Fender Custom Shop MASTER BUILDER Interview: We Talk to PAUL WALLER!
Published on 06 October 2023
We’re all massive Fender Custom Shop fans here at guitarguitar. The relic’ing, the reissues, the limited runs…it’s why we get out of bed in the morning, basically. But one thing struck me recently: how often do we ever get to hear from the actual builders? The people who put together these magical creations that we all stare at and strive for. When do we ever get to actually hear from these people?
Not often! And even less so from the Master Builders, those mysterious, exalted Jedi Masters of the guitar making craft. Their order books are filled years in advance, and having their name on your guitar is like an extra talisman of quality and scarcity.
Who are these people?
Well, I wanted to find out. In between other tasks, I started making tentative enquiries. Fender are a receptive bunch, and thankfully agreed to my proposal of having an exclusive Zoom chat with one of their top Master Builders: Paul Waller!
Talking to Paul Waller
My aim in this conversation was to step behind the curtain a little and see what the actual day-to-day is like at the Custom Shop. We’ve all seen the end results, but what about the stages before? What is a typical day like for someone like Paul?
I wanted to know more about his own tastes, and about the kind of things he is into as a person. I figured that all of these little details find their way into the work, one way or another.
Paul was very obliging: he’s a friendly, laid-back guy and he met all of my questions with a smile. I learned about his background, the type of tasks that fill his days, and about how it feels to see Keith Richards or Bono on TV playing something that he built for them. How many people know that feeling?
Anyway, it’s all here on video, so I’ll wrap this up and let Paul do the talking. I hope you enjoy it!