The day an electric pickup was placed on top of an acoustic guitar, a musical revolution took place. No other name in history is more synonymous with this revolution than Leo Fender. His first invention, the Telecaster (Broadcaster) overturned centuries of tradition and heralded the onset of a whole new genre of music. This was the first commercially available solid-body guitar.
A year later Fender followed with the first electric bass guitar, the Precision Bass. His crowning achievement was the Stratocaster, patented in 1956. The Strato’s new features included a radical double cutaway, a revolutionary tremolo system and a three-pickup layout. The exemplary Stratocaster has become the most popular, the most copied, the most desired, and probably the most played solid-body electric guitar ever—a tribute to the inventor and such legendary artists as Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and scores of others who forged this colorful history.
As Keith Richards of Rolling Stones fame once said, “It is amazing the way that Leo Fender got so much right when he invented the Telecaster 40 years ago. And they still do the job now!” [Note: now it’s been nearly sixty years.]