Hollywood, CA (September 18, 2019) — A flawless union of supreme craftsmanship, rock ‘n’ roll and photography comes to life with the introduction of Leica and Fender Custom Shop’s limited-edition camera-Stratocaster guitar pairing. Created in collaboration with Andy Summers, an accomplished photographer, former member of the Grammy award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band The Police and one of the greatest guitarists in the world, the LEICA M MONOCHROM “Signature” camera and Fender Custom Shop Andy Summers Monochrome Strat® represent a striking synergy of music and photography.
A true virtuoso of his craft, Summer’s latest album, Triboluminescence, showcases his versatile abilities to perform remarkably with an array of instruments including the guitar, bass, drums, banjo, keyboards and more. A true renaissance man, Summers can stay in-tune with both musical and photographic instruments, as well. A world-class Leica photographer, Summers has worked with photography for 36 years, even developing a number of books and exhibitions to showcase his work.
Mirroring Leica’s dedication to unparalleled craftsmanship, well-known manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers, Fender, as well as the Custom Shop, have a long tradition of building signature guitars as a tribute to some of the world’s greatest musicians.
“Art and creativity take many forms and Andy Summers has wed two of his passions throughout his career – music and photography, said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Touring the world as a musician enabled a wealth of experiences and moments to occur that he captured beautifully, and now for Fender and Leica to team up with Andy and fuse the both visual and the sonic realms together has been inspiring to say the least. A lot of work went into this collection, and it’s unlike anything we’ve done before.”
A work of art—in partnership with Leica Camera—the Andy Summers Monochrome Strat is a celebration of the arts that inspire him. Crafted by Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilder Dennis Galuszka, this Strat is custom-wrapped with a collage of monochrome photos taken by Summers with his Leica M cameras. Combining the two worlds of photography and music, this collaborative effort showcases his photos, as well as the masterful craftsmanship and style that can only be found in the Fender Custom Shop. The two-piece select alder body wears a NOS urethane finish while the strong, stable one-piece riftsawn maple neck has a comfortable “’63 C”- shaped profile. The 7.25”-radius fingerboard features 21 medium-vintage frets, along with a red camera dot inlay at the 15th fret. The trio of hand-wound Custom Shop ‘60s Strat pickups have authentic Fender tone, are connected via Vintage Modified #2 wiring and controlled with cool, Leica-style volume and tone knobs. Other features include Summer’s signature engraved on the neck plate, a custom Clear pickguard and back plate, an American Vintage synchronized tremolo, bone nut and wing string tree. It also includes a deluxe hardshell case, custom strap and Certificate of Authenticity.
To honor Summer’s work, and as a complement to the guitar, Leica created the LEICA M MONOCHROM “Signature.” The limited-edition camera features intricate design elements from the Andy Summers Monochrome Strat, such as a leatherette that matches a collage from Summer’s legendary photo collection that also appears on the guitar and a thin red line engraving running along the side of the entire body. On the other hand, the guitar includes features of the camera, including the silver operation elements. The finished products are a true reflection of the epitome of thoughtful design expertise.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to work with two leading producers of two fundamental instruments I hold close to my heart, Leica Camera and Fender Custom Shop,” Summers said. “After all these years of being obsessed with photography and the guitar, I now have the two things together for the first time. I’ve always thought of my photographic experience as tearing pages from a book and then reshuffling the results into a new visual syntax, and the collage-forward design of the LEICA M MONOCHROM “Signature” is the physical embodiment of just that.”
“This Stratocaster guitar is also very inspiring,” he added. “The really incredible thing the Fender Custom Shop had to pull off was getting my photo collage on the guitar body. I still don’t know how they did it! A lot of photographs on here are personal ones, and there are a couple of pictures of Sting and Stewart to keep it in the family. In a way, it’s autobiographical, because these pictures span many years.”
The photo collage that appears on both the camera and Andy Summers Monochrome Strat highlights stunning photographs from Summers’s collection including a man walking his horse into the ocean captured from a small boat in Montserrat, a striking photo of hooded individuals captured amongst rain and mist on Yellow Mountain in China, as well as an image of celebratory balloons that landed before Summer’s encore at a concert. “As a hard-core, life-long Police fan it was so fun to see all of these great photos,” said Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Dennis Galuszka. “Then the reality hit me, and I thought ‘how on Earth am I going to cover a Stratocaster with belly and arm cuts with all of these photos, but it worked out!”
Coupled with a glossy paint finish, silver chrome operational elements and a gorgeous red line engraving of Summer’s signature, the camera is truly a sight to behold. The set is complete with a Leica Summicron-M f/2 35mm ASPH. lens adorned with a vintage round lens hood, a Fender guitar-inspired camera strap and an OBERWETH leather black system bag.
The LEICA M MONOCHROM “Signature,” limited to 50 worldwide, is on sale now at Leica Stores and Boutiques (check http://www.leicacamerausa.com for pricing). The Fender Custom Shop Andy Summers Monochrome Strat® is priced at $12,500 and is available at Authorized Showcase Dealers. The camera and guitar are sold separately.