Leo Fender was an inventor and innovator. He was originally known for making lap-steel guitars and amplifiers in the late 1940s, a company with his own namesake. Fender’s introduction of the electric bass (or “Fender bass”) in 1951 set the stage for the explosion of rock ’n’ roll in that decade and onward. From the Telecaster to the Stratocaster to the Jaguar to the Jazzmaster to the Twin Reverb to the Champ to the Bassman, Fender had a recipe for timeless cool. Fender Guitars was sold to CBS (the television and radio network) in 1965, ending what’s regarded as a production golden age (“pre-CBS”).
Fender’s 10-year non-compete agreement was over as 1975’s Music Man came to fruition. It was a collaboration between a group of players (R&D) and inventors (Leo Fender, Tom Walker, Forrest White and George Fullerton). Fender was in his mid-60s at the time. In the disco-era, Leo Fender and company found unlikely success, lightning striking twice. His most lasting contribution from this time was his re-invention of the electric bass — the Music Man Stingray Bass (that has been in production ever since).
Even in the first years of its release, the Stingray was used on recordings by Queen, Aerosmith, Chic and went on to become Flea’s preferred instrument for the first decade of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.