These deluxe, one-of-a-kind guitars are built to order via the Fender Custom Shop and embody the true essence of Westeros’ most iconic families.
By Mike Duffy
As Game of Thrones heads into its eighth and final season, Fender has teamed up with HBO to create three masterbuilt guitars. The trio, dubbed the Game of Thrones Sigil Collection, includes the Game of Thrones™ House Stark, Telecaster®; the Game of Thrones™ House Lannister, Jaguar®; and the Game of Thrones™ House Targaryen, Stratocaster®.
These deluxe, one-of-a-kind guitars are built to order via the Fender Custom Shop and embody the true essence of Westeros’ most iconic families. Every detail was meticulously considered to ensure that the spirit of each house was brought to life accurately for fans of the series and guitar players alike.
“This has been a two-year journey – much of it spent in the concept phase, nailing down a cool and authentic way to bring the two properties together,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “We worked directly and extensively with Game of Thrones’ creator and avid guitar player D. B. Weiss to ensure that our vision, design and materials reflected the identity of each house. As existing fans of the series, we couldn’t be happier with the final results and this partnership overall.”
Since the Sigil Collection draws detailed inspiration from each House’s family seal, costume design, armor, weaponry and geography, Fender asked Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn to craft these singular guitars. An avid Game of Thrones fan, Thorn immersed himself in the project – excited to channel his extensive experience in luthiery, inlay, engineering, engraving and CNC machining to honor one of his favorite television shows.
“I just felt like I was the right guy for the job,” he said. “This is really right in my wheelhouse. In fact, if any of the other builders had gotten this project, I would have been so jealous. I would have been popping in every day and you would have had to shoo me away. It couldn’t be more me, as far as what I’ve done with guitars.”
Reflecting the shadowy pall of Winterfell’s landscape, the House Stark, Telecaster features inlaid silver purfling around the perimeter of its swamp ash body to separate the “Gray Wolf” color on the top and back, and “Raven Black” on the sides.
The guitar also boasts a maple neck with ebony fingerboard, a hand-cut and engraved sterling silver Direwolf sigil inlay on the first fret in addition to an embossed nickel silver version on the pickguard.
D. B. Weiss, who serves as creator of Game of Thrones alongside David Benioff, thinks it’s befitting of the noble Stark family.
“The Telecaster seems like it’s the instrument the good guy plays,” he said. “It’s the instrument the Sherriff plays. The Starks have that integrity, that Northern no-nonsense approach, and it feels like a Telecaster embodies that.”
The Game of Thrones House Lannister, Jaguar is as opulent as the Red Keep in King’s Landing. The lightweight alder body features 24k gold leaf with laser-cut heraldry design on both the front and back, a hand-cut and engraved brass Lion sigil inlay on the first fret, a 24k leaf heraldry design carved headstock face, gold hardware and a gold-plated pickguard engraved with the Lannister’s sigil.
“The Lannister Jaguar has a fancier feel,” said Weiss. “I remember as a kid, the Jaguar was the Fender that had the most ornamentation and embellishment on it, and I feel that the Lannisters are a very gold-plated house.”
The Game of Thrones House Targaryen, Stratocaster pays tribute to the dynasty of the Targaryen bloodline with a “dragon scaled” alder body coated in a unique satin “Dragonglass Black” paint and a thin lacquer finish.
It’s also adorned with black hardware, a maple neck with ebony fretboard, a hand-cut and engraved sterling silver three-headed dragon sigil inlay on the first fret, as well as a hand-tooled and stained leather pickguard that features the Targaryen sigil.
It took Thorn took 19 hours on the milling machine to achieve the scaly “hide” of this eye-popping Strat.
“I have literally hundreds of hours of drawing and manipulating the scale work,” Thorn said. “I wanted to change the angles of the scales and the size of the scales. Once all the programming was done, it took eight hours on the face and 11 hours on the back to get the scales done. And I still went in with a chisel and added more detail. It’s very random, but it really looks organic.”
It also carries a vintage-style six-screw tremolo to achieve dragon-like dive bombs.
“If you’re going to have a dragon guitar, I think you’re going to need a tremolo,” said Weiss. “It seems like what Daenerys [Targaryen] would play if she had time to play guitar.”
Not only do the guitars look stunning, they sound that way as well thanks to hand-wound pickups by Fender Custom Shop Master Pickup Winder Josefina Campos.
The Stark Telecaster contains two howling ‘50/’51 Blackguard single-coil pickups, the Lannister Jaguar has a pair of rich Fat ‘50s single-coil Strat pickups and the Targaryen Stratocaster breathes fire through three Texas Special pickups.
The Game of Thrones Sigil Collection took an estimated 300-plus hours to create, with over 100 hours dedicated to each individual instrument, making them worthy of the Great Houses they represent.