Shortly before his death, Jimmy D'Aquisto was working with Fender on a line of archtops which included a small run of Masterbuilt guitars. The first of these Fender D'Aquisto Ultra guitars was built by Jimmy himself and Stephen Stern was trained under Jimmy to continue the run. Stephen Stern built the remainder of these guitars himself. This one is number 37 of that run which is believed to have a total of fewer than 40 guitars, making this one of the very last of this model. Following this, Stephen Stern went on to head the Gretsch Custom Shop where he remains to this day.
Fender sourced only the very best of woods for these guitars. You can see in the photos that the top is made of top grade spruce which shows remarkably prominent medullary rays only seen with perfectly quartersawn woods. The back and side are made with 4A grade flamed maple. The neck is 3-ply flamed maple with a darker wood in the center which to my eye looks like mahogany. The fingerboard is top grade ebony, as is the bridge, pickguard, volume knob, pickup housing, tuner buttons, and tailpiece.
The guitar has meticulous craftsmanship. With a glossy, flawlessly performed nitrocellulose finish, multiply binding on the body, and bound f-holes. The guitar shows in near mint condition with only some light finish checking on the top which only shows in just the right angled light, as shown in one of the pics. The frets show virtually no wear.
The playability is great and the bridge has room for adjustment either up or down as the player prefers. This x-braced guitar has very even tone across all registers and ample volume, as well as nice sustain. The pickups on these are said to be custom handwound Kent Armstrong mini humbuckers. I'm more of an acoustic archtop guy and this is a great one. That said, the floating pickup is great too.
The guitar comes with the certificate of authenticity, signed by Steven Stern and the original alligator-style hardshell case.
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