Fender Custom

The Fender Custom (or Maverick) was a short-lived model released by Fender in 1969. It was only made in 1969 and 1970 before being dropped. Essentially a six-string Fender Electric XII, the Custom was an attempt to sell off unused factory stock from when CBS took over. The guitar was made with unused parts from Electric XII guitars, including the body, pickups and neck, as well as unused Mustang vibratos and bridges.

The Custom was featured more prominently in sales material than its companion, the Swinger, but sold poorly, and was never expected to compete with Fender's more popular models. A notable fan of the Fender Custom was Cheap Trick's lead guitarist Rick Nielsen.


The body is a nice piece of ash although a little heavy for the thickness, which is typical of Fender coming into this period.  The timber quality is quite good and proves that Fender could still make a nice product well into the late sixties. If you're one of those people, like me, that believe that Fender didn't just plummet the day CBS took over, these late 60's and early 70's cheaper end models are a great way of getting into a vintage Fender, although these are quite rare.

The neck is a little thick for me, probably due to it being a leftover Fender XII (12 string) neck blank but unlike a lot of info out there, this one hasn't had the headstock filled and laminated over from a 12 string and has only the six tuner holes from the factory. It feels comfortable and plays well and has the typical late sixties block inlays and binding rarely found on Fender products.



Because Fender were basically using up leftover parts on these guitars, the vibrato and bridge are both standard Mustang parts (I'm not a huge fan of the Mustang Vibrato) and knobs are standard late sixties affairs.

The pickups are the ones used in the XII and are actually pretty cool. They have a great tone not unlike, and I'm going to get hammered for this, the Fender widerange humbucker........... They have a nice thick sound with a "sparkle" that reminds me of those humbuckers. They're very unlike other Fender single coils of the time.

The backs were all painted black (maybe to save on time involved with sunbursting ?) but the overall finish is as good as any late sixties Fender. The body shape is odd yet very organic and sits well in both sitting and standing positions. It has a big "belly cut" in the back and the typical front arm contour. Standing the guitar on it's end is difficult because of the shape so you'd need to lie it down or have a stand when you're out.

All in all, it's a pretty cool old Fender with all (well, most of) the right bits and is rarer and more interesting than any other late sixties Fender, and at a fraction of the cost, when they come up.

Aug 10 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan