City of Fullerton
Public Information Office

303 W. Commonwealth
Fullerton, CA 92832
Phone: (714) 738-6317


Subject :

Leo Fender’s Sound Ideas on March 1 at Fullerton Museum
Contact :Fullerton Museum Center    (714) 738-6545
Fullerton City Manager’s Office    (714) 738-6317
Fullerton, Ca – He was, by his own description, "just" a radio repairman, yet his inventions sparked a musical revolution that still reverberates around the world today.

“He” was Leo Fender, the Fullerton native and inventive genius who perfected the electric guitar, and he is the focus of “Sound Ideas,” with speaker, Paul Gagon, Vice President of Engineering at G&L Musical Instruments and an inventor in his own right. As an engineer in Fender's Research and Development Department, Gagon pioneered advanced circuit and pickup designs for the world’s most popular musical instrument, the Fender Stratocaster. This special lecture will take place on Friday, March 1 at the Fullerton Museum Center at 7p.m.

This free lecture, during the three year anniversary event for the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk, will help visitors discover the fascinating world of Leo Fender’s musical inventions. 

Fender’s work began in 1938 when he opened a radio repair shop in downtown Fullerton.  Soon, musicians began coming to the shy inventor in search of improved guitars and amplifiers.  Fender began K & F Manufacturing with fellow inventor Doc Kauffman in a little tin shed behind the radio shop where, in 1945, they unveiled their first electric guitars for sale.

The following year, Fender opened the Fender Electric Instrument Company at Santa Fe and Pomona avenues.  It was there that he conceived the legendary Telecaster and Stratocaster - arguably, the most popular and successful guitar designs in history.

Fender moved the factory to 500 S. Raymond Ave. in 1953.  Twelve years later, he sold it to CBS.   Fender went on to make guitars and basses for Music Man in the 1970s and G & L Musical Instruments in the 1980s on Fender Ave., the street named for him. 

He continued to come to work every day at G & L until his death in 1991 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Although by his own admission he could not play a note himself, Fender was inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Country Music halls of fame.

The award-winning Fullerton Museum Center, is located at 301 N. Pomona Ave., east of Harbor Blvd., in downtown Fullerton.  Museum hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 8 p.m. Thursday. 

Further information about the free lecture can be obtained by calling the Fullerton Museum Center at (714) 738-6545. 

Persons requiring special accommodations to view the exhibit are asked to notify the museum staff prior to coming to the Fullerton Museum Center.