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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Default Fender Factory Tour

    Around the time the Cyber Twin was introduced, I was working for a mom and pop music store. Fender had an amp training and factory tour that I attended with the owner. That was about 12 or 13 years ago.

    Anyway, just the other day, my friend's mother started chatting up a guy at Trader Joe's because he was wearing a Fender shirt. Turns out he works for them and just recently transferred from Fender's factory in Connecticut to Corona, CA (formerly of Fullerton, CA). He works with wood purchases but also works with artists. Anyway, he gave her his card and told her to have my friend call him for a private tour.

    Turns out some artist from Mexico was not happy with his pickups, so he could not provide the tour, so he hooked us up with regular tour for free (normally it is $10 per person). It had been long enough that I had forgotten most of what I saw the first time. The guy my friend's mom met and the tour guide, who is also a Custom Shop builder, also spent some time hanging with us after the tour in the Visitor's center talking about guitars, amps, and wood. Cool day.

    I snapped a few picks for Instagram, so I figured I would share some of them.

    I highly recommend the tour. It's short and cheap. Plus the Fender Visitor's Center is a place a guitarist could spend a few hours in.


    Some Wolfgangs in the process of being made


    The EVH display in the acoustic/other brands section of the Visitor's Center


    These will become bodies


    The Custom Shop


    Guitars drying


    Abigail Ybarra, who handwound and handbuilt pickups for Fender since 1958, retired last year. This is her apprentice, Josefina Campos, who now does all the handwound and handbuilt pickups for Fender.


    A guy back east had a 100-year old barn built with 200-year old wood. He asked if Fender could make him a guitar out of it. They obliged. The cool part is that the wood had flaws and holes in it and Fender left them all in. One he showed us had a hole just behind the bridge that went all the way through the body. Anyway, Fender liked it so much that they called the guy and asked if they could buy more of the wood and he sold it to them. So they have made a few more of them. This is one of them.

    Anyway, thought I would share. Had a good time. Check it out next time you're in Corona, CA in the morning.
    Last edited by lovemachine97(Version 2); 01.30.14 at 07:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    I'll second your recommendation to check this out. I did this tour back in August with the same tour guide, and it really was great. Thanks for the pics, lovemachine!

  3. #3
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    I can't believe I live about 30 minutes from the Acoustic shop and didn't even know it existed. Cool story, thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    That's awesome!

    I'm glad you had a better experience than when I toured the Gibson factory in Memphis. My wife and I went down to Memphis for a nice weekend a couple years ago, and on the Sunday before we left, we decided to check out the Gibson factory because it was right across the street from our hotel (just off Beal Street).

    Since it was a Sunday, there were no workers on the factory floor, but we still had to pay full price to walk around an empty shop. The tour guide would tell us "here's where they cut the bodies," and "here's where they do the painting," but we had to use our imagination for most of it. There were a few pieces that were incomplete and in process, but I think you need to see someone working on it to get a full appreciation.

    After our short 15 minute tour (which cost around $20 a person) they shuttle everyone into the gift shop, which looks like a Guitar Center but it's all new Gibson products. There are signs everywhere that say "Please don't touch, ask for a representative" which is fairly insulting given that if you're old enough to read the sign and obey it, you are probably responsible enough to take it off the pegs and hold it. There was one guy working in the gift shop who was busy handling everyone that was buying a t-shirt, so if you wanted to actually play anything, you were going to wait for a good 20-30 minutes.

    Memphis was awesome, but the Gibson factory sucked.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    That's awesome!



    I'm glad you had a better experience than when I toured the Gibson factory in Memphis. My wife and I went down to Memphis for a nice weekend a couple years ago, and on the Sunday before we left, we decided to check out the Gibson factory because it was right across the street from our hotel (just off Beal Street).



    Since it was a Sunday, there were no workers on the factory floor, but we still had to pay full price to walk around an empty shop. The tour guide would tell us "here's where they cut the bodies," and "here's where they do the painting," but we had to use our imagination for most of it. There were a few pieces that were incomplete and in process, but I think you need to see someone working on it to get a full appreciation.



    After our short 15 minute tour (which cost around $20 a person) they shuttle everyone into the gift shop, which looks like a Guitar Center but it's all new Gibson products. There are signs everywhere that say "Please don't touch, ask for a representative" which is fairly insulting given that if you're old enough to read the sign and obey it, you are probably responsible enough to take it off the pegs and hold it. There was one guy working in the gift shop who was busy handling everyone that was buying a t-shirt, so if you wanted to actually play anything, you were going to wait for a good 20-30 minutes.



    Memphis was awesome, but the Gibson factory sucked.

    Shitty. The Fender visitors center has a main room full of guitars and pics. It has displays of their most famous guitars and artists and a whole wall of interesting models to look at or play. A smaller room is full of amps and four walls of guitars to be plugged in and jam. Another small room has Fender and Guild acoustics, Gretsch hollow bodies, Jackson, Charvel, and EVH stuff to play. That's why I say a guitarist could spend hours.

    The tours are at 10am and 1130am and ours was a bit short of 90 minutes. They take you through building stuff, but the pics of machines were less exciting than these.

    Now I know not to go to the Gibson tour.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemachine97(Version 2) View Post
    Shitty. The Fender visitors center has a main room full of guitars and pics. It has displays of their most famous guitars and artists and a whole wall of interesting models to look at or play. A smaller room is full of amps and four walls of guitars to be plugged in and jam. Another small room has Fender and Guild acoustics, Gretsch hollow bodies, Jackson, Charvel, and EVH stuff to play. That's why I say a guitarist could spend hours.

    The tours are at 10am and 1130am and ours was a bit short of 90 minutes. They take you through building stuff, but the pics of machines were less exciting than these.

    Now I know not to go to the Gibson tour.
    I wouldn't have felt as ripped off had we gone during the week. Walking through an empty factory while being faithfully guided between the yellow lines (wouldn't want anyone to lose their fingers from those machines that aren't working) was a little silly. Actually seeing someone working would have added a completely different dimension to the whole thing. The gift shop thing was still crappy, but I didn't pay $20 to go to the gift shop...I could have had that experience for free
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    That's something I'd really like to do someday !
    It seems like it would be a lot of fun , and also educational .

    Thanks for posting those photos !
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    Factory tours rock.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

 

 

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