By Pauline France
Legendary Fender Custom Shop electric guitar pickup winder Abigail Ybarra, who was personally hired by Leo Fender in 1956, retired last Friday, May 3, after winding pickups for nearly 60 years.
Ybarra, also known as "Abby," hand-wound pickups for some of Fender’s most popular instruments from the late-’50s to today, and were most likely found on instruments played by legends such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others.
Over the past three years, Fender Custom Shop Pickup Specialist Josefina Campos has been apprenticing under Ybarra, mastering the techniques that only a half-century of experience can create. Campos, who has been with Fender since 1991, is more than prepared to take the torch from Ybarra’s legendary hands.
“Josefina has been part of the Fender Custom Shop for many years now, and she has spent a good portion of her time winding great-sounding pickups and apprenticing with one of the best pickup builders in the world,” said Fender Custom Shop Marketing Director Mike 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.”
Campos-wound pickups are already in great demand, and the Fender Custom Shop is planning to include them in select limited instruments and in custom-ordered Master Built models.