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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:30 pm
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atolleter wrote:
I think in mid 60s they came out of factory with 12 flatwound.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I was fortunate to have played a friend's original '62 Strat in 1964. The strings were definitely larger on his axe, but, I don't know what they were or even if it was an option or trend. It sure was a sweet sounding Daphne Blue with Brazilian rosewood, though. Thanks, for your answer, atolleter.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:19 am
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Can anyone shed any light as to Fender's string production from the shutdown of V.C. Squier until the start-up of Ensenada?

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:27 am
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This is a cut 'n' paste quote of brotherdave:
" V.C. Squier strings of Battle Creek, MI ceased guitar and bass string production in late 1965 or so. After that Fender used Fender made and branded strings made at the expanded Fender complex in Fullerton CA on all Fender guitars and basses for the remainder of the CBS era using machinery transported to Fullerton from Battle Creek in late 1965. An additional building was constructed for the string operation by CBS adjacent to the instrument manufacturing building. V.C. Squier continued making strings for other instruments in Battle Creek at what locals still call "the fiddle plant" until 1975 when CBS shut it down with no warning for the employees. Some of the guitar and bass string workers no doubt went to work for GHS which was just starting up in 1965, at roughly exactly the same time Fender moved the guitar and bass string operation to Fullerton and changed the brand name to Fender.

Under FMIC management Fender would eventually move their entire string making operation to Ensenada, Mexico after renting a former church building to package strings by hand nearly 28 years ago. So, the first Fender branded finished product to come from Ensenada was packages of strings!

The longest tenured employee at Fender Ensenada is Esther Marron who was on the job in the old church packaging strings by hand on day one and even though when hired she was told it was a six-month job she is still working at Fender Ensenada as an invaluable face of Fender Ensenada sort of like Abigail was at Fender USA. Esther is approaching 28 years of service. How many worked that first day in the old church? By Esther's count a total of eight."

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:16 pm
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(EDITED THIS POST because I just learned information in the last paragraph about Esther Marron has changed. She apparently has moved on or retired.)

The string packaging took up way less space than string making but was fairly labor intensive compared to actually making strings on a machine. Fender trucked strings on Highway 1 from Corona to Ensenada and trucked back packaged sets from 1987 until the string making machines were moved from Corona to Ensenada sometime after the 1994 Ensenada fire. The old church was a temporary thing and all they did there was string packaging that I know about until the first real plant opened in Ensenada. It was not immediate but soon after the initial string project in the old church Fender proved efficient Fender moved into their first 22,000 foot manufacturing facility in Ensenada and instrument production began there in 1989, about 2 years after the string project began.

After the first Fender Ensenada plant burned to the ground February 11, 1994 in just over three months Fender resumed production in a much more massive building which has grown to be a complex of 8 buildings and over 200,000 square feet at present. The much larger building they moved into in 1994 meant they had room to move the entire string making process there and to establish a CNC section in Ensenada, both of which they did, however I do not know exactly when either happened. I do know they did get new automated string making machinery at Ensenada just a few years before they closed the string making down. I also know they CNC cut all bodies and necks at Corona and trucked them to Ensenada until the CNC machines were up and running in Ensenada.

Incidentally, the second photo of the pretty lady making strings in this thread sure looks like one time Fender string queen Esther Marron, who at one time was often seen in print referred to as "Fender Mexico employee number 1." She was there on day one at the old church and I thought was still working for Fender in Ensenada, but her Facebook page says she "worked" there and so she has obviously moved on but still lives in Ensenada. I thought she was still working there up until today when I checked her Facebook. Here she is doing PR for Fender Mexico at the 25th Anniversary.

Image


Last edited by brotherdave on Mon May 04, 2015 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:57 am
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:arrow: Thanks Brother Dave for all your Fender knowledge, and for sharing it with us. 8)

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:31 am
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Here's an interesting article from the Battle Creek Enquirer dated May 19th, 1981 reporting the announcement of the closure on July 2nd of V.C. Squier by C.B.S.
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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:40 am
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So this is much latter than what has been previously thought and erroneously reported by some such as Jim Richmond in this article.
http://archive.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20040906/LIFESTYLE08/409060302/Squier-violins-strings-established-international-market
So Squier continued production much longer, almost by ten years until July 2nd, 1981. Also some have written that C.B.S. shut down Squier abruptly without any notice to workers. So now we know that is false, and were given 45 days notice.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:57 am
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Oddly enough the history of Fender Brand Strings starts long before Leo Fender was born with the V.C. Squier Company of Battle Creek Michigan.

“Jerome Bonaparte Squier, a young English immigrant who arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the latter part of the 19th century, was a farmer and shoemaker who had learned the fine European art of violin making. He moved to Boston in 1881, where he built and repaired violins with his son, Victor Carroll Squier. To this day, their violins are noted for their exceptional varnishes, and they command high prices as fine examples of early U.S. instrument craftsmanship. Indeed, J.B. Squier ranks among the best-known U.S.-trained violin makers and is often referred to as "the American Stradivarius."

Victor returned to Battle Creek, where he opened his own shop in 1890. As his business grew, Squier moved the company to 429 Lake Ave. and eventually to 427 Capitol Ave, S.W.—the famous "fiddle factory" of Battle Creek. With a limited market for violins in Battle Creek, however, Squier astutely sought relationships with national music schools and famous violinists.

