Rocking the World of Guitar Manufacturing with SOLIDWORKS Software.


Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

The Company

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation ("Fender") is a leading manufacturer of stringed instruments, including electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, as well as guitar amplifiers. Since the founding of its predecessor company in 1946 by "Leo" Fender, Fender has built a reputation for producing some of the world's best-sounding and best-playing electric guitars. Fender's Stratocaster® and Telecaster® guitar models have become rock-and-roll icons as the instruments of choice for such legendary guitarists as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour.

For much of its history, Fender produced guitars by hand, and the company continues to operate a Custom Shop, where artisans still handcraft custom-ordered guitars. As the company has grown, however, it has integrated design and manufacturing technologies into its traditional processes and methods to achieve greater consistency and efficiency, and to keep pace with a continuously expanding market. While the company used AutoCAD® 2D design tools for many years, the 2002 acquisition of the Jackson® guitar brand—created via the debut of the Jackson Rhoads guitar for former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads—brought more complex geometry challenges, according to Glenn Dominick, senior manufacturing engineer.

The Challenge

Take the design and manufacture of guitars from a handcrafted art to automated production while maintaining quality.

The Solution

Implement SOLIDWORKS 3D design software to automate design and production.

The Results

  • Cut production time by 20 percent across the board
  • Reduced time required to shape guitar necks by 30 percent
  • Eliminated many secondary operations
  • Increased production throughput with improved tooling

"SOLIDWORKS has enabled us to improve our secondary manufacturing processes with CNC machining."

Glen Dominick
Senior Manufacturing Engineer