The post-CBS buyout Fender Musical Instrument Company was presented with a problem unfamiliar to it in prior years: leftover stock and parts from a model that was a commercial failure. Fender’s Electric XII model failed to sell as many pieces as anticipated and the leftover unfinished bodies and necks were piling up at the factory. In 1969, Fender’s production manager was tasked with repurposing the stock into something they could sell. Thus, the Custom was born.
Long time Fender employee “Babe” Simoni skirted the R&D department and set out to solve the problem. He took VII bodies to the band saw and made a few adjustments to the body shape. The new shape had a slightly more aggressive look but still had a route in the back of the body for the 12 string through-body tailpiece design. The unnecessary route was plugged and the body was finished sunburst on the front and black on the back. The neck was left largely unchanged except that the earliest versions were already drilled for 12 tuners instead of 6. These guitars had a laminate Maple veneer glued over the top and back of the headstock and were redrilled for three tuners per side.
It was finished out with two split coil pickups from the VII, the 4 position rotary switch from the VII, and a Mustang tremolo tail piece. The resulting guitar was initially deemed the Custom but was soon switched to Maverick. Sales were rather slow for the Custom/Maverick so it was dropped from Fender’s price list after only one year (1970).
Do you have a 1969 or 1970 Fender Custom or Fender Maverick? I’m always on the lookout for one. Shoot me some information about yours here: Sell my Fender guitar.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Fender Maverick/Custom then check out Fender: The Golden Age (1946-1970).