Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Jason Smith has built amazingly unique guitars and basses for many years, and one of those one-of-a-kind numbers has recently sprouted a few brothers and sisters.
Smith originally crafted a Jazz Bass in Metallic Bourbon as a one-off for the 2012 Winter NAMM Show, at which the instrument created a lot of buzz for its eye-popping finish and interesting details.
“I’ve been getting re-orders for it ever since,” Smith said with a laugh.
Smith credited his interest in spirits – not the supernatural kind – as the inspiration behind the sultry brown that covers the Jazz Bass body like a fine cognac.
“The color stemmed from me being a fan of whiskey, scotch and bourbon,” he noted. “So there’s that shimmering metallic brown color that you’d get from a really good glass. I was trying to duplicate that. It’s kind of an earthy tone, but it has a metallic feel like a glass of bourbon. You can’t mistake it.
Smith said that while the Metallic Bourbon was a singular color, it did remind him of a Metallic Root Beer Fender had done in the late 1990s.
“That had a little more of a reddish hue to it,” Smith said. “This is really brown, which sets this Jazz Bass apart.”
In addition, Smith outfitted the bass with a striking pearloid pickguard and matrixed turquoise inlays in the rosewood fretboard.
If the eye-catching turquoise ovals call to mind the deserts of Arizona, that’s exactly what Smith was going for.
“Anytime we do anything for NAMM, the master-built stuff, those are ideas that come from us, so for this one, I wanted to match everything else on it with a Southwestern feel,” said Smith. “And, I went with the oval shape because they gave it more of a Native American look as opposed to the dots.
“I think it really all came together to achieve that spirit of the Southwest.”
Some might think because there is a Southwestern vibe to this Custom Shop gem that most of the orders for it hail from that area. Not so, said Smith.
“Actually, the most recent one was going to Guitar Center in New York,” Smith explained. “And then, you never know where they will end up. They kind of just go wherever.”