Up to 1900, the best violin strings were made in Europe. Victor Squier started making his own hand-wound violin strings, and the business grew so quickly that he and his employees improvised a dramatic production increase by converting a treadle sewing machine into a string winder capable of producing 1,000 uniformly high-quality strings per day. Squier violin strings, banjo strings and guitar strings became well known nationwide and were especially popular among students because of their reasonable price.”


"Fender Musical Instruments Corporation entered the picture in the 1950s, when the V.C. Squier Company began supplying Southern California inventor and businessman Leo Fender with strings for his unusual new electric guitars. The V.C. Squier Company became an official original equipment manufacturer for Fender in 1963, and Fender bought the V.C. Squier string company in early 1965 shortly before Fender itself was bought by CBS in May of that year." – Wikipedia
We have to take all Wikipedia articles with a grain of salt as there are a few discrepancies.

Leo Fender hired Forrest White to be the general manager of the Fender factory and production. He started on May 20th, 1954. In White’s book “Fender – The Inside Story” on page 52 He talks about the Precision bass and the special strings needed as they didn’t exist yet. Leo “had V.C. Squier make strings for him. He had been buying all of his guitar strings from them, and I also continued to buy our strings there after I was employed as manager in 1954.” Forrest and Leo went on to become the best of friends. Leo went so far as to buy a lot and build a new house across the street from Forrest.

V.C. Squier was acquired by Fender Sales “in the early 1960’s” according to Richard R. Smith on page 247 of ‘Fender – The Sound Heard ‘Round The World’. This reinforces the Wiki stated date of 1963. In an absolute stroke of luck, a page of a scanned document was reproduced on page 67 of Tom Wheeler’s ‘The Fender Archives’. It’s an agreement between Leo Fender, Don Randall, and C.B.S. dated December 15th, 1964 which states in part “and Fender Sales, Inc. owns in excess of 95% of the outstanding shares of stock of V.C. Squier Company”. Don Randall was Leo’s business partner from the very beginning. His half of the company was Fender Sales which he ran autonomously.

Once CBS had acquired Fender in January of 1965 they built a huge brand new factory adjacent to the original Fender factory buildings at Fullerton, California. It was completed in 1966. Don Randall became a Senior Vice President in charge of Fender, and Forrest White became Vice President and General Manager. Leo Fender’s ‘right hand man’ in the factory lab was Freddie Tavares and became the head of Quality Control. As far as I know all the factory workers also kept their jobs.

CBS moved the V.C. Squier factory to a new larger 35,000 square-foot factory on 35 Edison St. in 1972 and continued to operate until CBS announced on May 19, 1981 it would shut down the Battle Creek factory on July 2, 1981. 107 employees were affected.


F.M.I.C. bought themselves back from CBS in 1985, and would build a new plant in Corona, California and a string factory in Chula Vista.

Sometime in 1987 FMIC began trucking strings down to Ensenada, Mexico for packaging in an old rented church by a small group of women. Esther Marron was one of those women and is known as “Fender Mexico Employee #1”.


Fender built its first factory in Ensenada in 1987 which burned to the ground in 1994. Fender rebuilt bigger and better and now has a massive complex of eight buildings. Fender string production was relocated there sometime after and I am unsure of the date. FMIC inexplicably shut down string production and instead contracted American string winders to produce their strings. I have read a date of 2010, but have no hard evidence. I continue to see threads posted from 2010 about the change in Fender Strings, so 2010 looks to be a 'hard date'.


We do know that D’Addario is producing Fender’s bass strings to Fender’s specifications, and that they are not simply repackaged D’Addario product.


*A lot of this information was drawn from various posts made by brotherdave on the Fender Forums, so we thank him for sharing his vast encyclopedic knowledge of all things Fender. *

* BIG thanks to Anne at the Willard Library in Battle Creek for all her efforts and research on my behalf, and also Mike McCullough of the Battle Creek Enquirer. *

* Many thanks to Jon Moody of GHS for all his insight and ongoing efforts to help me track down historically accurate information. *


Last edited by linnin on Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:04 pm
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I've made some revisions as further research has revealed some new facts.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:47 pm
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This thread is important enough to bump up.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:44 pm
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Good to see your post linnin 8)

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:16 am
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Since Fender no longer makes their own strings I am unclear why this would be relevant now but it is good to see linen post.

I used to use Fender 150s almost exclusively on all my guitars regardless of make but when it became apparent that D'Addario was making them (the tell-tale coloured ball ends) I stopped. I have my own reasons which others might disagree with but it's my choice, not theirs, whose stings I buy.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:48 am
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Solid Body Love Songs wrote:
Good to see your post linnin 8)

Thank You SBLS. I don't post often as there is almost no action down on the bass sub-forums.

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:51 am
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BMW-KTM wrote:
Since Fender no longer makes their own strings I am unclear why this would be relevant now but it is good to see linen post.


It doesn't matter. Nothing I say; do, or post matters, but I am glad when I make others happy. :)

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Post subject: Re: History of Fender Brand Strings
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:25 pm
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linnin wrote:
It doesn't matter. Nothing I say; do, or post matters

Okay, I think we all know that's not true.

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