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Ana Popovic on the creation of her custom Fender Stratocaster “Foggy” | “Right then, we knew this guitar was going to be EPIC!”

In this feature, hear from blues guitarist Ana Popovic on her journey with Fender Guitars to innovate tradition and empower musicians in the creation of her custom Stratocaster she fondly calls "Foggy" as its gorgeous chrome mirror finish.

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 23 – Fall 2023

Throughout LA-based guitarist Ana Popovic’s remarkable journey through the world of music, one thing that has always remained constant is her love for the Fender Stratocaster. From her early days discovering the magic of Fender guitars to her enduring partnership with the company, Ana’s story is a testament to the power of music and determination. Now, she introduces us to “Foggy,” her latest Fender Custom creation.

Named after its distinctive Foggy Mirror Chrome finish, this guitar embodies Ana’s unique style, blending modern innovation with the timeless essence of old-school blues. It’s a symbol of her unwavering passion for the instrument, which has defined her career and helped her overcome life’s challenges, as she shares in her most recent album, POWER. Ana Popovic’s journey, like her music, is a testament to the belief that guitars can truly save lives.

woman standing with one leg on sofa posing with electric guitar
Photo by Tim McGuire

Ana Popovic: My story on the creation of “Foggy.”

My relationship with Fender started back home when I first laid my hands on Fender Lead 1. I was about 12 years old. I bought my first Strat when I was 18 — a ’73 Fender. Soon after that, I got my beloved reissue ’57, that would always be with me on all my concerts throughout my whole career. The Fender Strat was my guitar always — the one guitar I wanted to play. Fast forward many years later, I bought my all-original ’64 Strat and paid $20,000 from my own merchandise money.

My actual relationship with Fender started in 2000 when I first met Billy Siegle in California. At that time, there weren’t many women playing guitar, and quite frankly, they were not in demand either. It was very much a masculine world of guitar. Billy welcomed me to the family. Over the course of 20 years, we stayed in touch while I was working on my career, working on creating my sound and my recognizable licks as I wanted to leave my print in the world of rock, blues, and funk guitar — and Strats.

“We wanna celebrate with you. We wanna salute you!”

That led me to a conversation about a 20th-anniversary Strat that would celebrate my career. Billy said: “We wanna celebrate with you. We wanna salute you!” That was really heartwarming. I wanted something different and new but staying true to myself as a player. I didn’t want a replica of what I already had, and by no means wanted to try to top my road warrior — my all-original ’64 strat that always gets my blood pumping. That guitar has been just an everlasting inspiration throughout the years. So I didn’t want to copy what I already had, and I wanted something — both looking and sounding modern — something hip and cool but at the same time rooted enough in old-school sound as well.

Billy and I talked about making a guitar that would celebrate my career and accomplishments as a female guitar player coming from Eastern Europe to the U.S. and touring the world for 20 straight years, playing hundreds of shows every year and inspiring new women to take the guitar and be fashion icons as well as play their axe and front their band and be successful business women.

It bites and reflects the light, just as my music and I want to reflect the light, positivity, and excitement of being a musician touring the world and leaving a positive message to the world!

woman holding fender electric guitar sitting on couch
Photo by Tim O’Brien

So here’s a timeline of my story about Foggy:

February 21, 2019, was my first visit to the Fender Custom Shop, where I met with a Fender Master Builder (FMB) regarding my new guitar. We went through red colors, golds, whites — I took home the color pallet and had many sleepless nights thinking about the color. They sent me samples to listen to and look at.

On March 8, 2019, I received a text from the FMB that made me curious:

“Hi Ana. Roasted Alder body and Roasted 5A Flame Maple neck with a very Dark African Blackwood fretboard. Sounded unreal. Exact same neckshape that you liked on that 63 2tsb Strat with the brass block you liked. I can totally see this style guitar with your logo on the fretboard as we discussed. Just give it some thought. A Beaut for a Beaut.”

I replied:

“Love the red. But when I was on Experience Hendrix, I saw Joe’s (Satriani) guitar, and man, that just reflects in the light and is so cool. He said he thought Fender has an option for a thin layer of color as well. Check it out,” and then I sent him some photos.

On May 8, 2019, there was a first attempt at a chrome finish.

“Hi Ana. Well this was my first attempt at a Chrome finish. It looked good when the actual chrome paint was applied, but has a cloudy effect after applying topcoat over it. Honestly, I think it will look good if I can figure it out. “

And that was really the winner: the “cloudy” effect gave it that thing I was looking for. Less shiny, more bluesy. More old school. But the same WOW effect. I was sold.

