Happy 100th to the Man Who Changed Rock

Leo Fender, inventor of the Stratocaster, born Aug. 10, 1909
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 10, 2009 11:41 AM CDT
John Mayer performs at the memorial service for the late pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mario Anzuoni, Pool)
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(Newser) – Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of a man who forever changed rock and roll—even though he couldn’t play the instrument inextricably associated with his name. Leo Fender designed guitars and amplifiers that have endured for decades, including the legendary Fender Stratocaster, played by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others. “More than just a guitar,” the Strat “is one of the great hallmarks of modern art,” writes Michael Calore for Wired.

Gorgeously designed and boasting a “clean, bright sound,” the Stratocaster is also built tough enough to take a beating. When it comes to Fenders, “the visual boldness draws you in, but it’s the playability, the way the guitar feels balanced on your shoulders, the curvature of the neck and the way its carved body hugs your own that hooks you,” Calore writes.