Esprit Ultra

1983

Japanese prototypes are manufactured and delivered to Fender. Design adjustments are made and implemented.
Part #027-3030

Frets: 22

Body: chambered alder

Pickups: 2 custom Schaller

Neck: 3-piece set maple

Bridge: Schaller, with adjustable roller saddles

Fretboard: ebony

Tailpiece: Schaller, fine-tuning

Top: carved spruce

Scale length: 24.75 in.

1984

Production begins in Japan. Deliveries to Fender are slow.

1985

Master Series production continues in Japan. CBS sells Fender to the Fender upper-management team.

Fender dealer price lists indicate close-out sale of Master Series guitars to dealers. Guitars are shipped without cases.

1986


Robben Ford

1987

New Fender management authorizes Japanese production of the first Robben Ford guitars. They are based on the Esprit Ultra. D’Aquisto archtop production continues in Japan.

Part #027-3030

Frets: 22

Body: chambered alder

Pickups: 2 custom

Neck: 3-piece set maple

Bridge: Nashville-styled

Fretboard: ebony

Tailpiece: Schaller, fine-tuning

Top: carved spruce

Scale length: 24.75 in.

1988

Robben Ford releases his Talk to Your Daughter album, showing the new Japanese RF guitar on the cover. The September 1988 issue of Guitar Player magazine features photos of Robben playing the guitar.

1989

Fender dealer price lists indicate Robben Ford Signature Guitar MSRP $1,499.

1993

Last year of Japanese production of the Robben Ford guitars.


Robben Ford Ultra SP

1994

Production of Robben Ford signature guitars is moved to the Fender US Custom Shop. 3 models are made: Ultra FM (carved flame maple top); Ultra SP (carved spruce top); and Elite FM (carved flamed maple top over NON-chambered mahogany body).

Part #010-3050

Frets: 22 Dunlop 6100

Body: chambered mahog.

Pickups: Duncan JB, '59

Neck: set mahogany

Bridge: Nashville-styled

Fretboard: ebony

Tailpiece: Schaller, fine-tuning

Top: carved spruce

Scale length: 24.625 in.

2002

Fender discontinues production of all Robben Ford guitars.


Master Series Esprit

2005

Dan Smith re-works the Esprit specs for this Korean-made instrument. Bodies and necks are made of mahogany and the carved tops are 3- or 4-piece grain-matched mahogany. There is no rear body-contour, and there are other slight variations.

Part #034-3000

Frets: 22

Body: chambered mahog.

Pickups: Duncan-designed

Neck: set mahogany

Bridge: adjust-o-matic, platinum finish

Fretboard: rosewood

Tailpiece: anchored, platinum finish

Top: multi-mahog., carved

Scale length: 24.75 in.