Fender Custom Shop not making friends with Nels Cline

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COYS

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Cline is an incredible player, no doubt about that. And his JM is arguably the most famous one out there.

It would just look like a black/tort heavy relic but having the fake Mastery bridge does make it look like an obvious take on his guitar.

That being said, Fender produces MIM maple strats in Gilmour colors and rosewood burst Mayer looking ones, this is not nearly a first. Cline has never been a Fender endorser so I'm not sure what they are supposed to owe him.
 

JDandCoke

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Is it any different to just a well used vintage jazzmaster?
The only distinguishable difference I can tell nels made to his jazzmaster is the bridge, this new fender doesn't have that so it's just fender making another relic imo

If nels had some unique changes to his guitar that fender had copied then maybe he'd have a point.

Big fan of nels and wilco fwiw
 

Kurt L

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A little professional courtesy? He doesn't seem angry, just surprised. That guitar is pretty unusual, so anyone thinking it's not a copy is just wrong.
Even if it is a copy, Cline doesn’t own any IP rights to the original.

I love the guy and will go see him play any chance I get, but I don’t see any great injustice. However, I do see how he might find it annoying.
 

Seth L

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Even if it is a copy, Cline doesn’t own any IP rights to the original.

I love the guy and will go see him play any chance I get, but I don’t see any great injustice. However, I do see how he might find it annoying.
I think he a very good reason for pointing it out.
 

(Something)

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I think his second point about an actual vintage JM being cheaper to be more provocative. A 59 Jazzmaster is around $7500 and a Mastery bridge is around $180. Voila!


...but yeah, when I saw that guitar, I instantly thought Nels Cline signature model.
 

74vibrolux

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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.

For people who know Nels and enjoy the music he makes, that guitar is iconic. Like beyond iconic. People who are fans of his would recognize the Watt guitar (as it's known) in a split second. By copying the wear patterns of his Jazzmaster, they immediately tied it to him. You don't have to mention his name to know exactly which guitar they were creating. It is entirely their design and they have every right to do with it as they wish, but they're riding on his reputation to sell an overpriced relic and giving him zero credit. It's no different than them putting out a strat that looks identical to the SRV one or a tele that's obviously Micawber without giving credit. It's legal, but kinda scuzzy.
 

Matt L

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I can only go by that one photo, but the wear pattern is not the same. It certainly resembles his guitar, but are they not allowed to do a relic’d black/tort JM now because one player is identified with it? It’s an interesting predicament.

I’m just surprised they haven’t done a Nels Cline Signature by now. Of all the current players of the Jazzmaster, he’s right up there with J Mascis for being associated with that guitar.
 

dotlikeimpact

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Not illegal, but not great ethically to attempt to make money by imitating a famous player’s famous example of an instrument without reaching out to them.

This is pretty clearly a Watt “tribute”. I assume most sig models (even in small batches) come with some money for the artist (but then again, I don’t know that for sure). That was definitely bypassed here.

OTOH, not hugely different than a boutique builder making an Old Black clone withou getting Neil Young’s priors either.
 
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