what is fender
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), commonly referred to simply as Fender, is an American manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers. It is known for its solid-body electric guitars and bass guitars, such as the Stratocaster (also known as the "Strat"), Telecaster (also known as the "Tele"), Precision Bass, and the Jazz Bass. Its headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company, previously named the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, was founded in Fullerton, California, by Clarence Leonidas "Leo" Fender in 1946. The company is a privately held corporation with Andy Mooney serving as the Chief Executive Officer. The company filed for an initial public offering in March 2012,[4] but this was withdrawn[5][6] five months later. In addition to its Scottsdale headquarters, Fender has manufacturing facilities in Corona, California (US) and Ensenada, Baja California (Mexico).[7] The company also makes and / or distributes acoustic guitars, electric basses, mandolins, banjos, and electric violins, as well as guitar amplifiers, bass amplifiers, and PA (public address) equipment. Other Fender brands include Squier (entry level/budget), Jackson, Charvel, Gretsch guitars and collaborated with Eddie Van Halen to make the EVH guitars and amplifiers. Contents [hide] 1 History 1.1 Origins 1.2 Sale to CBS 1.3 After CBS 2 Products 2.1 Electric guitars 2.2 Acoustic guitars 2.3 Electric basses 2.4 Amplifiers 3 Custom Shop 4 Squier 5 The Fender Visitor Center and Factory Tour 6 Associated artists 7 See also 8 References 9 External links History[edit] In 1951, Fender offered the first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar, the Telecaster (originally named the 'Broadcaster'; 'Esquire' is a single pickup version),[8] and the first mass-produced electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass). In 1954, Fender mass-produced the popular Stratocaster (Strat) guitar. While Fender was not the first to manufacture electric guitars, as other companies and luthiers had produced electric guitars since the late 1920s, none was as commercially successful as Fender's. Furthermore, while nearly all other electric guitars then were either hollow-body guitars or more specialized instruments such as Rickenbacker's solid-body Hawaiian guitars, Fender had created versatile solid-body electric guitars. These guitars were and still are popular with musicians in a variety of genres. Origins[edit] Diagram of Leo Fender's lap steel guitar from 1944 patent application. The company began as Fender's Radio Service in late 1938 in Fullerton, California. It got its name from the surname of its founder Leo Fender. As a qualified electronics technician, Leo Fender had been asked to repair not only radios, but phonograph players, home audio amplifiers, public address systems and musical instrument amplifiers. (At the time, most of these were just variations on a few simple vacuum-tube circuits.) All designs were based on research developed and released to the public domain by Western Electric in the 1930s and used vacuum tubes for amplification. The business also sidelined in carrying records for sale and the rental of self-designed PA systems. Leo became intrigued by design flaws in contemporary musical instrument amplifiers and began building amplifiers based on his own designs or modifications to designs. By the early 1940s he had partnered with local electronics enthusiast Clayton Orr "Doc" Kauffman and together they formed the company K & F Manufacturing Corp to design, manufacture, and market electric instruments and amplifiers. Production began in 1945 with Hawaiian lap steel guitars (incorporating a patented pickup) and amplifiers sold as sets. By the end of the year Fender became convinced that manufacturing was more profitable than repair and he decided to concentrate on that business instead. Kauffman however remained unconvinced and he and Fender amicably parted ways by early 1946. At that point Leo renamed the company the Fender Electric Instrument Company. The service shop remained open until 1951, although Leo Fender did not personally supervise it after 1947. A custom lap steel guitar made in 1946 for his friend Noel Boggs was probably the very first product of the new company, already sporting the familiar Big "F" logo.