Cuervo is famous for pushing the boundaries of what this amazing plant can do – from sustainable agave car parts to 100% agave surfboards. So it’s only fitting that they would partner with Fender® – one of the world’s most legendary and innovative instrument brands – to create the world’s first Agave Stratocaster®.
Here, two “mad scientists” of their fields dreamt up the idea to build a Stratocaster out of a radical new material.
Paul Waller, Fender Custom Shop Master Builder, loves to think outside the box when it comes to instrument-making. Waller came to Mexico eager to steep himself in agave lore at Jose Cuervo’s La Rojena distillery.
Gary Linden, legendary surfboard shaper and creator of the world’s first 100% agave surfboard, shared his hard-earned wisdom regarding the intricacies and challenges of working with the plant.
Once the two got their creative juices flowing, there was no doubt that the Agave Stratocaster was just a matter of when. So they headed back to the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, CA to get started.
Working with the extremely soft agave plant material presented Waller with a unique challenge. “It’s so much more different than everything else I’ve ever used,” he said. “There are places where you can just squeeze it with a moderate amount of pressure, like you’re fretting a chord on a guitar – you can actually indent the material and create a dent in the agave. That’s how soft it is.”
While the instrument features a pure agave body, 21-fret neck and fingerboard, the two-piece ’56 Stratocaster remains true to tradition with all-genuine Fender hardware, a custom-engraved neck plate with a Jose Cuervo inscription, and hand-wound Fat ’50s neck, RWRP middle and bridge pickups.
In the end, crafting the guitar took over 30 hours, on top of the five days it took Gary to harvest the agave stalk and complete the sealing of the guitar. The design process resulted in a unique art guitar that, in the true innovative spirit of the Fender Custom Shop, tests the limits of guitar craftsmanship.
We asked iconic skateboarder and multi-instrumentalist Ray Barbee to plug in and take this agave masterpiece for a ride. We think he enjoyed it quite a bit, saying, “I’m fascinated by this thing. It really has this interesting characteristic.”
At a mere 6-6.5 pounds, the bantamweight Cuervo X Fender Agave Stratocaster weighs significantly less than a guitar crafted from traditional tone woods. It sounds very “musical,” retaining the classic “quackiness” of a Stratocaster pickup. A stunning instrument with an arresting body – Cuervo and Fender have made history once again with the Cuervo X Fender Agave Stratocaster.
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