In April of 1991, Mark Kendrick was hired to paint for the Fender Custom Shop and went on to be a builder in 1992. While at the Custom Shop, he touched several aspects — from painting and building to artist relations and R&D. "There was no hard line,” he said. During his 25 years at the Custom Shop, he worked with some of the most-respected names in music: Merle Haggard, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton–for whom he worked on the "Gold Leaf" Stratocaster. Throughout his 25 years, the Custom Shop always represented “unshackled creativity in the guitar arena."
Kendrick continues to pursue all things guitar, namely his own vision of creating "wonderfully electric" guitar sounds under the Mark Kendrick Design brand, building pedals and guitars to be released in 2017.
Mark Kendrick looks for inspiration all around him, finding creative ideas from the sky, sunsets and sunrises, to the California coast and Technicolor movies. His Founders Design Stratocaster is an amalgam of the work he did during his time at the Custom Shop–focusing on simplicity, as well as his three core design elements: color, lines and sound. The golden teal sparkle burst with transparent walnut back and sides is inspired by the "Cholo low-rider culture" out of Santa Ana during the ‘70s. The Stratocaster will feature three Mark Kendrick OEM Strat pickups, and the control plate is a tip of the hat to George Fullerton, who did something similar but less characteristic to a Stratocaster pickguard, on an unreleased ‘50s guitar. Taking on a vintage feel, the Stratocaster features nickel/chrome hardware with vintage-style staggered tuning machines and an American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo bridge.