FENDER
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FENDER
Amplifiers currently produced in Scottsdale, AZ (Amplifier Custom Shop), Corona, CA (U.S.), Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, Tianjin (China), and Korea. Distributed by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in Scottsdale, AZ. The Fender trademark established circa 1946 in Fullerton, CA.
Clarence Leonidas Fender was born in 1909, and raised in Fullerton, California. As a teenager he developed an interest in electronics, and soon was building and repairing radios for fellow classmates. After high school, Leo Fender became a bookkeeper for employment while he still did radio repair at home. After holding a series of jobs, Fender opened up a full scale radio repair shop in 1939. In addition to service work, Leo's Fender Radio Service store soon became a general electronics retail outlet. However, the forerunner to the Fender Electric Instruments company was a smaller two-man operation that was originally started as the K&F company in 1945. Leo Fender began building small amplifiers and electric lap steels with his partner, Clayton Orr "Doc" Kaufman. Leo and Doc produced their first amplifier and steel guitar in 1945. Kauffman left K&F in early 1946 and Leo Fender took over. Leo then formed the Fender Electric Instrument Company in 1946, located on South Pomona Avenue in Fullerton, California. By 1947, Fender introduced the Model 26 guitar amp and shortly thereafter came the Super. In 1948, the new Fender amps featured a new cabinet construction. The Champion student amplifier was also introduced at this time. With all the increase demand, Fender had not choice but to move to a new building.
Soon Fender's inventive genius began designing new models through the early 1950s and early 1960s. The Fender Bassman Amp was unveiled in 1951, which paved way to an entire line of tweed amplifiers. In 1952, the Twin Amplifier was introduced that consisted of two 12 in. speakers and became the top model of the line. With the success of this line, Fender was forced to move again in 1953. In 1955, Fender developed an amp using the new effect of tremolo that they named the Tremolux. Fender also had a tendency to introduce guitars with corresponding amplifiers. One example was in 1958, the Jazzmaster was released along with the Vibrasonic amp, which was truly an entirely new design. It featured a front facing control panel and its covering was made by the General Tire & Rubber Company. This allowed for these amps to take a lot of abuse and not a lot of wear. The Reverb Unit, Twin Reverb, and the Showman debuted in the early '60s.
By 1964, Fender's line of products included electric guitars, basses, steel guitars, effects units, acoustic guitars, electric pianos, and a variety of accessories. However, Leo's faltering health in the mid-1960s prompted him to put the company up for sale. It was first offerd to Don Randall, the head of Fender Sales, for a million and a half dollars. Randall opened negotiations with the Baldwin Piano & Organ company, but when those negotiations fell through, Fender offered it to the conglomerate CBS (who was looking to diversify the company holdings). Fender (FEIC) was purchased by CBS in December of 1964 for thirteen million dollars. Leo Fender was kept on as a special consultant for five years, and then left when the contract was up in 1970. Due to a ten year no compete clause, the next Leo Fender designed guitars or amplifiers did not show up in the music industry until 1976 (Music Man).
While Fender was just another division of CBS, a number of key figures left the company. Forrest White, the production manager, left in 1967 after a dispute in producing solid-state amplifiers. Don Randall left in 1969, because he was not impressed with corporate life. George Fullerton, one of the people involved with the Stratocaster design, left in 1970. Many people seem to think that quality dropped drastically the day CBS took over. Dale Hyatt, another veteran of the early Fender days, figured that the quality on the products stayed relatively stable until around 1968 (Hyatt left in 1972). But a number of cost-cutting strategies, and attempts to produce more products had a deteriorating effect. This reputation leads right to the classic phrase heard at vintage guitar shows, "Is the amp pre-CBS?"
In the early 1980s, the Fender guitar empire began to crumble. Many cost-cutting factors and management problems forced CBS to try various last ditch efforts to salvage the instrument line. In March of 1982, Fender (with CBS' blessing) negotiated with Kanda Shokai and Yamano Music to establish Fender Japan. After discussions with Tokai (who built a great Fender Strat replica, among other nice guitars), Kawai, and others, Fender finally chose Fuji Gen Gakki (based in Matsumoto, about 130 miles northwest of Tokyo) to build guitars for them. In 1983, the Squier series was built in Japan, earmarked for European distribution. The Squier trademark came from a string-making company in Michigan (V.C. Squier) that CBS had acquired in 1965.

From Blue Book Publications:


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