[9] Fender owed its early success not only to its founder and talented associates such as musician/product engineer Freddie Tavares but also to the efforts of sales chief, senior partner and marketing genius Don Randall. According to The Stratocaster Chronicles (a book by Tom Wheeler; Hal Leonard Pub., Milwaukee, WI; 2004, p. 108), Randall assembled what Fender's original partner Doc Kauffman called "a sales distributorship like nobody had ever seen in the world." Randall worked closely with the immensely talented photographer/designer, Bob Perine. Their catalogs and ads were innovative - such as the "You Won't Part With Yours Either" campaign, which portrayed people surfing, skiing, skydiving, and climbing into jet planes, all while holding Jazzmasters and Stratocasters. In Fender guitar literatures of the 1960s, attractive, guitar-toting teenagers were posed with surfboards and Perine's classic Thunderbird convertible at local beachside settings, firmly integrating Fender into the surfin’/hot rod/sports car culture of Southern California celebrated by the Beach Boys, beach movies, and surf music. (The Stratocaster Chronicles, by Tom Wheeler; Hal Leonard Pub., Milwaukee, WI; 2004, p. 108). This early success is dramatically illustrated by the growth of Fender's manufacturing capacity through the 1950s and 1960s. Sale to CBS[edit] In early 1965, Leo Fender sold his companies to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) for $13 million.[10][11] This was almost two million more than they had paid for The New York Yankees a year before. CBS entered the musical instruments field by acquiring the Fender companies (Fender Sales, Inc., Fender Electric Instrument Company, Inc., Fender Acoustic Instrument Company, Inc., Fender-Rhodes, Inc., Terrafen, Inc., Clef-Tronix, Inc., Randall Publishing Co., Inc., and V.C. Squier Company), as well as Electro-Music Inc. (Leslie speakers), Rogers drums, Steinway pianos, Gemeinhardt flutes, Lyon & Healy harps, Rodgers (institutional) organs, and Gulbransen home organs. The Stratocaster was released in 1954. This had far-reaching implications. The sale was taken as a positive development, considering CBS's ability to bring in money and personnel who acquired a large inventory of Fender parts and unassembled guitars that were assembled and put to market. However, the sale also led to a reduction of the quality of Fender's guitars while under the management of "cost-cutting" CBS. Several cosmetic changes occurred after 1965/1966, such as a larger headstock shape on certain guitars. Bound necks with block shaped position markers were introduced in 1966. A bolder black headstock logo, as well as a brushed aluminum face plate with blue or red labels (depending the model) for the guitar and bass amplifiers became standard features, starting in late 1968. These first "silverface" amps added an aluminium trim detail around the speaker baffle until 1970. Other cosmetic changes included a new "tailless" Fender amp decal and a sparkling orange grillcloth on certain amplifiers in the mid-1970s. Regarding guitars, in mid-1971 the usual four-bolt neck joint was changed to one using only three bolts, and a second string tree for the two middle (G and D) strings was added in late 1972. These changes were said to have been made to save money: while it suited the new 'improved' micro-tilt adjustment of the neck (previously requiring neck removal and shimming), the "Bullet" truss rod system, and a 5-way pickup selector on most models, it also resulted in a greater propensity toward mechanical failure of the guitars. During the CBS era, the company did introduce some new instrument and amplifier designs. The Fender Starcaster was particularly unusual because of its shallow, yet completely hollow body design that still retained the traditional Fender bolt-on neck, albeit with a completely different headstock. The Starcaster also incorporated a new Humbucking pickup designed by Seth Lover. This pickup also gave rise to 3 new incarnations of the classic Telecaster. Though more recent use by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead has raised the Starcaster's profile, CBS-era instruments are generally much less coveted or collectable than the "pre-CBS" models created by Leo Fender prior to selling the Fender companies to CBS in 1965. The culmination of the CBS "cost-cutting" may have occurred in 1983, when the Fender Stratocaster received a short-lived redesign lacking a second tone control and a bare-bones output jack, as well as redesigned single-coil pickups, active electronics, and three push-push buttons for pickup selection (Elite Series). Additionally, previous models such as the Swinger (also known as Musiclander) and Custom (also known as Maverick) were perceived by some musicians as little more than attempts to squeeze profits out of factory stock. The so-called "pre-CBS cult" refers to the popularity of Fenders made before the sale. After selling the Fender company, Leo Fender founded Music Man in 1975, and later founded the G&L Musical Instruments company, which manufactures electric guitars and basses based on his later designs. After CBS[edit] Leo Fender and early guitar models at the Fender Guitar Factory Museum. In 1985, in a campaign initiated by then CBS Musical Instruments division president William Schultz (1926–2006), the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company