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Fender
Sketch of Fender lap steel guitar from 1944 patent application.

In 1946, radio repairman and instrument amplifier maker Clarence Leonidas Fender—better known as Leo Fender—through his eponymous company, designed the first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar with a single magnetic pickup, which was initially named the "Esquire". This was a departure from the typically hollow-bodied Jazz-oriented instruments of the time and immediately found favor with Country-Western artists in California. The two-pickup version of the Esquire was called the "Broadcaster". However, Gretsch had a drumset marketed with a similar name (Broadkaster), so Fender changed the name to "Telecaster".

Features of the Telecaster included: an ash body; a maple 25˝" scale, 21-fret or 22-fret neck attached to the body with four-bolts reinforced by a steel neckplate; two single-coil, 6-pole pickups (bridge and neck positions) with tone and volume knobs, pickup selector switch; and an output jack mounted on the side of the body. A black bakelite pickguard concealed body routings for pickups and wiring. The bolt-on neck was consistent with Leo Fender's belief that the instrument design should be modular to allow cost-effective and consistent manufacture and assembly, as well as simple repair or replacement. Due to the earlier mentioned trademark issue, some of the first production Telecasters were delivered with headstock decals with the Fender logo but no model identification. These are today very much sought after, and commonly referred to by collectors as "Nocasters".

In 1954, Fender introduced the Fender Stratocaster, or "Strat." The Stratocaster was seen as a deluxe model and offered various product improvements and innovations over the Telecaster. These innovations included a well dried ash or alder double-cutaway body design for bridge assembly with an integrated spring vibrato mechanism (called a synchronized tremolo by Fender, thus beginning a confusion of the terms that still continues), three single-coil pickups, and body comfort contours. Leo Fender is also credited with developing the first commercially successful electric bass guitar called the Fender Precision Bass, introduced in 1951.

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