The Fender Musical Instrument Company has been a part of the American musical landscape since its formation in 1946. Fender instruments can be seen and heard in nearly every music genre: rock ‘n’ roll, country and western, jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, pop, and many others. From legendary guitar models such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster, to bass guitars such as the Precision Bass and Jazz Bass, tube and solid-state amplifiers for guitars, bass, and keyboards, mandolins, acoustic guitars, and much more, if you look on any performance stage, you're likely to see a Fender instrument in the house.
The Fender story begins in the 1940s in southern California where inventor Leo Fender realized that he could make the amplified hollow-body instruments of the day louder and less prone to feedback by using a rather simple solid-body electric guitar design. Further, he realized that he could streamline the process of building them.
In 1951, Leo Fender introduced a prototype for a solid-body guitar that would eventually be called the Telecaster, a name inspired by the then emerging technology of television. The "Tele" was the first solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar to be commercially mass-produced.
That same year, Fender introduced a revolutionary new invention—the Precision Bass guitar. It was played like a guitar and, unlike a string bass, it had frets so that it could be played with “precision." It could also be amplified, thus liberating bassists to compete with horn sections and other amplified instruments.
These two historic instruments laid the foundation for a new kind of group and a revolution inpopular music—what we know today as the modern rock combo. As opposed to the “big bands” of the era, electric Fender instruments made it possible for smaller groups of musicians to get together and be heard.
The next Fender musical landmark was a refinement of the solid body electric guitar. The Stratocaster first appeared in 1954, incorporating many design innovations based on feedback from professional musicians, Fender staff and Leo Fender himself. Its third single-coil pickup offered more tonal possibilities, its sleekly contoured body made it more comfortable, and its double cutaway design made access to upper registers much easier. The addition of the Fender vibrato (or “tremolo”) bridge gave rise to the surf sound of the 1960s and later was deployed by the likes of Jimi Hendrix to forge a blazing new sound.
In addition to popular fender guitar models including the Jazzmaster, Mustang, Fender markets musical instruments and gear under the brand names Fender, Squier, Charvel, Gretsch, Guild, Jackson, SWR, Tacoma, EVH and Groove Tubes. Fender still makes designs and builds its instruments in Corona, California, and also has a second modern manufacturing facility not far from there in Ensenada, Mexico. Its corporate headquarters are located in Scottsdale, Arizona.