The Fender Archives

The Fender Archives

A Scrapbook of Artifacts, Treasures, and Inside Information

by Tom Wheeler | foreword by James Burton


Part history, part archive, part scrapbook, and part treasure chest, The Fender Archives: A Scrapbook of Artifacts, Treasures, and Inside Information (November 2014, Hal Leonard Books, $45) is an intimate look at the heart of American music.

Writer, educator, and musician Tom Wheeler is the tour guide on a research expedition, a sort of archeological dig through several sites: file folders in Fender’s offices; the family archives of Don Randall; author/curator Richard Smith’s collections; the photo galleries of John Peden and Fretted Americana; jammed metal cabinets in a sweltering warehouse near the Corona factory; and the home of the late Bob Perine in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just blocks from the beach where he and Ned Jacoby took now-iconic photos of high school kids, surfboards, palm trees, and chrome-clad rocket-ship guitars in Shoreline Gold and Daphne Blue and Candy Apple Red.

The Fender Archives looks at the company from the inside. Handwritten letters, production totals, personal logbooks, in-house memos, Leo Fender’s drawing-board sketches, financial reports—such documents are freed here from long confinement in cardboard boxes and filing cabinets, dusted off, and promoted from background to spotlight. Along the way, Wheeler sheds new light on the inspirations for revolutionary instruments and amplifiers, their sometimes-difficult births and growing pains, the environment into which they were unleashed upon the world, and the motivations and personalities of key players.

The Fender Archives features rare and previously unseen photographs, and 25 facsimile items of memorabilia, including hand-drawn diagrams, a Western union telegram, log book entries, a Telecaster cost sheet, handwritten letters and more. It is a celebration of the amps and guitars that separate Fender from its rivals, and a unique look at the company from the inside out.

November 25, 2014
12″ x 9”
96 pages
Featuring 300 color and B&W photos and illustrations throughout, plus 25 facsimile items in sleeve pockets


Tom Wheeler is a writer, educator, and musician. After freelancing with Rolling Stone, he held the post of editor-in-chief at Guitar Player magazine and became the founding editorial director of Bass Player. He is the author of many books, including The Guitar Book, American Guitars, The Stratocaster Chronicles, The Soul of Tone, and The Dream Factory, all published by Hal Leonard Books. He currently serves as a professor at the University of Oregon’s school of journalism. He lives in Eugene, Ore.




Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on November 14, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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