The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation had its start in 1946, when Leo Fender first created the simple solid-body electric guitar, which was a major improvement over the amplified hollow body instruments then in use. Over the years, the company grew to become one of the top global manufacturers of guitars, basses and amplifiers.
The first Fender Telecaster prototype was introduced in 1951. This was the first solid body Spanish-style electric guitar that was mass-produced. The Telecaster is still manufactured today. It is noted for its versatility and identifiable by its prominent twang. A distinctive ashtray style saddle, prominent neck and its bridge pick-ups are unique features that continue to make the Telecaster a popular instrument for blues guitarists.
Fender introduced the first Stratocaster in 1954. This guitar was designed based upon feedback from professional musicians. The guitar sported a sleeker contoured body, which made it more comfortable to play while the double cutaway design made it easier for musicians to play in upper registers. The third single-coil pickup allowed for more tonal possibilities. The Stratocaster tends to be a favorite with modern blues guitarists. In the introduction he wrote for the 2004 book, "The Stratocaster Chronicles," noted blues guitarist Eric Clapton said of the Stratocaster design, "Leo Fender was so far in advance of anybody else, developing the Strat to the point where it just can't be bettered, even now."
Blues Guitarists Who Play Fenders
Clapton is only one of several legendary blues guitarists noted for playing Fender guitars. Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jeff Beck are all noted for creating their blues guitar sounds on Fender Stratocasters. Muddy Waters and later Keith Richards, who was influenced by Waters, were noted for playing Fender Telecasters.
Fender Blues Series
The Fender Blues Series refers not to guitars but to Fender's other big product line, amplifiers. Though not presently being manufactured, the Fender Blues Deluxe amps were tube-style amplifiers noted for the bluesy sound they produced. The Fender Blues Junior series of amplifiers is a less expensive Fender amplifier that first became available in the 1990s. The amplifiers can be used for practice sessions or with a microphone for stage performances.
- Fender: About
- Guitar Muse.com; The True Blues Guitar: Fender or Gibson?; Paul Wolfle; April 2011
- "The Stratocaster Chronicles: Celebrating 50 Years of the Fender Strat"; Tom Wheeler; 2004
- Sweetwater: Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
- Pro Guitar Shop: Fender Blues Jr III
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