Fender Guitar is well-known in the music world. Whether the opinion about this historical instrument is one of love or hate, this brand of guitar has enjoyed years of playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Dierks Bently, Pete Townshend, Avril Lavigne and many more. What started out as an idea to improve amplification by Leo Fender, ended up being one of the most widely used in the music industry. And, on this day in 1965, Fender was sold to CBS for 13 million dollars.
In order to understand the sale and subsequent buy back in the '80s of Fender Guitars, we must delve into the history of the company. Leo Fender had an idea in the 1940s to improve amplification of electric guitars by making them a solid instrument instead of hollow. According to Fender's website, he realized also:
that he could streamline the process of building them.
Launched in 1946, Fender began working on his ideas. The first of which, now known as the Telecaster, was created in 1951. It was the first mass-produced, solid body Spanish guitar.
During the same time, Fender invented the Precision Bass Guitar. It was designed like a guitar with frets and could be amplified. The idea behind this creation was to equip bassists with an instrument that liberated them:
from unwieldy and increasingly difficult-to-hear acoustic basses.
Following suit in 1954 was the Stratocaster. Many features offered by the Stratocaster were from feedback the company received from musicians, staff and Leo. Considered the most popular and influential guitar ever invented, the Stratocaster brought to the guitarists table a:
vibrato (or “tremolo”) bridge, an innovation originally intended to let guitarists bend strings, thus achieving the pedal steel-like sound so popular among country music artists of the day.
In the years that followed Leo Fender was a very active creative force behind the company and is credited in the invention of instruments and amplifiers. But, unlike many companies today that are riddled with scandals which lead to their eventual sale, Fender was sold to CBS due to Leo's failing health.
During CBS's reign, Fender experienced a lot of growth, but as the years went by, it was noticed that CBS lacked commitment in understanding musicians and the music world. To compensate for this lack of knowledge, CBS decided on a relaunch and redesign of the company.
They hired William Schultz as president. Working alongside William Medello, they created a five year plan to increase Fender's marketability. A time came when CBS decided to sell the business and Schultz along with investors bought the company. This returned Fender to a smaller group of dedicated individuals who sought to make the best product they could.
According to Fender's website, the new owners had to start from scratch, but eventually brought the company full circle. Fender is now one of the leading manufacturers in the music world today with the three original creations by Leo as popular as ever. Fender's story is one of innovation, determination and dedication. And, it was all started by one man who had a dream to improve the electric guitar.
Research note: All information for this article was obtained from the Fender Musical Instrument Company website.
© 2012 Jenna Cornell, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com. Virtual Music Cafe, Heroes in Music and Stepping into the Twilight Zone are property of Jenna Cornell.