Fender's Candy Apple Red Metallic Custom Color
Posted on September 09 2020
Some of my favorite vintage Fender guitars are the ones finished in a custom color instead of the more common standard colors. Fender introduced a color chart in 1960 that listed color options for guitars at a 5% up charge. One of the most popular colors in the 1960s wasn't introduced until 1963: Candy Apple Red Metallic. It replaced the wildly unpopular at the time color, Shell Pink, that many collectors now consider nearly unobtainable.
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In 1962, Fender update the custom color finish style to include matching headstocks on some guitars but not others. The Fender Jaguar, Fender Jazzmaster, Fender VI, Fender Jazz Bass, and Fender Coronado guitars were all including among the guitars to receive matching headstocks if finished in a custom color from 1962-1971. The Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, and Fender Precision Bass were among the more traditional models that did not receive matching headstocks in the 1960s even if they were finished in a custom color like Candy Apple Red.
Demand for custom color Fender guitars with original finishes is very high among Fender guitar collectors which has driven their values up far higher than comparable guitars with standard finishes. As a result, some sellers have refinished standard color guitars and attempted to pass them off as original. It's important to know what a custom color should look like underneath the pickguard, in the cavities, and in the neck pocket.
This is a very fine example of a 1966 Fender Jaguar in custom color Candy Apple Red Metallic showing under its pickguard, control cavities, and the neck pocket. The neck pocket shows the typical paint stick mark with white undercoat and yellow sealer underneath. The control cavities show typical overspray of the color coat as well as sharp edges. The body underneath the pickguard does not show any signs of the factory refinish marks like "CAR 44" or similar. The cavities also indicate that this Red color is the guitar's original finish.
Fender finished guitars differently throughout the 1960s so not every Candy Apple Red Metallic guitar will have these same features. Here is a 1968 Fender Telecaster with factory Bigbsy tailpiece and original Candy Apple Red Metallic finish with a slightly different neck pocket:
This 1968 Fender Telecaster's neck pocket shows no yellow sealer coat under the finish and a slightly different paint stick mark. There is a horizontal shadow of finish that is perpendicular to the more traditional paint stick shape. This shape is typical of Fender guitars from 1968 and 1969.