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Encyclopedia > Leo Fender

Leonidas Fender (August 10, 1909 - March 21, 1991), also known as Leo Fender, was an American luthier who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, now known as Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, and later founded G&L Musical Products (G&L Guitars). His guitar, bass, and amplifier designs from the 1950s continue to dominate popular music more than half a century later. Marshall and many other amplifier companies have used Fender instruments as the foundation of their products. Fender and inventor Les Paul are often cited as the two most influential figures in the development of electric instruments in the 20th century. is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... An engravers impression of Antonio Stradivari examining an instrument. ... Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, initially named the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, was started by Leo Fender in the 1940s, and is one of the most widely recognised manufacturers of electric guitars, bass guitars and amplifiers in the world. ... Fender redirects here. ... The G&L logo. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the musician. ...

Contents

1950 to 1965: the Golden Age

Fender's early instruments were revolutionary, and their introduction contributed to the birth of something now commonplace: the "musical group". Live performances up to this era had relied upon large bands and orchestras to fill concert halls. Now, armed with the proper instruments, bands or groups consisting of only 3 or 4 musicians could perform large venues. The "Big Band" era began to fade as musicians began to discover the electric guitar and Fender bass.


Guitar

Fender's early guitar design, known first as the "Broadcaster" and then as the Telecaster, was based on friend Merle Travis' design for a solidbody electric guitar, built for Travis by Paul Bigsby with a single row of tuners. Its bolt-on neck joint configuration allowed it to be produced on a much larger scale than the set-neck design of competitors, and it became an almost instant hit. The Fender Telecaster, also known as a Tele, is typically a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar made by Fender. ... Merle Travis (November 29, 1917 - October 20, 1983) is an American country and western singer, songwriter, and musician. ... Paul A. Bigsby was the designer of the Bigsby tremolo arm and proprieter of Bigsby Guitars. ...


Although the Telecaster had remained popular, criticisms of its design and aesthetics had gotten back around to Leo Fender, and in late 1953 he began designing an all new, solid body electric guitar to be sold alongside the Telecaster. It would have a contoured body for enhanced comfort over the slab-body Telecaster's harsh edges. It would have 3 pickups, a rounder, less "club-like" neck (at least for the first year of issue), a double cutaway for easier reach to the upper registers, and a revolutionary vibrato or "tremolo" unit that would allow players to bend strings as they played by wiggling the tremolo arm, or "whammy bar". Released in 1954, Fender named his new creation the Stratocaster to invoke images of the high flying, supersonic jets filling America's skies in the 1950's. The Stratocaster (or "Strat") has been in continuous production ever since, and, along with the Telecaster and the Gibson Les Paul, has helped define the sound of generations of rock, blues, and funk musicians. An electric guitar is a type of guitar with a solid or semi-solid body that utilizes electromagnetic pickups to convert the vibration of the steel-cored strings into electrical current. ... Stratocaster redirects here. ... The Gibson Les Paul is a popular solidbody electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. ...


Other significant developments of this period include the Jazzmaster and Jaguar, significant departures from the Strat and Tele in their introduction of complex pickup selection switches and volume controls. Although unsuccessful at their introduction (compared to previous Fender guitars), both would become popular with Surf Rock musicians due to their clean, bright, and warm tone. The Fender Jazzmaster is an electric guitar that was first introduced at the 1958 NAMM show and was designed as a more upmarket instrument than the Fender Stratocaster, which was originally to replace the current Telecaster model. ... The Fender Jaguar is an electric guitar that was introduced in 1962. ... In the early 1960s, one of the most popular forms of rock and roll was surf rock. ...


Bass

During this time, Fender also conceived an instrument that would prove to be essential to the evolution of popular music. Up until this time, bassists had been left to playing acoustically resonating double basses, also known as "upright basses". As the size of bands and orchestras grew, bassists found themselves increasingly fighting for volume and presence in the sound spectrum. Apart from their sonic disadvantages, double basses were also large, bulky, and difficult to transport. With the Precision Bass (or "P-Bass"), released in 1951, Leo Fender addressed both of these issues. Unlike double basses, the Telecaster-based Precision Bass was small and portable, and its solid body construction and four magnet, single coil electronic pickup allowed it to be amplified at higher volumes without the feedback issues normally associated with acoustic instruments. Along with the Precision Bass (so named because its fretted neck allowed bassists to play with precision), Fender introduced a bass amplifier, the Fender Bassman; a 45 watt amplifier with four 10" speakers. Neither were firsts; Audiovox had begun advertising an "electric bass fiddle" in mid 1930s catalogs, and Ampeg had introduced a 12 watt "Bassamp" in 1949, but the P-Bass and its accompanying amplifier were the first widely-produced of their kind, and arguably, the P-Bass remains one of the most popular basses in music today. Side and front views of a modern double bass with a French bow. ... Categories: Music stubs | Electric bass guitars ... In 1946 Clarence Leo Fender began building guitar amplifiers in Fullerton, California. ... Audiovox (NASDAQ: VOXX) is an electronics company. ... Ampeg is an instrument amplifier manufacturer. ...


