Saturday, January 23, 2016

Before Fender 'Stratocaster' Was The 'Broadcaster': Post III

1) Stories abound regarding the birth of the well-renowned Fender solid guitar especially about its use by The Shadows and other 60's guitarists. There can be no truth if the whole truth is not told. Here's the beginning of what is to be a success story in the world of pop instruments from a book by Wade-Matthews and Thompson:

"Although the first solid-body electric guitar was built by Les Paul, it was first mass-produced by Leo Fender above (1909-1991), and became a key element in rock n roll. Fender, a California-based guitar and amplifier manufacturer, had often been asked by musicians if he could give more volume and at the same time eliminate screech and feedback from the electrified instruments of the time.

He came up with the solid-body guitar that he developed just after World War II. His first model, the Broadcaster, entered mass production in 1948, and its sharpness and attack made it an instant success, especially with country musicians.

In 1950 its name was changed to the Telecaster, and it was this instrument that gave the rock of that decade its distinctive sound.  In 1951 Fender introduced his solid-body bass guitar and, five years later his futuristic Stratocaster.

One of the pioneers of electric guitar-playing was Muddy Waters (left), 1915-1983, who moved up to Chicago to Mississippi.  In 1944 he bought his first electric guitar one made by Fender, and within two years had formed his first electric combo."

The article comes from:

Max Wade-Matthews and Wendy Thompson
'Rock and Pop' on Leo Fender: Page 76. 
Hermes House
Anness Publishing Ltd (Print: 2003).

2) Birddog, a regular contributor and reader of this blog, has provided a comment about Leo Fender after the above article has been published. It is a big piece item so I've decided to give the writer ample space. Thank you Birddog:

"This unassuming giant of a man whose innovative inventions and contribution to the music world especially in guitars is legendary. Hardly there is any genre of modern music that is without an instrument synonymous with him.

Besides guitars, his company also made the equally famous Rhodes electric pianos and amplifiers which carried his name. To me I believe his single greatest contribution to the music world was his invention of the electric bass. Before he came out with that, the bassist had to stand immobile in a corner playing the massive acoustic 'doghouse' bass. It was huge and backbreaking to carry one around. 
After his success with the guitars, he came out with the electric bass thereby freeing the often ignored bassist to the forefront to share equal glory with the guitarist. Most of his inventions from the 50's were so bold and futuristic, that even today his iconic instruments are still highly popular and much sought after by many professional and aspiring amateur musicians alike. 

The legacy and footprint he left behind is immense. Not bad for a man who could not even play the guitar well. I believe he is the 1st non performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

Image: Louis Johnson and Leo Fender.
Louis Johnson (1955-2015) was an American bass guitarist, best known for his slapping technique and session playing with his group The Brothers Johnson. His was the best selling album of all time, Thriller and hits in the 70's/80's. His signature sound was from Music Man StingRay Bass which Leo Fender made for him to first use.

Read the story below about Mr Tan from TMA who sold the first Fender Solid Guitars in Singapore.

This posting neither promotes nor try to sell any product.

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