Fender Custom Shop Passes Rich Tradition To Next Generation

Los Lobos perform at Fender legend Abigail Ybarras retirement party in celebration of more than 50 years of service.

Ultimate Guitar

The Fender Custom Shop is both pleased and wistful to announce that one of its most revered employees, "pickup artist" Abigail Ybarra, is retiring after more than 50 years in the Fender family. In celebration, Fender arranged for multiple Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos to play at her private retirement party with dozens of her coworkers. Ybarra came to Fender in 1956 and in 1958 began hand-winding and hand-building guitar pickups for the fledgling Southern California musical instrument company (pickups convert string vibrations into electric signals, creating the "voice" of an electric guitar). Ybarra's hand-wound pickups have been included in Fender's most popular instruments from the late-'50s to today, and were most likely found on instruments played by legends such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others. Her pickups have become highly desirable and sought after by artists and collectors alike.

"Abby is one of the many individuals, like George Fullerton, Freddie Tavares and Forrest White, who have set our course as a company and leader in our industry," said Mike Eldred, Fender Custom Shop Marketing Director. "She has literally 'set the tone' for Fender, and we will continue to carry on her legacy in the Fender Custom Shop." Over the past three years, Fender Custom Shop Pickup Specialist Josefina Campos has been apprenticing under Ybarra, mastering the techniques that only a half-century of experience can create. Campos, who has been with Fender since 1991, is more than prepared to take the torch from Ybarra's legendary hands.

"Josefina has been part of the Fender Custom Shop for many years now, and she has spent a good portion of her time winding great-sounding pickups and apprenticing with one of the best pickup builders in the world," added Eldred. "We are grateful to add her to an extraordinary group of Master Builders, and excited to watch her take her place in Fender's rich history." Campos-wound pickups are already in great demand, and the Fender Custom Shop is planning to include them in select limited instruments and in custom-ordered Master Built models. For more information, go to www.fender.com/custom-shop. About Fender Musical Instruments Corporation: Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is one of the world's leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors, whose portfolio of brands includes Fender, Squier, Gretsch, Jackson, Takamine, Guild, EVH, Ovation, Charveand Groove Tubes, among others.For more information, visit www.fender.com.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It is amazing to me how much crap gets posted on articles about people who won't mean much years from now, but this simple lady who made a huge contribution to the world of guitar doesn't get shit. God bless her and the work she put into making some awesome pieces of craftsmanship.
    Awesome story! Congratulations Abigail! After watching the video, I was surprised to find Ran Ran Bo Bandy worked at Fender! Doesn't wear a shirt, not even in the winter! 6:20 mark of video
    Hand winding pick-ups? You just don't see meticulous skill like that enough these days. I believe my Tele Deluxe was honcho el mexico, so factory built most likely. Wish I had the duckets for a masterbuild...
    Millarso, I agree. This is a great story, and really shows the true arcitects of the industry.
    So we're going back to weekend articles?
    a woman has served at one of the world's biggest guitar companies for 50 years, helped manufacture pickups for some of the most renowned musicians ever to have walked earth and all you care about is if UG are posting articles on a weekend or not. prat.
    Rufus Shinra
    (pickups convert string vibrations into electric signals, creating the "voice" of an electric guitar) Really? I didn't know that.....good thing I read this guitar based website.