employees purchased the company from CBS and renamed it Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC). Behind the Fender name, FMIC has retained Fender's older models along with newer designs and concepts. The sale however did not include the old Fullerton factory; FMIC had to build a new facility in nearby Corona. Fender manufactures its highest quality, most expensive guitars at its Corona factory in California and manufactures a variety of other mid-to-high quality guitars at its Ensenada factory in Baja California, Mexico. Channing Ward is the lead designer of the 2009 Stratocaster. Fender also contracts Asian guitar builders to manufacture Fender guitars and the economy priced entry-level Squier guitars. In 1991, FMIC moved its corporate headquarters from its Corona location to Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently, this is where "administration, marketing, advertising, sales and export operations" take place, not only for the United States operations, but many other countries also.[12] Older vintage and U.S. built Fender guitars are generally the most favored, but pre-1990 Fender Japan guitars are now highly regarded as well. Fender guitars built in Ensenada, Mexico now fulfill the primary export role formerly held by Japanese-made Fenders. The Japanese Fenders are now manufactured specifically for the Japanese market, with only a small number marked for export. On February 11, 1994, the Fender manufacturing plant based in Ensenada, Mexico burned down. Fender President Bill Shultz decided to temporarily move production from the Mexico plant to the U.S. plant. These Fender guitars are fairly rare and can be identified by the unique serial number. In recent years, FMIC has branched out into making and selling steel-string acoustic guitars, and has purchased a number of other instrument firms, including the Guild Guitar Company, the Sunn Amplifier Company, and other brands such as SWR Sound Corporation. In early 2003, FMIC made a deal with Gretsch and began manufacturing and distributing new Gretsch guitars. Fender also owns: Jackson, Olympia, Orpheum, Tacoma Guitars (based in Seattle, WA), Squier and Brand X amps. In 2007, Fender acquired Kaman Music Corporation, which owns Ovation Guitar Company, Latin Percussion and Toca hand percussion products, Gibraltar Hardware, Genz Benz Amplification, Charvel, Hamer Guitars and is the exclusive U.S. sales representative for Sabian Cymbals and exclusive worldwide distributor of Takamine Guitars and Gretsch Drums. In February 2007, Fender announced that it would produce an illustrated product guide in place of its traditional annual Frontline magazine. They made this change in large part due to costs associated with paying royalties for both print and the Internet. With the new illustrated product guide, this removed print issues. The new guide contains the entire range of instruments and amplifiers, with color pictures and basic specifications. The New Fender Frontline In-Home is produced during the year, keeping customers up to date with new products. These are available through guitar publications and are directly mailed to customers who sign up on the Fender website. As well as these printed formats, Fender Frontline Live launched at the winter NAMM show in January 2007 as a new online reference point, containing information on new products and live footage from the show. On October 28, 2007, Fender announced its intention to buy Kaman Music Corporation (owners of Hamer Guitars, and Genz Benz amplifiers, along with many others, and exclusive distributor for Sabian cymbals and Takamine Guitars). Other Fender instruments include the Mustang, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Starcaster, Duo-Sonic, Toronado and Bronco guitars; basses such as the Jazz Bass, the 'Telecaster Bass' reissue of the original 1950s Precision Bass; a line of lap steels; three models of electric violin, and the Fender Rhodes electric piano. In 2011, Volkswagen partnered with Fender Corporation to manufacture premium sound systems for its vehicles in North America, under the direction of Panasonic. Volkswagen vehicles in North America that offer optional Fender Premium Sound are the Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Jetta Sedan, Volkswagen Passat, and Volkswagen Tiguan. As of July 10, 2012, the majority shareholders of Fender were the private equity firm of Weston Presidio (43%), Servco Pacific (5%) and the Japanese music distributors Yamano Music (14%) and Kanda Shokai (13%).[13][14] By December 2012, TPG Growth (the middle market and growth equity investment platform of TPG Capital) and Servco Pacific took control of the company after acquiring the shares held by Weston Presidio.[15] In February 2015, KMC was sold to Jam Industries[16] by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation[17]