3 years later Brownie was used to record “Leyla”. Even if you hate Rock and Roll you will have heard “Leyla.”
At the close of the 20th century “Brownie” was sold at auction by Christies in New York for $450,000. That is a lot of money for a guitar, particularly a rather old and beaten up guitar, even if it did have a bucket full of provenance.
What’s so special about the Stratocaster?
When most people hear the words “electric guitar” the first name that flashes through their minds is Fender Stratocaster. It is to rock and roll what Stradivarius is to classical music. Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend all played them.
Why did they all play the Stratocaster?
The guitar was developed Leo Fender after the Second World War. Leo wasn’t a guitarist, but he realised that the way to make a great guitar was to listen to guitarists and understand what they wanted.
- The Stratocaster has a curved body so it is comfortable to play and doesn’t dig into the musician’s ribs.
- The Stratocaster’s electric chord plugs into the front of the guitar, not the bottom so it is easy to connect to an amp.
- The Stratocaster has 6 tuning pegs in line on the head stock rather than three on the top and three on the bottom, making it easy to tune.
But Leo didn’t just focus on the needs of the guitarist; the Stratocaster also has a modular design so it is easy for people to repair. Given the efforts Leo went to, to design the world’s most user-friendly guitar, it is hardly surprising that it went on to become a huge commercial success and a rock and roll legend.
“My first wife said, ‘It’s either that guitar (Strat) or me’, you know – and I give you three guesses which one went” ~ Jeff Beck
What can Leo Fender teach you?
The Stratocaster works because Leo listened to his customers and repairers problems and then solved them. He made it easy for them.
Do you design your processes with the same focus, giving customers what they want and making things easy? If you don’t, what could you change?
About the Author
James Lawther gets upset by operations that don’t work and apoplectic about poor customer service. Visit his web site “The Squawk Point” to find out more about process improvement.
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