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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I love this story, couldn’t be better told
Thanks Martin, really happy that you liked it :).
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.
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.
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!
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.
Why can’t it be both? I love that exploded diagram of the Strat. Pretty simple really.
Well it could be both, but I just don’t think that’s the way it was :).
You made the front page or reddit! Congrats!
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.