1960 saw the release of the Jazz Bass, a sleeker, updated bass with a slimmer neck, and offset waist body and two single coil pickups (as opposed to the Precision Bass and its split-humbucking pickup that had been introduced in 1957). Like its predecessor, the Jazz Bass (or simply "J-Bass") was an instant hit and has remained popular to this day, and early models are highly sought after by collectors. The Jazz Bass (or J-Bass) was the second model of electric bass guitar created by Leo Fender. ... Traditional humbucker pickup, uncovered A conventional humbucker (or Humbucking pickup) is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils, both generating string signal. ...


1970 - Music Man and G&L

Some of Fender's most widely known and loved contributions to music were developed in the 1970s, when Leo Fender designed guitars, basses and amplifiers for the Music Man corporation, and in 1976 designed and released another innovative instrument, the StingRay. Though the body design borrowed heavily from the Precision Bass, the StingRay is largely considered to be the first production bass with active electronics. The StingRay's 2-band active equalizer, high output humbucking pickup and smooth satin finished neck went on to become a favorite of many influential bassists, including John Deacon and Tim Commerford. Later on a 3-band active equalizer was introduced. In 1979 he and old friends George Fullerton and Dale Hyatt started a new company called G&L (George & Leo, later Guitars by Leo) Musical Products. G&L guitar designs tended to lean heavily upon the looks of Fender's original guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster, but incorporated innovations such as enhaced tremolo systems and electronics. Despite suffering several minor strokes, Leo Fender continued to produce guitars and basses. While he continued to refine the fundamental designs he had created decades earlier, he also earned many new patents for innovative designs in magnetic pickups, vibrato systems, neck construction, and other areas. Nevertheless, he never learned how to play the guitar. Music Man is an American guitar, bass guitar and amplifier manufacturer. ... Music Man StingRay is an electric bass guitar by Music Man, introduced in 1976. ... For the motorcyclist, see John Deacon (motorcyclist). ... Tim Robert Commerford (born February 26, 1968 in Irvine, California), also known by his various monikers/stage names (Y. tim K. , Timmy C. , Simmering T, Tim Bob, and tim. ... George Murray Fullerton (born December 8, 1922, Kensington, South Africa, died November 15, 1938, Kimberley, South Africa) was a South African cricketer who played in 7 Tests from 1947 to 1951. ... The G&L logo. ... For other uses, see Stroke (disambiguation). ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ...


A friendly, modest and unassuming man (his "coffee mug" was a styrofoam cup with the word "Leo" inked on it), he had the lifelong admiration and devotion of his employees, many of whom have remarked that the best working years of their lives were spent under Leo Fender. He died in 1991 from complications of Parkinson's disease. His pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The company which bears his name, Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, is now one of the largest musical instrument conglomerates in the world. Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... The Rockabilly Hall of Fame was established on March 21, 1997 to present early rock and roll history and information relative to the artists and personalities involved in this pioneering American music genre. ... It has been suggested that Fender Amplifier History be merged into this article or section. ...


See also

The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is one of the worlds best-known manufacturers of acoustic and electric guitars. ... It has been suggested that Fender Amplifier History be merged into this article or section. ... The G&L logo. ... Stratocaster redirects here. ... The Fender Telecaster, also known as a Tele, is typically a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar made by Fender. ... The Fender Precision Bass, known as P-bass for short, is the first model of the electric bass designed by Clarence Leonidas Fender and brought to market in 1951. ... The Jazz Bass (or J-Bass) was the second model of electric bass guitar created by Leo Fender. ... Music Man StingRay is an electric bass guitar by Music Man, introduced in 1976. ... K&F (Kauffman & Fender) was a company started by Clayton Orr Kauffman and Leo Fender in 1945. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Leo Fender (534 words)
Ironically Leo Fender never learned to play guitar himself (although he had played saxophone in high school) but he had close ties to the musicians' community in southern California.
In creating innovative and highly effective designs that could be efficiently manufactured, Leo Fender was to musical instruments in the 1950s & 60's, what Henry Ford was to the automobile in the 1920s & 30's.
Fender's business took off in the 1950s, as musicians adopted his Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars and the Precision Bass.
Leo Fender (536 words)
Ironically Leo Fender never learned to play guitar himself (although he had played saxophone in high school) but he had close ties to the musicians' community in southern California.
In creating innovative and highly effective designs that could be efficiently manufactured, Leo Fender was to musical instruments in the 1950s & 60's, what Henry Ford was to the automobile in the 1920s & 30's.
Fender's business took off in the 1950s, as musicians adopted his Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars and the Precision Bass.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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