Some years ago Richard Smith curated the exhibition "Five Decades of Fender" for the Fullerton Museum in California. It was also assembled into a lavish book which is now also available in paperback. Fender: The Sound Heard 'Round The World succeeds by every measure. The text is unobtrusive yet lively, chronicling Leo Fender's first boyhood fascination with electronics. From repairing radios to creating the amplifiers and guitars which are forever entwined in the history and evolution of rock & roll, this book is Leo’s story.
Rich with patent drawings, historic photos and early advertisements, the book is well designed. It favors classic museum catalog precision and style, avoiding any contemporary Photoshop shenanigans (all of those images and changing colors vying with the text for attention which are bound to look very dated in years to come). And no book on the most ubiquitous and famous of electric guitars would be complete without a plethora of photographs showing every line they made. From the experimental tangents and marketplace sleepers to the Teles and Strats found in every town of the land, they’re all here.
One need not be a guitar buff to be dazzled by this book. Just an appreciation for craft and ingenuity, or having been touched in any way by the guitar-based music of the last fifty years will pull you in.