chatillion 70M
3157 posts
6/22/2014 12:02 pm
Fender Guitars and Bass Guitars...

Leo Fender that is. Founder of the company who made those famous musical instruments bearing his name. Leo was born Clarence Leonidas Fender on August 10, 1909 in Anaheim, California and died March 21, 1991 in Fullerton, California at the ripe old age of 81. That in itself is an accomplishment. He was a work-a-holic and it was reported he was working up until the day before he died.

In the beginning, Leo manufactured radio & television equipment and saw a need for an electric guitar that was able to play amplified to larger audiences. He wasn't the first to produce an electric guitar but certainly he became one of the most famous.

In Fender's design, he had a solid body guitar with electronic pickups. Prior to this time, guitarists were using hollow body (acoustic) guitars and stood near a microphone or attached a microphone directly to the guitar. The drawback with this design is feedback and unwanted static noises being heard from the guitar. With Fender's guitars, you could plug directly to a (Fender or other) guitar amplifier and be heard to a larger audience... well over the volume of trumpets & saxophones commonly found in bands/orchestras playing music in dance halls during that period.

Fender was already making lap steel (Hawaiian) guitars and amplifiers before he released his solid body Spanish guitars. With his newly marketed instruments, Fender sought ideas from customers and incorporated these into a 'new' model released in 1954. It was called the Stratocaster! This has been the mainstay guitar of Fender since it's release. The 'Strat' has always been in production... 60 years strong.

The best 'Strats' are manufactured in the United States. There are less expensive models of Stratocasters made in Mexico. Currently 'Fender' a value priced model made overseas under the product name Squire. Like anything else, cheaper parts and labor yields cheaper guitars. If you are seeking the very best, Fender has a custom shop in California and they will build a Stratocaster to your exact specifications.

In 1964, Leo sold his company to CBS. This is an important time-line as original Fender amplifiers had a metallic face that had silvery/white lettering on a black painted background. All of the amps sold after the buyout had blue lettering with an aluminum face with a swirl design. Ask any guitarist what they prefer and the answer will always be "black face" or pre-CBS.

Vintage Fender guitars and amplifiers always bring higher prices over the products made after the buyout. Are they really different? I've had both and I believe there are subtle differences in the sound quality. Especially with the 'black face' amplifiers.

Hopefully, I haven't bored you with vintage guitar (and amplifier) facts, but it's a rare occasion to see some group of musicians performing and a Fender product isn't on the stage.

I'm left-handed and played a Fender bass for many years.
Currently, I have basses by other companies but no Fenders now.

Many thanks to Snow_White9000 for the instruction to attach a photo to my blog!

beyondfantasy3 111M
4737 posts
6/22/2014 3:39 pm

I have a Pre CBS Stratocaster, and a Pre CBS Fret-less Bass. I took the sunburst finish off of the Fret-less, ( probably a mistake, as it was really an old unit), and I made a mahogany pick guard. I installed some Dimarzio pick ups.

I've done nothing to the Stratocaster, it has its original case. Its still Original.

I do have a Kawai Bass I bought in 1984. and I have a Old Fender Rhodes 88 key Piano.. ( its very heavy).

The current instrument I tinker with the most is a Casio Privia.

I'm sure you remember the old Kustom Amplifier, I had one of those, I dismantled it, and had the speaker re-coned, it was one 18" folded horn style. I have that mounted as a floor monitor, and I built two towers, with to 15" speakers back in the days when I was into building speaker enclosures, I have a rack mount which has various things On it, It was powered by a Cerwin -Bega A600. I put it in the shop and the guy took so long I never went back to pick it up. I had an SAE 400 amp but I sold it to a friend.
I do have a Shaffer Bass, which has the tuning keys at the bottom, which I routed out the back and installed a 'heavy metal" pedal so it would be Ongoard, and I could flick it on with my thumb and I insert the adjustment pots on the upper edge so it could be adjusted at that point.
What a trip, because I have not touched those Guitars in nearly a decade.

I did buy a Ibanez bass amplifier, but I use it connected to the Casio Previa keyboard.