Our September 2012 Monthly Gear Giveaway featured an all-expenses-paid trip to Fender’s Corona, California, factory and visitor center, plus a fantastic American Vintage Series guitar. Our two lucky winners, David Hurwitz and Andy Orr, returned from their respective trips and gave us the details.
David and his wife were flown out to Corona, where they stayed for two days and nights. “It was an incredible experience,” says David. “Matt Schultz from Fender was at our beck and call for the entire time. He treated us like royalty. [At the Fender factory] They showed us every little aspect of how they make the guitars. We got to see all the machinery. It was really impressive.” David also met Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz. “I got to talk to him for 45 minutes. It was a wonderful experience.”
To top off his dream guitar trip, David chose and took home his favorite Fender American Vintage Series guitar – in this case, a ’59 Strat. It’s a keeper. “I have six other guitars at home, including a ’65 Strat. I haven’t pulled that one or any of the others out of their cases since I got the ’59,” he admits.
David also loves the service he has received as a Sweetwater customer over the last decade. “[Sweetwater Sales Engineer] Mark Magdich is a great guy, and he’s very knowledgeable. And whenever I need to speak to the Tech Support team, they answer any question I have – no matter how dumb. I have absolutely no complaints. I love working with Sweetwater.”
Andy Orr also gave his prize-winning Fender visit high marks: “It was total Southern California rock ‘n’ roll immersion to the point of being ridiculous! It was every guitar geek’s dream.” Andy wasted no time getting the most out of his visit. “As soon as we landed, we went to the Whisky, the Roxy, and the Viper Room – along with every guitar store in Hollywood. We got smoothies at the Sunset Grill and then headed to Venice Beach for lobster.”
The next day, Andy went to the Fender factory, did the factory tour, and met and spoke with Doyle Dykes in the lobby. He even had his photo taken with Fender’s “Queen of Tone,” legendary pickup winder Abigail Ybarra. “Then we went back to the factory and picked out a very sweet American Vintage Series ’52 Telecaster in classic Butterscotch. The people at the factory could not have been nicer,” Andy remembers. “They buffed out my guitar, checked with me on the setup, and went out of their way to make it a special experience.”
In the midst of this whirlwind visit, Andy enjoyed an interesting sidetrack. “We helped unpack some Jimi Hendrix clothing and memorabilia that Jimi’s sister had shipped to Fender. If you’re interested, Jimi had a 28″ waist. His clothes wouldn’t fit on the mannequin they had brought in for the display!”
Like David, Andy thoroughly enjoyed his visit. “Honestly, you would not believe how good of a time we had. Matt, the Fender rep, was awesome! We were all awestruck. It really was an unbelievable trip. I wouldn’t change one minute of it.”