George Fullerton Part of Fender DNA
George Fullerton wasn’t a household name, but he contributed as much to modern music as just about anybody. With the massive media coverage surrounding a slew of celebrity deaths, the mainstream media overlooked the news that George Fullerton died on July 4 at age 86. But as one of those who helped put the twang in country music, it would be a travesty to overlook his passing.
Many would say that George Fullerton was an essential part of the Fender Company’s DNA. Fullerton was Leo Fender’s right-hand man during the key years of the Fender guitar company in the ’50s and ’60s. Leo Fender came up with the basic ideas for the guitar designs, but Fullerton helped refine them and figured out how to manufacture the instruments as a product most musicians could afford. If they had done nothing else, their place in music history would be sealed by creating two iconic electric guitars — the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster models.
But George’s impact didn’t stop there. When CBS bought the company from Leo Fender it was George that helped guide them through the transition and showed them what a real Fender was. And, when Leo started up a new guitar company later it was George and Leo that made the G & L Brand (hint: George & Leo = G & L) of guitar the next great thing from Leo Fender.
George was involved in everything. But perhaps he’s best known for his impact on the design and production of the Fender Stratocaster — Leo’s iconic Rock Guitar as a follow-up to his Telecaster "Country" guitar. A guitar played by Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and many other rock legends.
It is more than amazing to think that Fender and Fullerton dreamed up those guitars and that their designs from more than 50 years ago are still embraced by so many musicians and is really the pinnacle of guitar design for going on 60 years now.