Happy Birthday, Leo Fender!
By: Kevin ManieriGeorge's Music
August 10, 2011 marked 101 years since Leo Fender's birth. Most musicians know his namesake company and the Fender instruments and amplifiers that are used around the world. But do you know about the other innovations and great products he made and inspired? Heres a brief history of one of modern musics pioneers!
- Born Clarence Leonidas Fender August 10, 1909 in Anaheim, CA
- Repaired radios as a teenager, with no electronics training
- Hand-built PA systems for dance bands in Hollywood
- Opened Fender Radio Service in 1938 in Fullerton, CA
- Worked with Doc Kauffman of Rickenbacker to create a lap steel guitar with an electric pickup and an amplifier
- Started work on what would become the Fender Telecaster by 1949
- His idea was to create an instrument that was portable, durable, and could be heard through a band more easily than an acoustic or archtop jazz-style guitar
- In April 1950, unveiled the Fender Esquire single-pickup guitar to the public for a retail price of $154.95
- In January 1951, released the two-pickup Broadcaster model
- Changed the name to Telecaster after a dispute with Gretschs Broadkaster drums
- Released the first modern electric bass in 1951 (the Precision Bass), changing the style, sound, and transportation needs of bassists forever
- Released the Stratocaster in 1954 after considerable design work and feedback from customers
- Released the Jazz Bass in 1960, again using feedback from customers
- Designed and released many now-legendary guitar and bass amplifiers during the same era
- Helped form Music Man with discussions beginning in 1971
- Designed and released the Music Man Stingray bass guitar in 1976
- Co-founded G&L Musical Products in 1979, producing instruments inspired by Fender designs but modified with enhanced electronics or other parts
- Never learned how to play the guitar can you believe it?
- Inspired some of todays largest instrument and amplification manufacturers, who started by modifying and mimicking Fender products (Marshall, Mesa Boogie)
- Passed away March 21, 1991