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For more than four decades, Fender electric guitars and amplifiers have had a tremendous influence on the way the world composes, plays and listens to music. While guitarists in the early part of this century played country, folk or blues on acoustic guitars, in the 1930's, jazz musicians experimented with amplifying traditional hollow-body guitars so they could play with other instruments at the same sound level. One problem was that the speakers and pickups tended to generate feedback when played at a high level.
In the 1940's, a California inventor named Leo Fender had made some custom guitars and amplifiers in his radio shop. Eventually, Leo would create the world's very first instrument amplifiers with built-in tone controls. More importantly, though, was Leo's vision of better guitar. With his knowledge of existing technologies, he knew he could improve on contemporary amplified hollow-body instruments . . . and improve upon them, he did. In 1951, he introduced the Broadcaster, the prototype solid-body guitar that would eventually become the legendary Telecaster®. The Tele®, as it became affectionately known, was the first solid-body electric Spanish-style guitar ever to go into commercial production. Soon to follow the Tele were the revolutionary Precision Bass® guitar in 1951, and the Stratocaster® in 1954.
In 1965, because of poor health, Leo Fender sold his company to corporate giant CBS. Over the next two decades, Fender Musical Instruments experienced some tremendous growth. But as time wore on, CBS's lack of commitment and real understanding of music and musicians was becoming apparent.