Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is the world’s
leading guitar manufacturer, and its name has become synonymous with all
things rock ‘n’ roll.
Iconic Fender® instruments such as the Telecaster®, Stratocaster®, Precision Bass® and Jazz Bass®
guitars are known worldwide as the instruments that started the rock
revolution, and they continue to be highly prized by today’s musicians
With an illustrious history dating back to 1946,
Fender has touched and transformed music worldwide and in nearly every
genre: rock ‘n’ roll, country and western, jazz, rhythm and blues and
many others. Everyone from beginners and hobbyists to the world’s most
acclaimed artists and performers have used Fender instruments and amps,
in the process making the company not only a revered music industry
name, but also a cultural icon.
It is our vision to continue
championing THE SPIRIT OF ROCK-N-ROLL® throughout the world, and our
mission to exceed the expectations of music enthusiasts worldwide.
Today, FMIC brands include Fender®, Squier®, Guild®,
Gretsch®, Jackson®, Charvel®, EVH®, SWR® and Groove Tubes®, among
others. FMIC also manufactures a complete line of professional audio
equipment under the Fender brand, including the innovative Passport®
portable sound system. Fender also offers a complete line of
accessories, including strings, authorized replacement parts, cases,
straps, clothing and much more.
In January of 2008, FMIC also
acquired Kaman Music Corporation (KMC), the largest independent U.S.
distributor of musical instruments and accessories. KMC produces and/or
distributes Ovation®, Takamine® and Hamer® guitars; Latin Percussion®,
Gretsch® Drums, Gibraltar® Hardware, Toca® Percussion, Sabian® cymbals
and Genz Benz® amplifiers; in addition to a full catalog of more than
36,000 wholesale music products.
FMIC’s corporate headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Ariz., with manufacturing headquarters based in Corona, Calif.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is the world’s foremost
manufacturer of guitars, basses, amplifiers and related equipment.
With an illustrious history dating back to 1946, Fender has touched
and transformed music worldwide and in nearly every genre: rock ‘n’
roll, country and western, jazz, rhythm and blues and many others.
Everyone from beginners and hobbyists to the world’s most acclaimed
artists and performers have used Fender instruments and amps, and
legendary Fender instruments such as the Telecaster® and Stratocaster®
guitars and Precision® and Jazz® bass guitars are universally acclaimed
as design classics.
In the 1940s, southern California inventor Leo Fender realized that
he could improve on the amplified hollow-body instruments of the day by
using an innovative and rather simple solid-body electric guitar design.
Further, he realized that he could streamline the process of building
In 1951 he introduced a prototype solid-body instrument that would
eventually be called the Telecaster® guitar. The Tele®, as it was often
called then and still is today, was the first solid-body Spanish-style
electric guitar to be commercially mass-produced.
That same year, Fender introduced a revolutionary new invention—the
Precision Bass guitar. It was played like a guitar and had frets so that
it could be played with “precision,” and it could be amplified, thus
liberating bassists from unwieldy and increasingly difficult-to-hear
These two historic instruments laid the foundation for a new kind of
group and a revolution in popular music—what we know today as the modern
rock combo. As opposed to the “big bands” of the era, electric Fender
instruments made it possible for smaller groups of musicians to get
together and be heard.
The Stratocaster first appeared in 1954, incorporating many design
innovations based on feedback from professional musicians, Fender staff
and Leo Fender himself. Its third single-coil pickup offered more tonal
possibilities, its sleekly contoured body made it more comfortable, and
its double cutaway design made access to upper registers much easier.
Most important, however, was the addition of the new Fender vibrato
(or “tremolo”) bridge, an innovation originally intended to let
guitarists bend strings, thus achieving the pedal steel-like sound so
popular among country music artists of the day.
Nobody could have foreseen then how the Stratocaster would go on to
revolutionize popular music. Essentially unchanged since its 1954 debut,
it is the most popular and influential electric guitar ever, and
players at all levels and in all genres continue to rely on its sound,
playability and versatility to this day.
Leo Fender himself remained an immensely creative force over the next
decade, introducing many classic instrument and amplifier designs,
including the Jazz Bass® guitar, the Jaguar® and Jazzmaster® guitars and
the Twin Reverb® amplifier.
Because of poor health, Leo Fender sold the company to CBS in 1965.
Fender Musical Instruments experienced tremendous growth over the next
20 years, but a lack of commitment and real understanding of music and
musicians by CBS gradually became apparent.
To “re-invent” Fender, CBS recruited new management in 1981. William
Schultz became company president, supported by associate William
Mendello. Their 5-year business plan was based on increasing Fender’s
marketplace presence with dramatic quality improvement and greater
commitment to research and development.
When CBS shed its non-broadcast media businesses in the 1980s, a
group of employees and investors led by Schultz bought Fender from CBS
in 1985. The sale put the Fender name back into the hands of a small
group of dedicated people committed to creating the world’s best guitars
The new Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) had to start
from scratch—there were no buildings or machinery included in the sale.
Among other things, FMIC purchased the name, intellectual property and
some leftover parts. Supported by a core group of loyal employees,
dealers and suppliers (some of whom had been with the company since Leo
Fender founded it), Schultz and his colleagues set out to rebuild an
The new Fender initially imported its guitars from offshore
manufacturers with proven ability to produce affordable and viable
instruments, but the move toward greater quality control soon led to the
establishment in 1985 of Fender’s flagship U.S. factory in Corona,
Calif. A second modern manufacturing facility opened in 1987 in
Also in 1987, the renowned Fender Custom Shop opened at the Corona
facility, creating dream instruments for professional guitarists and
guitar enthusiasts. Fender had always recognized the importance of an
open-door policy for professional musicians, accommodating their
requests for specific features on an individual basis. The Fender Custom
Shop has since become known worldwide and industry-wide as the pinnacle
of craftsmanship and sheer instrumental artistry.
FMIC moved its corporate headquarters from Corona to Scottsdale,
Ariz., in 1991. From there, Fender coordinates its administration,
marketing, advertising, sales and export operations in the United States
and its international satellite facilities in England, France, Germany,
Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
Schultz retired in 2005, and Mendello became CEO.
Since its founding, FMIC has grown to be one of the world's leading
marketers, manufacturers, and distributors of musical instruments. It
manufactures and distributes everything guitarists and bassists need,
from instruments, amplifiers, strings and accessories to professional
audio products. Fender became one of the world leaders by defining the
sounds we hear, by meeting the needs of musicians, by creating quality
products and by backing them up with service and stability. As FMIC
forges into the 21st century, its management strives to maintain
Fender’s status through a combination of business acumen and love for
Corporate headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Ariz., U.S.A., with
manufacturing headquarters and the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, Calif.
FMIC markets using the brand names Fender®, Squier®, Charvel®, Gretsch®,
Guild®, Jackson®, SWR®, Tacoma®, EVH® and Groove Tubes®. For more
information, contact Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, 17600 N.
Perimeter Drive, Suite 100 Scottsdale, AZ 85255, 480.596.9690.