar that highlights our brand’s unique design cues and Structural Blue paint technology,” said Brian Bolain, General Manager of Lexus International. “With such a partnership, our hope is to raise the awareness of the elevated level of craft shared by the Fender Custom Shop and Lexus as both strive to create a more personal experience for their customers.”
Every day, the Fender Custom Shop’s esteemed Master Builders are challenged to build guitars and basses with no boundaries. To match Lexus’ sound systems configuration, Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn included custom-machined brushed aluminum knobs to match the Mark Levinson stereo knobs, while reducing the quantity from three typically found on a Stratocaster guitar to two — Master Volume and Master Tone. The fretboard is a polished deep blue Richlite, a material new to the Fender Custom Shop and selected exclusively for this build given the similar components it has with Lexus vehicles. “As a deep car enthusiast, this was a fun project to build off. We went bold with the technical specs to make this model a living Lexus guitar. I can’t wait to see how everyone rocks out to it,” added Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn.
“We are thrilled that the Lexus-developed Structural Blue paint technology is being applied to a Fender Stratocaster”, said Christopher Yang, Vice President of Portfolio Business Management. “To help bring such ideas to market, we will continue to explore opportunities, such as the partnership with Fender, to share our technology and intellectual property with partners across multiple industries.”
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products, you can check out the Fender Custom Shop website.