The life of Leo Fender

August 15, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Clarence Leo Fender guitarsBefore Leo Fender came along, the solidbody electric guitar was little more than a gimmick. No other person did as much to develop this “gimmick” into one of the most important musical instrument of the 20th century.

Born in 1909 on a farm in Anaheim, California, Clarence Leo Fender opened a radio repair shop in nearby Fullerton in the years just after Word War II. He gradually segued into building electric guitars and amplifiers, and launched the company that bears his name in 1948.

In the years between 1948 and 1954, Leo Fender designed the Telecaster (the world’s first successful mass-produced solidbody electric guitar), the Precision Bass (the world’s first electric bass guitar) and the Stratocaster (for many, the world’s coolest electric guitar). These instruments embodied a design aesthetic that broke radically with tradition. Products of the post-WWII age of mechanization, they were affordable yet elegant tools for the average-income musician. Read more