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Fender treads the boards for latest Custom Shop reclaimed wood guitars

Fender treads the boards for l...
"When this project came up, it was a gift," said Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn of the opportunity to use wood reclaimed from rafters and floor joints of famed Toronto nightclub, the El Mocambo. "I had to do it."
"When this project came up, it was a gift," said Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn of the opportunity to use wood reclaimed from rafters and floor joints of famed Toronto nightclub, the El Mocambo. "I had to do it."
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"When this project came up, it was a gift," said Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn of the opportunity to use wood reclaimed from rafters and floor joints of famed Toronto nightclub, the El Mocambo. "I had to do it."
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"When this project came up, it was a gift," said Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn of the opportunity to use wood reclaimed from rafters and floor joints of famed Toronto nightclub, the El Mocambo. "I had to do it."
Th El Mocambo guitars come as a pair and are shipped with hard cases, a "collectible case candy kit" and certificate of authenticity
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Th El Mocambo guitars come as a pair and are shipped with hard cases, a "collectible case candy kit" and certificate of authenticity
The El Mocambo Stratocaster features three hand-wired Josefina Campos single coil pickups and gold-colored hardware
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The El Mocambo Stratocaster features three hand-wired Josefina Campos single coil pickups and gold-colored hardware
The El Mocambo Stratocaster features a body fashioned from wood reclaimed from a 2014 renovation of the El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto
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The El Mocambo Stratocaster features a body fashioned from wood reclaimed from a 2014 renovation of the El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto
A palm tree inlay inspired by the 22-ft sign outside the El Mocambo club sits at the first fret
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A palm tree inlay inspired by the 22-ft sign outside the El Mocambo club sits at the first fret
The body and neck of the El Mocambo Telecaster (and its Stratocaster sibling) has been treated to a heavy relic finish
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The body and neck of the El Mocambo Telecaster (and its Stratocaster sibling) has been treated to a heavy relic finish
The El Mocambo Telecaster features a Texas Special single coil pickup at the bridge position, and a Twisted Tele at the neck
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The El Mocambo Telecaster features a Texas Special single coil pickup at the bridge position, and a Twisted Tele at the neck
The El Mocambo Telecaster is the work of Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn
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The El Mocambo Telecaster is the work of Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn
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Following in the creative footsteps of the Old Growth Strat, the Front Row Legend Esquire and the 80 Proof Blues Junior, Fender has now used wood reclaimed from a famed Toronto nightclub for a pair of limited edition guitars by Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn.

The original El Mocambo was opened on Spadina Avenue in Toronto in 1948 when it housed a dining hall on the main floor and a dance floor on the next floor up. The property changed hands a number of times before becoming a music venue in the early 70s. The Rolling Stones made a surprise appearance in 1977 as The Cockroaches, and attracted the gaze of the international press due to the wife of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau partying with the band.

Other notable performers at the venue include Tom Waits, U2, Joan Jett, Dream Theater, Jeff Healey, Blondie, Meat Loaf, Queens of the Stone Age, Al Di Meola and Elvis Costello. The list goes on. But personally, I will always associate this venue with an explosive performance captured on film by the legendary Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In late 2014, the club was renovated by new owner Michael Wekerle and the limited edition Custom Shop El Mocambo guitars have been built using wood from the rafters and floor joints removed during this work.

The El Mocambo Telecaster is the work of Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn
The El Mocambo Telecaster is the work of Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn

Toronto native and Custom Shop Master Builder Ron Thorn had reportedly considered adding a striking yellow/green finish to the instruments to mark the occasion, but thankfully decided against it.

"Once we got into the lumber and just how much character there was in it, it just seemed like a shame to cover that up," he said. "We don’t need any color, it’s just beautiful exactly how it is."

The El Mocambo Stratocaster and Telecaster each has a body fashioned from eastern white pine sourced from the club's renovation, and has been treated to a heavy relic finish. Each rocks a Canadian maple neck with a 1959-style D profile and 21 jumbo frets on an African blackwood fingerboard with gold-colored inlays, including a palm tree motif inspired by the famous nightclub's 22-ft (6.7-m) sign at the first fret.

A palm tree inlay inspired by the 22-ft sign outside the El Mocambo club sits at the first fret
A palm tree inlay inspired by the 22-ft sign outside the El Mocambo club sits at the first fret

Both instruments have also been treated to hand-wound Josefina Campos pickups with special wiring and switching – with the Strat sporting a Texas Special single coil at the bridge, a Vintage 65 in the middle and a 69 at the neck, while the Tele also gets a Texas Special at the bridge position but the neck slot is filled with a Twisted Tele.

Elsewhere, there's a Custom Shop Vintage tremolo bridge for the Strat and a 58-63 Tele bridge with Gatton saddles for the Tele, engraved neck plates for both, 3-ply black pickguards and vintage-style tuners.

"These are definite rock guitars," said Thorn. "They’re special guitars. And where the timber has been for the last 80 years, it just makes it a little extra special."

Th El Mocambo guitars come as a pair and are shipped with hard cases, a "collectible case candy kit" and certificate of authenticity
Th El Mocambo guitars come as a pair and are shipped with hard cases, a "collectible case candy kit" and certificate of authenticity

The El Mocambo Strat and Tele are available as a pair for US$25,000, and come with eye-popping green hard cases, a guitar strap, a DVD of Stevie Ray Vaughan's awesome 1983 show at the venue, some stickers and a certificate of authenticity. The video below has more.

El Mocambo Stratocaster & Telecaster | Dream Factory | Fender

Product pages: El Mocambo Strat, El Mocambo Tele

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1 comment
1 comment
Kenson Wilcox
They relic'd the body and back of neck... But the hardware is shiny gold? That doesn't make any sense