Fender: Guitar Heroes

source: Fender

Text Crystal Yiu

Even if you aren’t a musician yourself, you’d probably have heard of the legendary guitar brand that is Fender. Having been in the business for more than 60 years, during which the company hit actual rock bottom before climbing back up (Drake ain’t got nuthin’ on them), it would be an understatement to say that Fender’s a heavyweight in the world of guitars and double pickups and the like. Fender is recognised worldwide thanks to its many brilliant creations—the Telecaster (1951), the Stratocaster (1954), the Precision Bass (1954), the Jazzmaster (1958) and the Jazz Bass (1960), just to name a few.

Not many people may know this, but when Fender first came around in 1945, it was actually catering to the needs of Western Swing artistes. Yeah buddy, Fender didn’t break into the scene screaming rock‘n’roll because that genre only came a whole decade later. Another fun fact contrary to popular belief: when it first started, the bands that benefited the most from Fender were the small bands, and were not at all like the bands playing in amphitheatres and colossal stages in our modern day and age, because they could finally be heard over the racket in pubs.

Fender also revolutionised (and probably liberated) bassists all around the world thanks to its creation of the world’s first ever electric bass guitar, the Precision Bass. It put an end to the nightmares of bassists becoming increasingly inaudible thanks to the acoustic mechanics of bass guitars at the time. Instead, bassists were finally able to play bass guitars like normal, fretted guitars and were even able to amplify their sound to get dat bass goin’.

But as much as Fender has impacted the music world, so has the music world impacted Fender. Founder Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender prided himself on his willingness to take feedback from the pros using their instruments, and it was this strength of his that led to the creation of the well-loved Stratocaster. From the very conception of the Strat to its production, Leo Fender took in all the comments given by the current artistes using Fender instruments, which was what led to its unique attributes like its double cutaway-horns and varied tonal options.

From the American guitar legend Buddy Guy to Syd Barrett of English progressive-psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd, to the aspiring 14-year old plucking away at the spanking new Telecaster mom and dad got for him, it’s undeniable that Fender’s had a huge influence on the music industry, and will continue to do so for the indefinite future.