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Roy Buchanan played a well-worn blond ’53 Telecaster.
And pioneering Motown bassist James Jamerson continued to work in L. recording sessions armed with little more than his ’62 Fender Precision Bass.
Fender Goes Back To The Future Turning the CBS-controlled Fender around was a bit more problematic.
It began in 1981, when two of Fender’s executives – president Bill Schultz and V. Roger Balmer – decided that they’d had enough of hearing of the glory days of the pre-CBS era.
Carlos Santana was regularly seen playing his Yamaha in concert and at high-profile gigs such as his 1978 appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” But American manufacturers were slow to respond.
“And Bill Schultz recommended a program of investment, primarily to modernize the factory.
This meant production was virtually stopped while new machinery was installed and staff re-trained.” Simultaneously, Schultz suggested making Fenders in Japan.
But both manufacturers, at the time mere cogs in large corporate wheels, all but ignored them.
Since being purchased by CBS in 1965, Fender had radically modified the Stratocaster and Telecaster models on which its existence was essentially based.
By the mid ’70s, the Japanese responded to the vacuum by producing a series of increasingly accurate copies of vintage instruments.