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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Muddy Waters Tribute Telecaster


This space for rent

Nov 6th, 2000 12:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This guitar is a limited edition Custom Shop Telecaster, created as a replica of Muddy Waters' famous red Tele, which now resides in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Supposedly, every nick, scratch, and dent was reproduced in minute detail. It's number 27/100, and was made in 2000.


I first became aware of this guitar in February. I've always been a fan of Muddy Waters, and I thought it might be fun to own one of the replicas. Given the very limited run, I figured all of them would be snatched up immediately. I posted a question about availability on the FDP, and Jimmy See suggested that I contact the Music Loft (Indoor Storm) in North Carolina. I gave them a call, and they made a few inquiries. Much to my surprise, they told me that that could get me one. I jumped on it.

I attended the Catalina Blues Festival in May, and the prototype was on display. It looked incredible, and it made me more anxious for it to arrive. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, in early November (nine months later), I got the long-awaited call that the guitar had arrived.

First Impressions

The UPS chick rang my bell, and said, "We got a heavy one here. Another guitar?" Yep, but not just any guitar. I opened the box and found the following contents: One Muddy Waters Tribute Telecaster, a G&G hard shell case (not reliced), a certificate signed by Mike Eldred, a vintage leather strap, a cord, a polishing cloth, a Tele ash tray bridge cover, two thumb picks, one finger pick, a cheap elastic capo, a small slide, a "Muddy Waters Lost Tapes" CD (one that I didn't already own), and a very cool framed Muddy Waters poster, signed and numbered (#27/210) by the photographer, Raeburn Ferlage.

The guitar is absolutely gorgeous. It's resonant and very light (about two pounds lighter than my AS Tele), and the relicing looks 100% authentic, complete with subtle checking of the finish and some serious dings on the body. The guitar, of course, has the original vintage three barrel bridge and a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard (which was quite a bit lighter in color that I had expected). The frets are big (definitely not the small vintage variety), and the fretwork is flawless. The vintage tuners look old, but operate perfectly. The volume and tone knobs are actually Fender amp knobs (a customization made by Muddy). The single-ply pickguard has four extra screws, a small crack near one of the screws, and even has screwdriver marks from someone attempting to adjust the truss rod without removing the neck.

I was curious about the setup. My understanding is that Muddy used very heavy strings with high action for slide work. Apparently, the setup was not reproduced. It was set up just like any other new Fender guitar: 9's, with very low action.

I plugged it in, tuned it up, and was immediately blown away by the sound and feel. It certainly doesn't feel like a new guitar. It definitely has some "vibe" and felt like an old friend. The description at Fender's web site refers to the neck as "girthy." I'm not sure what that means, but the neck isn't as thick as I was expecting. In fact, the profile seems identical to my AS Tele.

I really don't know how well the Fender folks have reproduced the wear on this guitar, because I've never seen the original. However, it is so authentic-looking that it would probably fool many people.

Later Impressions

Next step: change the strings. I put on a set of 10's, which is my preferred string gauge. This had the effect of adding slightly more relief to the neck, but not quite enough for my tastes. So I increased the string height on E and A, and did some minor tweaks to the intonation. Voila! A perfect guitar.

I don't have a whole lot of experience with Telecasters. My main point of comparison is with my 1999 American Standard Tele. Fact is, there is no comparison. In a side-by-side comparison, the MuddyCaster simply sounds better, feels better and (IMHO) looks better.


This guitar wasn't cheap (I paid about $2,800), but I think I got a good deal (40% off the list price). This is probably the only guitar that I own that will, in the short term, be worth more than I paid for it. However, I have no intention of selling it, and I certainly won't be treating it like a museum piece. It's prominently displayed in my office, hanging on the wall within easy reach. I plan to spend more time playing it than looking at it.

Needless to say, I'm very pleased with this purchase. I've been playing it constantly, and it has quickly taken over as my favorite guitar.

Thank you Fender!

Click here for photos

Scott Cioe


Nov 6th, 2000 12:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


Enjoy it...



Nov 7th, 2000 06:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sounds really cool. Congrats!

dr venkman

Link of the week: www.cluboxed.co.uk

Nov 7th, 2000 06:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Very cool JWalk! I'm really jealous!

Tube Fired


Nov 8th, 2000 08:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Now THATS a relic!

Tube Fired


ratt tat tat

Dec 11th, 2000 09:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Man thats a cool guitar, it seems to have all the little nicks and wear on it. How do they do it?

Thanks great review.

Mark Jacobs

Operators are standing by

Dec 13th, 2000 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A great review J and a great review. I love that guitar!

Plug it in and have a cool yule.


Chris Greene - FDP Host


Dec 14th, 2000 11:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


I saw a rack of these back in September. They were all about as exactly the same (wear marks, etc.) as is possible. The Custom Shop sent someone to examine the original and take all the measurements and details. It's my understanding that these are exacting replicas (perhaps save for the action).


at the beach in sunny Santa Monica

Dec 14th, 2000 04:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

JWalk -- I just didn't have the buck$$ to go for the custom shop version -- but am hoping to add the MIM little brother some time soon.



Changing my name now.

Dec 21st, 2000 10:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

After Christmas I will be getting the MIM version myself. Gottahaveit cause its Muddy. Enjoy JWalk.

Psychedelic A.J.

2000 CS Telecaster, Wisconsin

Dec 27th, 2000 12:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

any chance these incredible guitars are still available anywhere or is it WAY too late?

is it true only 100 of these were made?

sounds like a very special guitar

Chris Greene - FDP Host


Dec 27th, 2000 12:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

PAJ, yup there were only 100 and yup, they will come up for sale from time to time. Keep you eye on ebay and gbase.

Psychedelic A.J.

2000 CS Telecaster, Wisconsin

Dec 27th, 2000 12:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

me thinks theys a gonna be awfully expensive on ebay! ***dumb question alert(!)*** but here goes: so they are all sold within the network of authorized Fender dealers huh?

Chris Greene - FDP Host


Dec 27th, 2000 01:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Originally? Yes.


Sandy Ego, CA

Dec 29th, 2000 02:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A.J. Go to Guitar Base and do a search for Fender (Make) and Muddy Waters (Model). Currently, there are two for sale (#81 and #60). Neither lists a price.

Guitar Base

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Muddy Waters Tribute Telecaster

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