It's time Leo Fender got what he deserves!

Aslan

Member
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2,690
I noticed that most boutique amps are some variation of either a Tweed or Blackface Fender. The Fender amps made from 1955 to 1965 are still considered the standard for judging other amps, Marshall's were first designed off of the tweed bassman. With the exception of Vox amps, Leo designed durable amps for the working musician that no only sounded good but held up to touring. Whatever Leo had that allowed him to design and produce those amps during that 10 year period was truly historic, and if you think about it he went from a relatively small company in 1955 to a large complex company in 1965 where they were doubling the output of products every few years yet the quality during that 10 year span was consistently very good. I would have loved to been present during some of their R&D sessions.
 

teemuk

Member
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3,264
I'm pretty sure Leo actually designed a tiny minority of Fender's amps. After all, there were plenty of people much more competent to do that job on his company's payroll.

Not to mention, he bailed out already in the early 1960's. At the time the company had over hundred employees. Even in the late 1940's you couldn't the number of the company's employees using your fingers.
 

docmh

Member
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324
We all owe debt of gratitude to Leo and his wonderful amps and guitars and the great music made with them over the years.
 

Ben S.

Member
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2,183
I think its time the engineers for Marconi, RCA, Philips, Mullard, GE, Western Electric, etc... get what they deserve. That is where tube amp topology really comes from.
 

teemuk

Member
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3,264
If we even are going to mention Fender then at least let’s pay dues to

Ray Massie – a long time Fender employee, since the very beginning from Leo’s radio repair shop. Was involved in the design of first Fender products as much as Leo was.

Clayton Kaufman – Another Fender Repair Service employee with significant contribution to first amplifier designs. And yes, those were derived from the tube datasheets or from the Rickenbacker and Gibson amplifiers Fender's shop used to repair.

Dale Hyatt – Another employee involved right from the very beginnings of Fender. Bought Leo’s repair shop and ran it as a side business on Fender’s payroll.

George Fullerton – Significant effort in developing the guitar products.

Louis Lugar – manufactured the cabinetry for all the first Fender amplifiers

Don Randall – Initially one of the main executives of Radio-Tel. Later directly responsible for providing R&D department instructions of what kind of designs and features the market needed. Became Fender’s general manager when the company was sold to CBS.

Forrest White – Production manager. Later vice-president, plant manager and director of manufacturing.

Freddie Tavares – head of Fender’s design department. Likely had hands more on actual designs than Leo ever did. Designed many amplifiers and – based on the critical input of Bill Carson about the Telecaster design - the Stratocaster guitar.

Bill Carson – Another designer of legendary Fender guitars. Stratocaster design was even originally called “The Carson Guitar”. Bill had more to do with guitar design than Leo because Leo actually had trouble playing the new instrument, which was much more refined than the Hawaian guitars or the Telecaster. According to Carson, Leo initially even had trouble tuning the electric guitars the company made.

Francis Hall and Charles Hayes – other former key executives of Radio-Tel and later key executives of Fender sales. Francis later also became a key exec of Rickenbacker.

Talented designer crew including names like

Edward Jahns (Fender’s most acclaimed designer guru)
Robert Haigler (long time employee and chief designer)
William Hughes (ex-Ampeg employee, developer of e.g. SVT series, head of R&D, developer of practically all mid 1980’s to mid 1990’s Fender amplifiers)
Seth Lover (ex-Gibson employee, inventor of the PAF pickup and Fuzztone effect)
Richard Evans (ex-Gibson employee)
Robert Rissi
Paul Spranger
Stephen Bussey
William Hodges
Paul Rivera
Etc.

Can’t forget the people doing the “dirty work” – actually assembling the circuits. These were usually young Mexican immigrant women because women were better and more careful in tedious and repetitive assembly work and because they were cheap labour.
 

Muzzy

Silver Supporting Member
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3,149
Leo deserves massive credit for putting such a phenominal team together. He was a very smart business man!!!
 

bettset

Member
Messages
4,215
uncle leo--hello!!! :munch oh yeah--was abigail ybarra mentioned--she's wound too many pickups to count
 

StratTone

Member
Messages
959
We all owe debt of gratitude to Leo and his wonderful amps and guitars and the great music made with them over the years.

I totally agree. I use many of his ideas in my amp builds. My way of paying respect. ;) No different than when I do a SRV/Albert King style lead.
 

Aslan

Member
Messages
2,690
I still can't grasp how Leo was able to get the right product (guitar or amp) to the players at the right time, was it just plain luck or did he work harder than say Gibson (amps), Standel, Kustom or any other manufacturer from 1955 to 1965?
 

FFTT

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28,352
Leo Fender was honored posthumously with a Technical Achievement Grammy in February 2009
 

Davo17

Member
Messages
2,170
Went to the Fender museum, and am a huge fan. Heres the thing, Musicman and G&L products are awesome as well, his G&L pups alone blow me away. The guy knew a thing or two. Some call them happy accidents, but he sure did have a bunch of em.

BTW-we all know he didnt play guitar...but he DID play sax.
 

OnlyVees

Member
Messages
837
The post on the first page sums it up the best. Mr. Fender was surrounded by a lot of great people. But it's his name on the guitars and amps...

Fender ran a touching tribute right after Mr. Fender passed away, a full-page picture of him that simply said "Thank you." I would love to have a framed copy of that for the house.

Forrest White's biography is a great read if you have an interest in the early days at Fender.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,898
I think its time the engineers for Marconi, RCA, Philips, Mullard, GE, Western Electric, etc... get what they deserve. That is where tube amp topology really comes from.
Bingo. Look in the old tube books and you'll see where Leo got his designs.
 




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