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Seven years later, Fender USA manufacturing, R&D and Custom Shop divisions, were moved to its present location in Corona, California.
Currently, the Fender Custom Shop employs over fifty craftsmen and produces both custom one-off projects and limited CNC-tooled production runs.
Generally shown off at the annual NAMM conference, these instruments are generally geared more towards guitar collectors than players and are often created to tie in with other industries as collector items, such as guitars created as a tribute to, and under the design influence of Ford's Mustang automobile.
Many of the Art guitars created by the Custom Shop vastly expand upon Leo Fender's historical decorative innovations, who originally pioneered the use of custom colors on their instruments, which are essentially based on traditional designs but do not strive for accuracy to specific models.
Examples include the tweed Twin remakes crafted by hand by John Suhr for Eric Clapton, and later delivered to Mark Knopfler and B. King, the Jag-Stang model designed with help from Kurt Cobain and later manufactured by Fender Japan, and the Danny Gatton Telecaster, a very early Custom Shop effort that eventually mutated into a limited production item.
Closely related, and in some cases a direct result of collaborations with and for specific players, are the artist models that are specifically available to the public.
The Fender Custom Shop produces special-order guitars for customers through a Custom Shop dealer network, creates limited edition high end quality guitars, builds limited edition amplifiers, and does some research & design for the parent company.
For nearly 20 years (since 1965), Fender was owned and operated by the CBS.
Examples of guitars designed by specific players and manufactured by the Custom Shop include signature guitars for David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Albert Collins, Merle Haggard, and John5.
Some models, such as the aforementioned Jag-Stang and the Venus model, designed with Courtney Love, are designed by the Custom Shop but manufactured by Fender's Far-Eastern import facilities, and in the case of the Venus model, Fender's low budget offshoot Squier.
Many guitar players felt that the interests of CBS were at odds with the marketplace and profits declined.
In 1984, CBS sold the rights to the Fender name and designs to an investor group of employees led by Bill Schultz who launched Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC).
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