The Fender Musical Instrument Corporation‘s rich history started when Leo Fender graduated from high school in late 1920’s California and began building amplifiers and public address systems whilst running an amateur radio station. In 1938 Leo Fender opened his first shop repairing radios and selling homemade PA systems as well as musical instruments. It wasn’t long before Leo turned all his attention to building innovative musical instruments and, working closely with musician friends and colleagues, changed the course of rock ‘n’ roll history. As musical styles changed during the golden years of rock ‘n’ roll so did Leo Fender’s designs – always pushing the boundaries of innovation.
There are a few key factors in Leo Fender’s vision that contributed to the company’s success. Rock ‘n’ roll was becoming increasingly popular and venues were getting bigger. Leo understood the need for louder, reliable amplification so continued to expand and develop his original amplifier designs. With increased volume came the problem of feedback. Leo’s solution came in the form of some revolutionary solid body guitar and magnetic pickup designs.
The 1950’s car culture in American is reflected in Fender’s designs, finish options, the affordability and adaptability of the instruments. Key to the designs was the ability to service, replace and modify each part of the instrument with ease.
Like the car industry, Fender created an efficient factory production line producing a large number of instruments to keep up with the growing demand.
Due to health issues Leo Fender sold the company to the CBS Corporation’s Musical Instruments division in 1965 for $13 million. The Fender company experienced tremendous growth over the next 20 years but lack of commitment and real understanding of music and musicians resulted in a decline in quality and sales. In 1985 CBS were looking to sell the company and, encouraged by Fender fans, Fender’s CEO Bill Shultz and several other employees bought it. Under Bill Shultz’s leadership, Fender regained its reputation and revived its fortunes.
The Fender Stratocaster has never been out of production since it was launched in 1954. It is possibly the quintessential electric solid body guitar – often copied and modified by countless manufacturers all over the world – a testament to its design, tone, versatility and playability. Notable players include some of the greatest guitarists in history: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Hank Marvin, Buddy Holly, David Gilmour, Dick Dale, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Blackmore and Nile Rodgers.
From the entry-level Squiers, through Mexican-made, Japanese, American to Custom Shop: Fender offer a huge selection of instruments to suit every budget and level of player.
The choice is absolutely staggering so here’s our break down of some of the key series and their models:
Fender American – made in Corona, California
Guitar Village has been a Fender Custom Shop UK dealer for a long time:
Click here for the Fender Custom Shop page…
Designed in 1951, the Fender Precision Bass was a whole new kind of instrument. A practical alternative to the unwieldy upright bass that spawned a fresh sound and artistry for bass players. In 1960, the Fender Jazz Bass yielded more tonal variety along with a narrower neck for a different kind of playing experience. Fender offers a wide range of basses to suit every budget with models including the Fender Standard Precision Bass, Fender Standard Jazz Bass, Fender American Professional Precision Bass, Fender American Professional Jazz Bass, Fender American Elite Precision Bass, Fender American Elite Jazz Bass.
Among the first products to bear the Fender logo were the very first Fender amplifiers released in 1946. Leo Fender produced the Princeton with and 8″ speaker, Deluxe (10″ speaker) and Professional (15″) which were among the first commercially available amplifiers for electric instruments. Today, Fender offer a wide range of solid state and valve amps for bedroom players, semi professional and big name artists alike. Popular models include the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Fender Blues Junior, Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb, Fender Mustang GT 100, Fender Champion 40, and Fender Rumble Bass amps.
View our Fender collections: