In 1993, Gene was hired to work in the Fender Custom Shop buffing department, where he worked his way up from Masters’ Apprentice to Senior Master Builder, becoming a test pilot for the team build concept. During Gene’s time at the shop, he was involved in the Robben Ford project collaboration; the prototyping of the first contemporary carved Stratocaster guitars; the reissue of mid-late ‘60s big headstock Stratocasters; as well as collaboration on the production of round-lam necks, twelve strings, double necks, Bajo Sextos, the Showmaster Strat® and the John Jorgenson signature model.
Baker currently owns the b3 brand, along with being a partner in Roscoe Guitars.
Gene Baker's Fender Custom Shop 30th Anniversary "Stelecaster" was inspired by the early mashups of the Stratocaster and Telecaster from Mike Bump, his former apprentice and now-R&D guru at Fender. "I just always felt that it belongs at Fender," he said. "When you look at the model, just about everything is the Strat and the Tele 50/50 right up the center line. Mirror images of each other when you look at it. It looks very vintage and very familiar and friendly, although it makes you take a second thinking, ‘Whoa, what is that?’" The model follows Gene’s "modern vintage" style–taking the best of both models to maximize form, fit, function and flow. The Stratocaster/Telecaster body is lightweight ash with a wide-fade Chocolate 3-Tone Sunburst color. The quartersawn maple neck features a multi-tier Telecaster-over-Stratocaster headstock, bone nut and Founders Design decal with Gene Baker’s signature on the back of the headstock. Gene opted for nickel/chrome hardware with vintage-style tuning machines and American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo, but chose modern Telecaster wiring.