Music Article

He Sang The Solid-Body Electric

Remembering Leo Fender -- We honor the life of a legendary guitar creator

Remembering Leo Fender

From Buddy Holly to Jimi Hendrix, countless guitarists have relied on the Fender ax for their sound. But when Clarence Leo Fender introduced the solid-body Broadcaster guitar (later the Telecaster) in 1948, skeptics laughed. Up to that point, electric guitars had been hollow-bodied stepchildren of the traditional acoustic models. A decade later, the sharp twang of Fender instruments and amplifiers had become the most sought-after sound in country and rock. Fender sold his company to CBS in 1965 for $13 million, but by 1975 he was back making guitars, this time for Music Man. Later he founded G&L Music, which he ran until his death. When the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, Keith Richards knew who had gotten them there. ''Thank God,'' he said, ''for Leo Fender.''

Originally posted Apr 05, 1991 Published in issue #60 Apr 05, 1991 Order article reprints