On October 11, 2019, I visited the Custom Shop and could hold my new baby for the first time! That was excitement — I cannot explain it!

On October 14, 2019, we named the color Foggy Mirror Chrome. Fender doesn’t have that color — I’m the first one with it! It just kinda reminds me of that hot bathroom mirror after you get out of the shower. Right then, we knew this guitar was going to be EPIC!

On February 20, 2020, the layout for the fretboard was made. So exciting!

On May 5, 2020. I was back at the Custom Shop trying out pickups. We had many lined up — Duncan ’78, Duncan ’59, and a bunch of humbuckers. We had good times trying them.

On May 15, 2020, I received a text from FMB:

“Good Morning Ana. Things are starting to happen quickly now. The neck is with our inlay guy now and should be completed very soon. I’m putting the body into paint today to get the process started. It is quite a lengthy one. More updates as they develop. Take care.”

On May 20, 2020, there were rumors of the plant closing due to COVID. The body is ready.

On July 17, 2020, I got a text from Chris Fleming with this gorgeous photo. At that time, COVID was real, and everything was put on hold.

collage of design stages of a guitar
Photos by Tim McGuire

Soon after that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And my fight begins. As I am recording POWER — the record that literally gave me the power to survive — I’m daydreaming about my guitar, and my world seems like on a different planet. I needed that guitar then — more than ever!

Then, on May 20, 2021, Greg Fesler is on board to finish the guitar. This guitar was like a saving grace for me at that time!

Greg Fessler was amazing and really picked up the pieces where we left them back when the world was normal. He was on board to finish it and get it to me! However, COVID had left so many things on hold, so the wait wasn’t over.

A few years later, on August 10, 2023, Billy Siegle shipped my guitar to me. The moment I met Foggy for the first time (was filmed on my FB Insta page) can’t be compared with anything! I LOVE IT. It illuminated my world! I love everything about it. My fans absolutely love it. They want it! Every night, I get questions, “Can we order it?” I would be honored, is my reply. It’s exactly what I wanted. It bites and reflects the light, just as my music and I want to reflect the light, positivity, and excitement of being a musician touring the world and leaving a positive message to the world!

woman standing in guitar shop holding custom guitar
Photo by Tim McGuire

“Foggy” Specifications

    • Seymour Duncan ’78 Model Bridge pickup
    • Wired like the original from 1978
    • Warm crunch with biting leads and harmonic overtones
    • One of the best Alnico II ( three different metallic elements: aluminum, nickel, and cobalt)
    • Singles are Custom Shop neck and middle single coil pickups made by specs from the ’60s
    • Neck shape: Large “C”
    • Jumbo frets
female blues guitar player performing onstage with fender stratocaster
Ana Popovic performed at the Historic Everett Theater in Everett, Washington. Photo credit Kirk Stauffer.

Key Takeaways from Ana Popovic’s Collaboration with Fender Guitars:

    1. Personalized Innovation Meets Tradition: Ana Popovic’s collaboration with Fender on her custom Stratocaster, named “Foggy,” showcases a blend of modern innovation with the traditional essence of the Stratocaster’s legacy. The guitar’s unique Foggy Mirror Chrome finish not only reflects Ana’s style but also bridges old-school blues with contemporary design, signifying the guitar as a symbol of her journey and evolution in music.
    2. Empowerment and Representation: The creation of Foggy highlights the importance of representation and empowerment in the music industry. As a female guitar player from Eastern Europe who has made significant strides in a predominantly male-dominated field, Ana’s collaboration with Fender celebrates her 20-year career, inspiring women worldwide to pursue their passions in music, fashion, and business.
    3. Resilience and Inspiration: The journey of creating Foggy was not without its challenges, including the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and Ana’s personal battle with breast cancer. The guitar symbolizes resilience, acting as a source of inspiration and strength for Ana during difficult times. Its completion and the joy it brings to both Ana and her fans underscore the power of music and the guitar as tools for overcoming adversity.

Conclusion:

Ana Popovic’s collaboration with Fender on the creation of “Foggy” is more than just a story about a custom guitar; it’s a narrative that intertwines personal growth, artistic innovation, and resilience in the face of challenges. Through Foggy, Ana not only leaves her mark on the world of music but also sends a powerful message about the importance of persistence, empowerment, and the enduring impact of following one’s passion. Her story with Fender and Foggy serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians and women everywhere, proving that with dedication and creativity, one can transcend barriers and make a lasting impression on the world.

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Tone Talk with Ana Popovic | Timeless Sound

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Ana Popovic performed at the Historic Everett Theater on January 19, 2024

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