Fender Custom Shop not making friends with Nels Cline

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Gevalt

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Fender imitated the wear patterns and even gave it some sort of not-a-Mastery bridge. The only time I've heard or read Nels Cline's name is in relation to his Jazzmaster playing.

Reminds me of Fender stiffing Joe Bananasma for arguably copying his gold strat, and he stopped using Fenders onstage for a while.
I wonder what Nels Cline will do?


FYI, that's one of the pictures I posted a while back in the offset forums and I was contacted by Nels Cline's attorney about copyright infringement
If this is true, then F@$% Nels Cline. Guy would have to be a world-class narcissist to do what you say he did.

 
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This seems a little far-fetched... the wear on Cline's guitar looks great, but his isn't the only guitar in the world with those kinds of wear patterns. "Inspired by" and "blatant copy" are not the same thing. And it's not like Fender made a mass-produced sig version or anything without his permission (though a sig Cline Jazzmaster would be pretty epic).
 

webs

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It might just be a "heads up" to Nels, but I can see where Fender might not want to involve that. Giving a heads-up could get messy if the person on the other end takes it to mean that they have some control or ownership.

For one, I don't know how many of these they're making but at $8K it's probably not many, and I wonder if the guys at the custom shop are doing stuff like this all day long "inspired" by this or that, and don't have the time or desire to clear each one with whoever happens to own it. What if they say no? Do you not make the guitar, or do you double down and turn it into an overt snub? In the same vein, if you tell an artist you're copying their instrument I bet a fair number of them want a cut - another reason to wink-nod copy without making it official, if it's just a one-off or a couple lookalikes and not a signature run. I'd have to see a better photo but it looks like it might not be a strict copy, either. Fender are certainly capable of reproducing that exact wear pattern but haven't, and it might just be glare but it doesn't look like the same kind of bridge to me.

I get where Nels is coming from but I can see how it might be a lot more practical for Fender to just make guitars, rather than asking permission to re-make guitars they made in the first place.
 

lowyaw

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He’s the guy in Wilco with the overly active vibrato
Good Lord, you're not making it any easier.
What's Wilco?

Joking aside, I really had to google both. I mean, he's probably known to certain audience, and more power to him. But if I were him, I'd regram the pic saying Hey, Fender's made me a surprise sig!
Oh wait.
I am not him. aaaand HIM is a band too.
Nevermind.
 

Etosser

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While on closer (not really) inspection it isn't an exact copy, I did think it was a Nels sig when I saw the pics last week. It makes sense they would do one. Not into JMs as a rule, but that guitar vibes.
 

Kurt L

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No offense, but who's Nels Cline?
Good Lord, you're not making it any easier.
What's Wilco?

Joking aside, I really had to google both. I mean, he's probably known to certain audience, and more power to him.
That “certain audience” (for Wilco) translates to selling out a good sized auditorium anywhere in the world. (Wilco was great even before Nels Cline joined, but he definitely kicked things up a notch!)

Not sure how I feel about the new Fender. Can’t see where Cline could make any sort of IP case - but there’s no doubt he’s raised the profile of Jazzmasters over the last 20 years and it certainly looks like the one he plays.
 

Johnny Alien

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Fender imitated the wear patterns and even gave it some sort of not-a-Mastery bridge.
That non-mastery bridge is a design they have been using in the custom shop for a long time now for offsets. It's a nice design and I wish they would use it across the standard line or at least make it available for purchase.

It's not illegal, just immoral.
I don't think it's either. They are not making a signature NC model. They might have made a NAMM model with similar wear to show off what the custom shop can do but the custom shop is just that....a custom shop. The models will all look different with different wear. If they mass produced a road worn model with the same exact wear as his guitar but never worked a "signature" deal with him then I could understand but that doesn't appear to be the case.
 

Seth L

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I don't think it's either. They are not making a signature NC model. They might have made a NAMM model with similar wear to show off what the custom shop can do but the custom shop is just that....a custom shop. The models will all look different with different wear. If they mass produced a road worn model with the same exact wear as his guitar but never worked a "signature" deal with him then I could understand but that doesn't appear to be the case.
They've copied his guitar without consulting him or getting his consent. That's a pretty crappy thing to do.
 

Johnny Alien

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They've copied his guitar without consulting him or getting his consent. That's a pretty crappy thing to do.
They didn't take measurements from his guitar or go to great lengths to make an exact copy. They made a one off custom shop NAMM guitar that has similar wear. What do you think they should do from a moral perspective? We don't even have proof that it was intentional. He has a worn guitar and another fake worn guitar looks similar. If they were selling a line that looked like his guitar and not involving him I see the issue but not in this case.
 

jsboswell

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It's their guitar. Their design. Their trademark. Their assembly. Cline purchased their product. That he played it over the years and it developed certain wear patterns indicates nothing proprietary or IP on his part. If they had somehow tied it to Cline or mentioned him or his likeness it would be a different story.
 
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