We've seen some incredible instruments from Fender Custom Shop's Yuriy Shishkov in the last couple of years, including a model inspired by a 1936 Kodak Bantam Special camera and another with a watch movement built into the Telecaster's body. Now the Master Builder has teamed up with Jim Dolmage to create a special guitar and amp which pay a not-so-subtle homage to The Who's iconic 1975 rock opera, Tommy.
Based on a 1969 album of the same name from one of the UK's most influential rock bands, the movie follows the story of Tommy – played by The Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey – who becomes psychosomatically deaf,dumb and blind after witnessing his father's murder. Subjected to many attempts to cure him, and the victim of a numberous abuses, he finds an unlikely escape playing pinball by intuition alone. Tommy achieves fame and fortune, is subsequently released from his condition and becomes a religious cult figure.
In addition to members of the band, the movie also featured many big names of the day, including Elton John, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson and Tina Turner. And it's from this pop-culture strangeness that the Pinball Telecaster and Wizard amplifier have been born.
The movie-inspired madness starts with the guitar's body, which includes 40 year-old plywood from a Bally pinball machine and battery-powered LEDs that randomly light up colored plastic playfield inserts. There's a pair of movable ball flippers behind the bridge, a big pinball volume knob and a pinball-themed paintjob with plastic game trim pieces installed on the body and head. And if that's not enough pinball for you, the guitar has even been treated to a spring-loaded ball shooter.
Meanwhile, the '57 Custom Pro-Amp circuitry and 15-inch Eminence speaker of the Wizard amp is wrapped up in a cabinet made from wood and metal recovered from old pinball machines, and finished off with a colorful themed design.
Fender reckons that the Custom Shop duo will "appeal to guitar, pinball machine, movie memorabilia and Americana collectors alike," though they'll have to dig into deep pockets to take them home. The Pinball Telecaster and Wizard amp have a price tag that may send you into a Tommy-like state – at US$80,000. The pair are making their debut at the NAMM show in California this week.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more