Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is a manufacturer of stringed musical instruments – namely electric, bass and acoustic guitars – amplifiers, and accessories.
The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Fender describes itself as “the world’s leading guitar manufacturer” whose name “has become synonymous with all things rock ‘n’ roll”.
Established in 1946, Fender guitars have been highly influential in the music world, being used by famous musicians from genres including rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz, western, and many others.
The company resulted from the work of inventor Leo Fender, whose innovative solid-body design revolutionised guitar production.
In 1951, Fender created the prototype Telecaster guitar, a solid-body Spanish style electric guitar which was soon mass produced.
Additionally, he designed the Precision Bass, a fretted bass guitar which could be amplified. This essentially ended the dominance of the unwieldy acoustic bass and set the blueprint for the future of the bass guitar.
In 1954, the Stratocaster continued the success of Fender; its comfortable body design and 3rd single-coil pickup represented radical new features in electric guitar design.
Fender sold the company in 1965. It flourished for 20 years before falling into decline. After another sale in 1985, the company was effectively rebuilt and is once again at the forefront of the musical instrument industry.
Notable products and owners
Guitar brands currently owned by the company include Fender, Squier, Guild, Gretsch, and many others.
The Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster designs are legendary in the pantheon of great guitars, and have been used widely by many famous artists.
Some of the most well-known names in music have used a ‘Strat’, including Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
Famous ‘Tele’ users include Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Muddy Waters.
A large number of the most expensive guitars in the world are Fenders.
A variety of Stratocasters belonging to Jimi Hendrix have been sold over the years. A highlight was his 1968 white Stratocaster – which he played at Woodstock – which was allegedly sold in 1998 for $1.3m, to Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen.
In 2005, a white Strat was sold to raise funds for ‘Reach out to Asia’, a charity for victims of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.
Signed by legendary musicians including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Brian May, David Gilmour, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck and many others, it sold for $1m to the Qatari Royal Family. It was later sold again for $2.7m.
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