Premier Builders Guild announced that Art Esparza, former Senior Master Builder at Fender Custom Shop, has joined the company. Art will work with PBG Chief Master Builder Gene Baker and his team at the PBG workshop in Arroyo Grande, California. His primary focus will be on limited edition USA Masterbuilt reissues that PBG is producing for D’Angelico Guitars. The first reissue in the series is a 1943 D’Angelico Excel, which will be introduced at the upcoming NAMM Show (Booth 2882).
“It’s my pleasure to have Art as part of our crew,” said Gene Baker. “His vast manufacturing knowledge and do-it-yourself leadership approach will be long-term assets for PBG. It’s like adding a pro quarterback to an energized, well trained team.”
Esparza served at Fender for over 18 years, mentored by some of the finest master builders in the industry, including Fender Custom Shop co-founder John Page, J.W. Black and Phil Kubicki. During that time he designed and built instruments for leading artists including Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Ernie Isley, Sammy Hagar and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. One-of-a-kind efforts included the widely celebrated “Zeal” Stratocasters for Isley; a custom chambered Showmaster for Teena Marie; a red Strat with Richard McClish piezo bridge for Hagar, and a polka dot Strat for Guy that precisely matches his favorite polka dot shirt.
Since leaving Fender in 2006, Art has created custom instruments under his own name while also designing, building and repairing guitars as a consultant for a leading boutique brand. An accomplished sax player, he has also gigged regularly at several major casinos.
“PBG has taken an innovative approach to the production of US-made masterbuilt guitars and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Esparza. “The D’Angelico reissues I’m focused on are both challenging and satisfying, and I’m looking forward to their introduction at NAMM.”
Michael Bernstein, founder and Chairman of PBG, said “With Art on our team we now have two of the leading master builders in the industry under one roof. This helps ensure unsurpassed craftsmanship and the continued growth of our brand.”