In the late 1940s, Leo Fender began to experiment with more conventional guitar designs. Early... View more
In the late 1940s, Leo Fender began to experiment with more conventional guitar designs. Early Broadcasters were plagued with issues; while Fender boasted the strength of the instrument’s one-piece maple neck, early adopters lamented its tendency to bow in humid weather. Fender’s reluctant addition of a metal truss rod into the necks of his guitars allowed for the much needed ability to fine-tune the instrument to the musician’s specific needs. With the design of the Telecaster finalized, mass production began in 1950. The Telecaster’s bolted-on neck allowed for the instrument’s body and neck to be milled and finished separately, and for the final assembling to be done quickly and cheaply by unskilled workers.
The Stratocaster was released in 1954
In 1950, Fender introduced the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar, the Telecaster (“Tele”) (originally named the Broadcaster for two-pickup models and Esquire for single-pickup). Following its success, Fender created the first mass-produced electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass). In August, 1954, Fender unveiled the Stratocaster (“Strat”) guitar. With the Telecaster and Precision Bass having been on the market for some time, Leo Fender was able to incorporate input from working musicians into the Stratocaster’s design.
In 1959, Fender released the Jazzmaster guitar. Like the Stratocaster before it, the Jazzmaster was a radical departure from previous guitar designs. The offset body, vibrato system and innovative electronics were designed to capture the Jazz guitar market which until then was dominated by acoustic guitars. Fender even promoted the Jazzmaster as a premium successor to the Stratocaster, an accolade it never fully achieved. Despite being shunned by the Jazz community, the guitar found a home in the growing surf rock music scene, one that would go on to influence the Jazzmaster’s successor, the Jaguar in 1962.
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