Leo Fender

The Fender guitar history all starts with Leo Fender. Clarence Leo Fender was born in Anaheim, California in 1909.  As a young boy he liked to work with radios and other electronic components which led to an interest in amplifiers.  This led him to the idea of a solid body guitar.  He built his first model around 1943 or 1944 which local musicians found popular.  In the middle of the 1940s he established the K&F Company with one of the designers of the Rickenbacker. K&F produced mainly all electric steel guitars and the company lasted until 1946. Leo formed the Fender Electric Instrument Company in Fullerton to continue the K&F lines.

In 1948 George Fullerton joined Fender and the two men design the Broadcaster but they quickly changed the name to Telecaster.  After more guitar innovations and when Leo became ill the company was sold to CBS in 1965 for 13 million.  Leo rejoined for some time but resigned in 1970.  He made some other guitars in his life and died in 1991.

Broadcaster/Telecaster Guitar Model

The Fender Broadcaster launched around the year 1950 and was the world's first commercial electric guitar with a solid wooden body and a bold on neck.  This simple design has become a long lasting success.  This simple guitar design was renamed Telecaster which has been used by many popular guitar players and has found a special place with country musicians.  It is the longest running solid wood electric guitar still in production.  It works as well today as it did when it was first introduced in 1951.  The Telecaster is often just called Tele and is known for its bright tone.  This is why the instrument is popular with country guitar players.  This guitar will be around for many years to come because it is so simple yet sounds so good.

Fender Stratocaster

The most popular guitar of all time according to many people is the Fender Stratocaster which was launched in early 1954.  It was designed by Leo Fender along with Freddie Tavares and the contributions of Bill Carson.  The Fender Musical Instrument Company was already known for their Telecaster but Fender Stratocaster became even more popular.  It had three pickups and a vibrato arm tube to bend the pitch of the strings and return them to pitch.  The contoured body of the guitar was built for player comfort.  This guitar has been used by many famous guitar players such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, David Gimour, Stevie Ray Vaughan and other guitar players.  While there have been many different models over the years players still prefer the first simple design of the Stratocaster.  This guitar has become well known with blues, rock, country, and other guitar styles.  It is difficult to think of modern electric guitar playing without the influence of the Stratocaster.  Many famous guitar players have had their own special model of this guitar made such as the Clapton Stratocaster.  This guitar along with the Telecaster will be around for a long time to come.

Other Guitars

While Fender has had great success with the Stratocaster and Telecaster they have produced other guitar models. Some of these include the Fender Mustang, Jazzmaster, Maverick, and Musicmaster. Two commercial flops include the Performer and the Katana. Leo fender also formed G&L Music Sales in 1980 to produce that guitar. Leo Fender's contributions to the world of guitar making will be remembered for years to come. I hope you enjoyed this brief Fender guitar history.