I purchased this beaut in the summer of 2005. The Tele J5 signature model was a “gotta have” instrument that I needed to round out my arsenal of Teles. The hot pickups, special features and very unusual headstock design piqued my interest as soon as I came across it in the new Fender catalogue. The price of the Fender Custom Shop model with Bigsby was prohibitive, however.
My solution was to order the much more affordable Mexican-made model sans Bigsby and to install a designed-for-Tele Bigsby I had bought earlier on e-Bay. Unfortunately, this Bigsby kit was designed for the standard Tele pup layout, but with the help of friend Jim Ghidoni we did some drastic metal cutting in his hot rod custom shop and adapted stock Tele Bigsby plate to fit over the J-5 bridge pickups. While at it we installed my patented B-bender rod to the headstock.
This is indeed a custom model – I’ve done modifications to this very expensive instrument that would make most guitar aficionados shudder : )