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A Shower of Brilliance

Who was Leo Fender?

Leo Fender (1909-1991) was a lifelong resident of Fullerton. In the late 1940s, he invented the first commercially successful solid body electric guitars. Loud and easy to play, Fender guitars had a new sound and fresh look that soon captivated listeners around the world. These improved electric guitars changed what musicians played, what they recorded, and what we heard. The tone and dynamics transformed all styles of popular music—blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, and country.

As America's popular music and culture went global, Leo's work became a prized symbol of ingenuity, personal freedom, and free enterprise. The symbol's power had far-reaching effects. More than a mere creator of sound, Leo Fender helped shape 20th Century history. Today the electric guitar is the most popular musical instrument in the world. Fender started a revolution in music and in the world's popular culture that continues today. It all happened here, in Downtown Fullerton - the "guitar capital of the world".


Fender AdLeo Fender and His Electric Guitars
On display through May 18, 2003

Leo Fender, the creative genius who perfected the electric guitar is documented in this exhibition. In the late 1940s, Fender invented the first commercially successful solid body electric guitars. Loud and easy to play, Fender guitars had a new sound and fresh look that soon captivated listeners around the world. These improved electric guitars changed what musicians played, what they recorded, and what we heard. The tone and dynamics transformed many styles of popular music—blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, and country.

As America's popular music and culture went global, Leo's work became a prized symbol of ingenuity, personal freedom, and free enterprise. The symbol's power had far-reaching effects. More than a mere creator of sound, Leo Fender helped shape 20th century history. Today the electric guitar is the most popular musical instrument in the world. Fender started a revolution in music and in the world's popular culture that continues today. It all started here, in downtown Fullerton - the "guitar capital of the world!"

email us at: FMC@ci.fullerton.ca.us

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