Fender recruits two new Custom Shop Master Builders


Fender has announced two new additions to its ever-expanding team of Custom Shop master builders: Andy Hicks and David Brown.

Hicks and Brown will team up with the rest of the Master Builder cadre, which includes Dale Wilson, Paul Waller, Jason Smith, Yuriy Shishkov, Todd Krause, Dennis Galuszka, Greg Fessler, Ron Thorn, Kyle McMillin, Vincent Van Trigt and Austin Macnutt.

According to his biography, Hicks received his first guitar at age 11 – a Fender Stratocaster Three Tone Sunburst – and after nurturing a passion for Nirvana, Black Sabbath and Metallica began work on modifying pickups and wiring. .

In 2009, he enrolled in a six-month program at the Guitar Craft Academy in Hollywood and was recruited by the Jackson Custom Shop a week after graduating as a fret dresser. Later in his career, he served as an assistant to Gretsch Senior Master Builder, Steve Stern, between 2013 and 2018.

Picture taken in the head of Andy Hicks

(Image credit: Fender)

He worked closely with a number of artists during his time at Gretsch and assisted in the development of the Malcolm Young Salute Jet.

After a brief stint outside the Fender umbrella as lead builder and production manager, Hicks joins Fender in a move that, in his own words, “feels like I’ve come home.”

“Coming back to Fender, being part of the most prestigious custom shop in the industry and rubbing shoulders with so many talented builders is incredibly exciting and humbling,” Hicks said. “I also feel like I’ve come home.”

He continued, “I love interacting with guitarists. Bridging the gap between builder and player, listening to their desires and implementing them in my builds is incredibly rewarding.

Brown’s guitar journey, meanwhile, began in the 70s, and by the mid-80s he was working for Yamaha after cutting his teeth as a guitar repair technician at a local music store. . His first partnership with Fender began in 2000 and lasted nine years, during which he earned a degree in marketing from California State University.

Portrait of David Brown

(Image credit: Fender)

He returned to the Big F two years later to manage Fender’s new hospitality center, although he left after the center closed in 2016, and a year later became manager and lead builder of the G&L Custom Shop. at Fullerton until 2020.

Now, after a brief stint in school to earn a math teaching degree, Brown has returned to Fender for the third time.

Of his nomination, Brown said, “I hope to bring a perspective that takes into account all of my previous experiences in guitar making and building. I hope to create those instruments that are the industry standard in precision and feel for the musician.

“Becoming a master builder for the Fender Custom Shop means you’ve arrived,” he continued. “There is no higher peak than this.”

Brown and Hicks are the latest master builders to be recruited by Fender, after the company announced it had hired Austin Macnutt to join the team earlier this year.

For more information, visit Fender Custom Shop.

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