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Fender Opens Custom Division

Fender Musical Instruments Corp. (FMIC) has “customized” a new division of the company. Effective immediately, FMIC Custom Division will join the global marketing, sales and manufacturing efforts of all high-end and custom instruments created by FMIC’s brands.

Mike Eldred, of the Fender Custom Shop, has been promoted to director of sales and marketing for the new division. Fender called him “uniquely qualified” for the position, as he brings more than 25 years of experience from within the industry in nearly all facets.

All FMIC brands — Fender, Guild, Gretsch, Jackson, Charvel, Tacoma, Squier and SWR — will be influenced in some way by FMIC Custom Division. Its goal is to expand and enhance FMIC’s global custom opportunities and offerings for all brands. It will also help to build and develop a high-end market base of FMIC consumers.

Additionally, FMIC Custom Division will work closely with global retailers to develop programs that will offer their consumers the opportunity to buy these limited instruments only at their stores.

“For the past 20 years, the Fender Custom Shop has pushed the envelope to blend our rich legacy and unique R&D capabilities to set the standard in custom and high-end products and design,” Eldred said. “We’re now in a position to take this to another level. We’ve always envisioned creating a high-end, custom aspect that would affect instruments for all our brands. Our goal now is to create a seamless, global, high-end team, and to elevate the recognition and status of entire family of best-selling brands.”

The production of instruments from FMIC Custom Division will be housed at the company’s facilities in Corona, Calif., and Tacoma, Wash. The Corona facility will focus primarily on making custom instruments for the Fender Custom Shop, Gretsch, Jackson, Guild electrics, Charvel and SWR, while the Tacoma facility will focus on custom Guild and Tacoma acoustic instruments.

“Part of this global strategy is to open five to six high-end Custom Showrooms throughout the world, where our dealers and artists have 24-hour access to a room that houses more than $1 million worth of FMIC brand instruments,” said Eldred. “The first of these was opened in 2005 in Düsseldorf, Germany, and the next one will open in Tokyo, Japan, in late 2006.”