1981 Fender Factory Tour
The Fullerton Factory
Entering Sacred Ground
I travelled to the USA a number of times during the 1980s, and in 1981 I was determined to visit the sacred ground of where my favourite guitars were made.
I was staying with family in Orange County, and we rang the Fender Factory to ask if it was even possible to visit the factory, and they were happy to oblige.
This was still the CBS Musical Instruments era, as indicated by the signage on the building. A few years later in 1985, CBS sold Fender for US$12.5.
This is where things got more interesting for me. You can see the ‘naked’ bodies above, and most bodies appear to be made of three or four pieces of wood, glued together.
I was told at the time that the two pink bodies hanging on the rack were being made for members of The Cars, a huge band of the time.
The bodies were given either a clear coat for natural finishes, or a white base coat, on top of which a colour would be applied.
The guitar bodies would then be hung on several racks for drying and polishing, while they await assembly.
As each guitar came off the production line, they were setup and tested by hand, plugged into an amplifier and check that everything worked as it should.
At the time I was there, there were several guys testing the guitars to ensure what was coming out of the factory was up to standard.