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Fender through the decades - why this legendary guitar brand is still blazing a trail

Fender is arguably the most iconic brand in guitar history, first setting the standards for guitars, basses and amplifiers before continuing to raise them.

Now nearly 80 years old, the brand is still renowned for effortless cool – even beyond the confines of the music industry. It remains a firm favourite with musicians of all ages and styles, despite decades of changing musical tastes and genres.

Here’s why.

Humble beginnings

Leo Fender started out as a radio repair man in the early 1930s, with a modest shop in Fullerton, California, His unique talent for electronics soon attracted the attention of local bands who were vying to amplify the sound of their stringed instruments. And this led Fender down a path that would ultimately shape guitar history.

Fender’s first creations were amps, then later tap steel guitars, before the 1950s saw the arrival of the Esquire guitar. With its bolt-on neck, single-cut slab body and single pickup, it was less prone to feedback and - most importantly - could be played louder.

The Esquire was the forerunner of the now world-renowned Telecaster – originally named the Broadcaster – which, as you probably know, heralded an exciting new era for the guitar…

Electric dreams

Although electrified guitars had been around in various forms since the 1920s, in the Telecaster, Fender created something that really didn’t exist before, a mass-produced solid body Spanish-style electric guitar. But in simplicity there is beauty, and it is now impossible to imagine the world of contemporary music without the Telecaster.

Even today, decades after its invention, a basic modern Telecaster outwardly differs very little from its 1951 ancestors. Its user-friendly efficiency as a reliable workhorse guitar remained hallmarks of its design throughout the 1950s, as indeed they would through subsequent decades, while technological developments brought greater power and structure to the sound.

This icon has been beloved by guitar legends as diverse as George Harrison, Jeff Beck, and Joe Strummer. Check out the varied Telecaster models we have in store:

Fender Select Telecaster

With a choice of tone woods, figured tops and a strikingly beautiful finish, the US-made Select Series showcases Fender at its best. We love these models

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Fender Telecaster Vintage Sunburst [1975]

This stunning all-original 1975 model with hard case is a fabulous example of a prime collectible Telecaster

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Fender Custom Shop LTD 1961 Telecaster Relic Aged

This recreation of a 1961 Telecaster boasts period-accurate hardware and specs, including a resonant two-piece alder body and a premium quarter-sawn maple neck, with a comfortable '60s Oval "C" profile.

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The Strat

1954 saw the introduction of another game-changer – the Stratocaster. Versatile and durable, with a comfort contoured body, the Strat – as it became affectionately known – offered the music world advanced electrics, a built-in pitch-shifting vibrato system, and a truly inimitable sound.

The Strat has been played by some of the most influential musicians of all time, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Mark Knopfler. Hendrix’s startling rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock using his beloved Strat “Izabella” has become the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Sound like the guitar to you? Check out these signature models that we have in store

Jimi Hendrix Fender Stratocaster:

Fender introduced the Stratocaster in 1954, but it was Hendrix who put the Strat on the map. His affection for this model undoubtedly had a hand in making the Strat one of the most iconic guitars of all time.

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Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton Signature

Experience the peerless ‘Strat’ style of Slowhand himself with this Eric Clapton Stratocaster, one of the most acclaimed and enduring artist signature models. 

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All about the bass

1951 saw the dawn of The Precision Bass, considered by many to be the first electric bass guitar. Known for its warm and round tone, this makes it perfect for jazz, funk, and R&B, with Sting and Bruce Foxton of the Jam amongst its fans. Check out these models that we can offer:

Fender Custom Shop Phil Lynott Masterbuilt (John Cruz) Precision Bass:

Master Builder John Cruz has painstakingly recreated this bass in precise detail, as only a Custom Shop Master Builder can. 

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Fender Precision Bass Guitar [1973]

This rare vintage 1973 Fender Precision Bass Guitar in Sunburst Rosewood is highly collectible and known for its impressive sound!

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And all that jazz

The Jazzmaster was introduced in 1958 – developed for comfort while playing in a seated
position – and is now widely favoured by jazz and blues artists.

While perhaps less renowned than the Strat or the Telecaster, the Jazzmaster is nonetheless just as celebrated by those in the know. Decades after its release, this would become the darling of the indie rock scene – played by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and The Cure’s Robert Smith. Keep your eyes on our website for when we next have one in stock!

Fender for the future

As the decades rolled on, Fender continued to innovate, with new designs such as the Meteora and Acoustasonic series – blurring the boundaries between acoustic and electric guitars.

From punk through to grunge, Fender-toting guitarists have been a prominent feature of many leading bands – and will undoubtedly be for decades to come.

Finder your Fender

As well as the classics above, the Fender Master Build guitars are simply the best of the best, with each model built by one luthier from start to finish. Each guitar is made in the Fender Custom Shop by a ‘Master Builder’ with decades of experience, either within Fender or the guitar industry at large. You may be interested in these:

Fender Custom Shop '69 Journeyman (Greg Fessler) Masterbuilt Stratocaster

Greg Fessler’s remarkable abilities as a Master Builder have earned him accolades from many Fender Artists. His attention to detail is exemplified in every instrument he created including this beauty.

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Fender Custom Shop 62 Masterbuilt (Jason Smith) Tele Custom Ultra Heavy Relic

Jason Smith is one of the most highly sought after Master Builders and this guitar is a fantastic example of why that is.

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Going one step further, we also offer the opportunity to create truly bespoke, made-to-measure guitars – including your very own Master-built guitar. Simply arrange an appointment with one of our expert team, and we’ll help you spec the ultimate gear made by the Master Builder of your choice!

We could talk Fender all day (and night)! If you’d like to learn more, or try out one of our models, drop by our Dubai store or message us for more info.

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