Introduction: Fender and Gibson are two very well-known makers of musical instruments. Both these companies specialize in the manufactureof guitars of the highest quality and style. Founded by Leo Fender and Orville Gibson respectively, these companies have come a long way since their inception. Here’s a look at their history and their modernization over time.
Leo Fender set up the Fender Company in 1946. He was a legendary luthier who gave the music world some truly spectacular guitars, such as the supremely popular Stratocaster, made famous by two of the world’s greatest guitar players, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, for whom the Strat was the guitar of choice. Fender even pioneered the electric bass, and the Jazz Bass and Precision are outstanding instruments still going strong decades later. Fender is also famous for its range of guitar amplifiers, including the outstanding compact and powerful Twin Reverb. Another innovative product that Fender gave the world was the Fender Rhodes, a true electric piano, which had tines instead of piano strings. Jazz musicians who wanted to transition to jazz fusion took to the Rhodes gleefully. Chick Corea and George Duke, two pioneers of jazz fusion, were the greatest exponents of the Rhodes.
Fender himself was a shrewd businessman as well. At the height of the Fender company’s popularity, he sold it to CBS, and started another company, Music Man, where he brought out the supremely funky Stingray bass, which catered to bass players who liked the slapping and popping technique. Leo wenton to sell Music Man as well, and started yet another company, G&L Musical Instruments, before he passed away.
Fender not only manufactures guitars, but also banjos, mandolins, amplifiers, effects units and audio equipment. The company was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Gibson Guitar Corporation was founded by Orville Gibson in the small and quaintly named town Kalamazoo, in Michigan in 1896. The corporation was renamed Gibson Brands on the 11th of June 2013. It’s most popular guitar, the Les Paul, was presented to the world as long ago as 1952, and is widely used even today. The Les Paul was designed by the company’s president, Ted McCarthy, with technical help from legendary guitar player Les Paul, whose name the guitar bears. From 1969 to 1986, the company was under the ownership of the Norlin Corporation. While most rock musicians would opt for Fender guitars, notably the Strat and Telecaster, jazz musicians generally preferred Gibson’s dedicated hollow-bodied jazz models and the Les Paul. Gibson offers its customers audio equipment through its subsidies, the Onkyo Corporation, Cerwin Vega, and professional equipment from KRK Systems and pianos. It is said that from 1942 to 1945, the company recruited women to manufacture guitars and they made approximately 25,000 during World War Two. The company’s folklore claims that it even hired seasoned craftsmen who were too old for war. Another popular guitar is the Gibson J-45, a six string guitar that was the axe of choice for legends like John Lennon, James Taylor, Jimmy Page, and Donovan. The company even put period-correct cutters and softened the fingerboard edges for a comfortable play. Acoustic guitars are difficult to tell apart,especially when it comes to tone. This specific guitar has a greatness to it. The changes in each model, right from baking the tops to changes in the braces have resulted in improvements that can be felt and heard.
All in all, two legendary companies that musicians all over the world admire, and whose music and sound are a treat to music lovers.