Stratocaster. Telecaster. Precision. Eddie Van Halen. Dave Grohl. Kurt Cobain. Eric Clapton. Stevie Ray Vaughn and then a name you may not know: Leo Fender.
I love guitars. Every make and model, style and color. I love the way they look. I love the way they sound. I appreciate their beauty and what can be created with one. My goal in life when I was younger was to own hundreds of them, hanging them all over the walls of my house, a museum of sorts. The amusing part of this is that I can’t play the guitar. Not that I haven’t tried. This does not stop the obsession I have with them, especially the Fender.
Fender Guitars were created by a man named Leo Fender. Born Clarence Leonidas Fender in August of 1909, he began building radios when he was just 13 years old. Fender ended up going to college and majoring in accounting but always continued with his work on electronics. Fender was self-taught, never taking a course in electronics. He had a flair with electronics and was naturally good at making things sound better. He opened his own shop in 1938 called Fender Radio Service, where he built public amplifier systems. This is also where he began the design of the Fender amp.
Fender paid attention to the music scene. He watched the music of the 1940’s start to give way to a younger generation of the 1950’s. Customers would come into his shop complaining about the need of a louder, crisper sound with equipment and instruments. Fender then realized the potential of an electric guitar. In 1948, the Broadcaster was born, a solid body electric guitar. Two years later it was renamed the Telecaster, due to probable confusion of drums under the name “BroadKaster” at the same time.
The Telecaster has endured.
The Stratocaster came next.
The rest is history.
Leo Fender wanted to create something that sounded great and would be a quality product. He did just that. Fender was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. He suffered with Parkinson’s disease late in life. He still continued to work diligently to perfect the sound of the Fender.
Leo Fender gave us the sound we hear today from our favorite bands and musicians. He was a legend and made an impact on music that cannot be denied.
And one last thing: Clarence Leonidas Fender could not play the guitar.