An avid guitar and bass player, Alan maintained a busy schedule throughout his career, working on guitars during the day and playing music at night. Eventually he shared stages with fellow Fender Custom Shop Founding Master Builder Fred Stuart. When the Fender Custom Shop was looking for someone to do its sparkle finishes, Alan jumped at the opportunity, until he was offered a position to advance at the Shop in a bigger way. "As we always said, it was kind of like the dream factory where dreams come true," Alan said. "If you can think it up, the Fender Custom Shop can build it."
During his time at the Shop, Alan designed the Twisted Tele® neck pickup, in addition to working on Fender Custom Shop Western Boots Telecaster® models and Fender Vintage Hot Rod Stratocaster® guitars. He was involved with a series of high-profile projects including: Fender’s 50th Anniversary Precision Bass® and the 30th Anniversary Ford® Mustang guitar, in addition to building a blue sparkle Telecaster for singer-songwriter Carl Perkins, among other projects.
These days Hamel lives in Redlands, California and continues to find design inspiration from magazines, cars and motorcycles — a testament to his automotive roots.
The Alan Hamel Founders Design Sparkle Telecaster is inspired by the signature sparkle finishes that originally brought him into the Fender Custom Shop. "Everything about this guitar was ideas that I already had running around in my head," he said. "I didn’t need to really think about it too long, because I automatically knew what I wanted to do." In Alan’s true retro, neo-vintage style, all hardware on the alder and ash Telecaster is vintage-style chrome, except for the compensated brass bridge saddles. He also opted for his signature sparkle finish — black sparkle burst. Alan is most excited about the pickups; the neck pickup is a variation of the Twisted Tele neck pickup, while the bridge pickup is a replica of an early model Broadcaster pickup with specifications coming from Alan’s research for the Blackguard book. By using a special five-way switch and wiring designed for this project, players will be able to pre-set a blend of both pickups, in addition to the standard Tele switching.