The Fender Factory: The American Guitar Heaven is written by Michael Bo Christensen
Fender Factory: Archetypal American Workplace
There is hardly anything more iconic than the American Fender guitar. Just think of Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix - all of them with their guitar choice are ambassadors for Fender. Several of the gentlemen even have their own signature model, to which they add names.
I myself am a musician and have long had a desire to visit the Fender factory in Corona on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I step into the large showroom, where the guitars of the big rock stars are displayed in large glass showcases with effects that connect the star to his instrument; be it posters from famous gigs, LP covers, clothes or other merchandise.
Slaraffenland for guitarists
In the Fender factory's showroom, there's also a small museum of previous models, design-your-new-spade room, a merchandise sales department, and a movie theater.
Each model often has a specific artist associated with it. For example, Bruce Springsteen has an uncolored Telecaster. Clapton has his own signature Stratocaster, ie a guitar he himself has designed and composed of different types of wood, microphone types, color etc. And John Mayer has a 'sunburst'-colored Stratocaster.
I suck it all to myself and have it like a child in a candy store. I sit down in the cinema and see the story of Leo Fender who invented this lovely spade of a guitar.
Leo Fender is the author of Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision Bass and the amplifier Music Man. Funnily enough, he could not play guitar at all, but he was an ok saxophonist.
Twice a day there is an hour-long guided tour of the factory itself. Here you see the production at close quarters. The craftsmanship is impressive; it is both sanded and adjusted constantly, and it is dusty and noisy. The wood processing is of course central.
Only quite a few things in production are done by machines and robots such as milling holes for pickup microphones, and the rest is made by hand. Here, even the cheapest shovel is pampered, and all are tested before they are approved.
Fender factory: Worth a visit
In the heart of the factory is the Fender factory's flagship, the Custom Shop. Guitars of particularly high quality are hand-built here. The price starts around 20.000 kroner. Many Danish musicians would give their right arm for such a model.
Even if you do not play guitar, the visit is still really interesting, as it is also an American workplace that you see from the inside.
But there are also many other factories that are open to the public. These factories include Corvette, Harley Davidson, CNN, Miller Beer, Pentagon, Dodger Stadium, Warner Bros. Studio, Coca Cola and Gibson. Here you can see the list of companies that have “Factory Tours”.
Very nice trip!