From Sketch to Masterpiece: The Story of Fender Splatocaster Guitar

From Sketch to Masterpiece: The Story of Fender Splatocaster Guitar

From Sketch to Masterpiece The Story of Fender Splatocaster GuitarFrom Sketch to Masterpiece The Story of Fender Splatocaster Guitar

In the realm of guitars, where innovation meets artistic expression, a legendary creation emerged from an unexpected source: a contest.

The Fender Splatocaster, an aluminum marvel with fluid-filled chambers, not only defied convention but also became a testament to the power of imagination. This is the captivating story of how a humble competition birthed a truly surreal masterpiece.

As Guitar World celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020, the magazine’s history was brimming with iconic moments. From the world’s most prominent guitarists to the quirkiest and most extraordinary instruments, Guitar World has been a guiding light for enthusiasts worldwide. Among its significant milestones was the announcement in the July 2004 issue of the “Design Your Dream Guitar” contest.

Readers, professional artists, and doodlers alike were summoned to submit their dream guitar designs. At the time the tantalizing prize was the actual creation of the winning design by the revered Fender Custom Shop. The expectation was a mix of skilled renderings and charmingly amateur sketches. What transpired next was an overwhelming deluge of creativity. Thousands of entries inundated the magazine’s headquarters.

The winning design, revealed in the Holiday 2004 issue, was the brainchild of reader Jimmy Stout. His brainchild, affectionately named the “Splatocaster,” transcended the boundaries of imagination. The guitar boasted an aluminum body in the classic Stratocaster shape, adorned with clear cavities filled with captivating fluids. Yet, the creation was not without its challenges.

Fender Custom Shop veteran Scott Buehl was entrusted with bringing the Splatocaster to life. The complexity of the concept meant that Buehl dedicated nearly two years to crafting this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  In an interview with Fender, Buehl humorously recalled:

“The aluminum body was the least of my concerns. It was the fluid concoctions that posed the real challenge. I’m a guitar craftsman, not a chemist!”

The journey, however, was anything but smooth. Buehl confessed: “I thought about quitting my job several times…That was easily the most difficult guitar I’ve ever done.”

However, in the end, the outcome justified the trials. Stout’s elation was evident as he declared to Guitar World, “Winning feels incredible! I wouldn’t trade this guitar for a million dollars.”

Yet, reality has a way of nudging even the most extraordinary dreams. A few months after acquiring the Splatocaster, Stout finds himself burdened by financial stress.

He decided to part ways with his artistic triumph. He listed the guitar on eBay for a staggering $30,000, explaining his predicament in the May 2007 issue. “It’s a tough call, but it’s my way out of this situation,” he confessed.

As for the Splatocaster itself, its fate remains a mystery. While its journey might have taken unexpected turns, what remains undeniable is the legacy of the “Design Your Dream Guitar” contest. It continues to stand as a testament to the boundless creativity within the guitar community and a reminder that even the most surreal dreams can be transformed into reality.

In the annals of guitar history, the Fender Splatocaster holds its own special place—a reminder that inspiration knows no bounds and that a contest born from the pages of a magazine can give rise to a true work of art.

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