When inventor Leo Fender started making electric guitars in the '40s and '50s, he may never have imagined that two of his creations, the Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars, would become icons ushering in entirely new styles of music. And he certainly couldn't have known that Fender Musical Instruments Corporation would become one of the world's foremost makers of guitars, basses, amplifiers, and guitar accessories revered by countless musicians the world over.
Fender started with a desire to meet the needs of rhythm and blues, Western swing, boogie, and honky-tonk players as the popularity of big bands declined. Electric guitars gave a small group of instrumentalists the ability to fill a dance hall or bar with sound the equal of an entire horn section. Fender's instrument designs gave bassists and guitarists instruments that they could afford. His creations made it possible to mass-produce guitars and electric basses that met the needs of gigging musicians.