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    Default Leo and Ted ........similarities

    Taken from my monthly article archive: Greg

    In considering this months installment of The Vintage Guitar News and Views I found myself thinking not only our freedoms we enjoy, but also the pursuit of ambitions, dreams and the protection of our country and the sacrifices that have been made by the many that have came before us and those that are serving now, not only in the service to our country through the military but also serving our country through the shining example(s) of the dedication that they brought to the business world and in particular to the industry of guitars and what (if anything) could be learned through the exploration of the two icons in our industry (I think so at least ).
    The two men I have chosen for my own guitar hall of fame are who I consider (and many will agree) the two most important men in the history of guitar manufacturing. Leaders, visionaries and capable men who through trial and error, listening as well as leading ,have brought us(guitar nuts) the items we consider the best of the best ,in guitar enthusiasts,players and collectors circles.
    These two men not only developed skills in electronics and business at an early age . in the development of their products they listened to their clients, they participated in the development process and most of all these two men set the tone of their respective companies with their caring demeanor, thus insuring great products for musicians around the world then and in retrospect for us now.

    Not only were they educated they were also dedicated. They were dedicated to their jobs and the jobs and lives of their subordinates, this last observation is what I feel is and shall always be the building block or stumbling block of both any company in the past, present and future.

    So let us take a brief look at the two“founding fathers” of our guitar nation and see what I mean, Ted McCarty of Gibson guitars and Leo Fender from Fender Musical Instruments.

    The similarities are spooky to say the least,Mr. McCarty at a young age had an aptitude for business, and in elementary school he started a school newspaper was very athletic and showed an interest in radio, not just for the entertainment they provided but also the inner workings. He built many a radio and experimented with the internal workings from kits. Excelling academically, athletically and socially off to college he went. Mr. Fender born to a farming family showed interest in the tools of the trade rather than the trade itself also interested in electronics and inner workings of things he tore apart radios to see how they worked, interesting enough he also built an acoustic guitar at the age of only 16.After an unassuming early education Leo went on to Jr. college where he worked as a bookkeeper and then became an accountant , learning the practices of making a business work through checks and balances ( no pun intended ). Still the ever-dying tinkerer he was always drawn to his love of electronics and working on musical instruments. Catching the notice of a local bandleader for his ability to work on P.A. systems he was given a chance to build several systems under contract and this led the way for what we know today as the great Fender Musical Instrument company.


    Mr. McCarty after elementary education went onto the University of Cincinnati. Majoring in engineering and studying in a co op program where he studied and worked at the same time. This education process and its rigid structure of the school I feel set the tone for his success later in his life. By also learning bookkeeping like Leo, Ted also learned the strategies to make a company work from the inside out. More outgoing Mr. McCarty belonged to the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Mr. Fender although excelling was a little more reclusive.

    Both Leo and Ted learned the business of business from the bottom up, inside out and most importantly learned that their product(s) were only as good as the people that made them and that the people that made their products were only as good as the leadership at the helm of operations. This aspect I feel was fundamentally lost after they both relinquished their leadership to others and most people in the guitar world feel that the golden age of guitars(the first anyways) was over by the time both of these men left the companies that they had either run or founded. These men put their passion of what they enjoyed doing combined with the passion for guitars out in front of everyone to see, they purposely made and improved their products for the end consumers .Sure they wanted to turn a profit and succeed but they also believed in what they were doing. I wish that companies today would take the lessons these two gentlemen taught us both in the desire to produce superior products and act independently of market conditions instead of depending on past successes to invigorate sales. Also in the way these two men listened to not only their clients but also their genuine care for the people they employed . Enabled them to create the guitars that we today so covet. Both these men although taking different paths, followed their desires and interests that they cradled at an early age to build what most consider the most successful instrument(s) we think we have ever seen.

    So many of us as parents seem to try to mold our children instead of letting them mold themselves (I ‘m guilty). Granted they(our children) can not run amok , but there may be something to the innate abilities that one is born with that can lead us all to success in one form or another. After all look at the two iconic guitars ever produced by the two men that independently followed the path that led them to their place in history.Well this like always its just my news and views, so until next month, may all your friends stay true all your days be memorable and all your riffs be killer,Greg
    Last edited by gregsguitars; 03-22-2010 at 08:38 AM.

 

 

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