Leo Fender Couldn't Play Guitar - Anita's Notebook


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    A picture of Anita Wirawan in Seattle, Washington.

    My name is Anita Wirawan and I love stories :).
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    Stories can: make you smile -- show a deeper meaning behind something -- or even change your life.
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    I started this blog in 2008 after my brother Jody died & over the years it's become my notebook for stories.

    My mission is to find the best stories to share with you.
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    So go ahead... look around and read some stories!

    If you have questions or comments, text (909) 264-8248 or email me using the form below...

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*Leo Fender Couldn’t Play Guitar*

I was surprised to find out that Leo Fender, inventor of the most popular kind of guitar in the world, couldn’t play guitar at all.

He was 100% an engineer and had to bring in musicians to properly test out the prototypes he made. He couldn’t even tune a guitar and his more musically inclined co-workers often rushed in to tune up an instrument he was working on because they couldn’t stand to listen to it anymore.

Weird huh? When most people see a guitar they think this:

But this is what Fender would think:

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18 Comments  »

  1. Martín says:

    I love this story, couldn’t be better told

  2. Rock Star says:

    While it’s true Leo never played guitar, this is a bit misleading. Leo played piano and sax as a kid, taught himself electronics, worked on radio repair and amplification prior to guitars. Also formed K & F Manufacturing with Clayton Kauffman, a guitar player, who had worked for Rickenbacker Guitars prior to forming Fender.

    • Anita says:

      Hi Rock Star,

      Ah thanks for the info about the piano and sax, don’t think I knew that when I wrote this post. I think it’s fascinating that he didn’t know how to play guitar or even cared to tune the guitars he was working on, especially if he had some music in his background. He saw his role in guitar making as purely an engineer and left the musical aspects to others.

  3. Very interesting. I used to sell Fender guitars but never knew Leo didn’t know how to play. Regardless, he was a true artist. The guitars he built are works of art!

    • Anita says:

      Steve,

      Yeah I don’t think very many people know about it, which is too bad because I think the fact that he couldn’t play makes his achievements even more amazing.

  4. Ursus says:

    Why can’t it be both? I love that exploded diagram of the Strat. Pretty simple really.

  5. Redditor says:

    You made the front page or reddit! Congrats!

    • Anita says:

      Hi Redditor,

      Thanks it’s pretty damn amazing, Achievement Unlocked Reddit Front Page :D. And TIL that my blog can handle a Reddit stampede (so far) so that’s nice too lol.