Fender has announced that “pickup artist” Abigail Ybarra, one of its most revered employees, is retiring after more than 50 years with the company. Ybarra came to Fender in 1956 and in ’58 began winding and building pickups. Her hand-wound creations have been installed on the company most popular instruments since the late ’50s and were likely on instruments played by Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and countless others. Her pickups have become desirable amongst artists and collectors.
“Abby is one of the many individuals, like George Fullerton, Freddie Tavares, and Forrest White, who have set our course as a company and leader in our industry,” said Mike Eldred, Marketing Director of Fender’s Custom Shop. “She has literally set the tone for Fender.”
Pickup Specialist Josefina Campos has been apprenticing under Ybarra for the last three, mastering the techniques that only a half-century of experience can create.
“Josefina has been part of the Custom Shop for years, and spent a good portion of her time winding great-sounding pickups,” added Eldred. “We are grateful to add her to an extraordinary group of Master Builders, and excited to watch her take her place in Fender’s rich history.”
To honor Ybarra’s service, Fender invited Los Lobos to play at a private party for Ybarra and her coworkers. For more, go to www.fender.com/custom-shop.