Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VC_FenderVisitorsCenter_Supplied_IMG_0829_RT_1280x640
Courtesy of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes
The company synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll offers a full music experience at the Fender Visitor Center in Corona.

Even the most casual music fan knows the name behind rock ‘n’ roll’s most iconic electric guitars: Fender. The Stratocaster king has been outfitting top rock musicians since 1946, and the company continues to manufacture products at its factory in Corona, California. Whether you’re a music aficionado or simply someone who loves to see how things are made, the Fender Visitor Center, opened in 2011, gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at what makes its guitars so special.

For a $10 entrance fee (free for kids 12 and under), you’ll get to experience Fender up close and personal. Here’s what to look forward to during your visit.

See how a guitar is made—in real time

Fender offers a 60-minute tour of its factory, where you can see how wood blocks are transformed into finished masterpieces. There are upwards of 300 employees who work out of Corona, and you’ll be blown away by the craftsmanship that goes into each instrument. A special exhibit through the summer of 2016 highlights the talent of Fender’s eight master builders, who show off their chops with a crazy, hand-built custom guitar on display.

Ogle the world’s most expensive guitar

The Visitor Center acts as an art museum for over-the-top customized axes, like the exquisite $1 million Pine Cone Stratocaster created by master builder Yuriy Shishkov. He designed the guitar to mimic a Fabergé Easter egg, complete with 550 hand-embedded diamonds and an 18-karat gold fingerboard. Although it can function as an instrument (a Fender requirement for custom jobs), it operates best as a work of art.

Pick a guitar off the wall. Play it.

Catering to musicians who are contemplating their next purchase, Fender allows visitors to try out its instruments and amplifiers in a jam room. “We have a good selection of all the products we make, and it’s one of the only places where you can buy Fender direct from the company in a music-store type of interaction,” says Dave Brown, who manages the Visitor Center.

Browse through music history

History buffs will appreciate the Hall of Fame section of the museum and the video theater rolling the story of Fender’s path to success. “If you’re a fan of music, the Visitor Center is a cool place to see where songs originated,” Brown says. “There’s a banner across the inside with song titles—all those songs are recorded using Fender instruments, from ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones to songs by the Beach Boys to U2.” There’s a range of guitars donated by famous musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Holly, and you’ll even see a model that was destroyed onstage by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

Create your own custom machine

If you’ve ever dreamed of customizing your own guitar, here’s your chance. You can choose everything from the body shape to a specific fret board in Fender’s custom shop, known as the Dream Factory. (You can even get a one-of-a-kind paint finish seen nowhere else on the production line!) Within 90 days, you’ll receive the finished product at your door.

 

 

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes InlandEmpire_biking_1280x642_sized

Southern California

Discover the Inland Empire

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes vca_maps_inlandempire
16
April
Average (°C)
Mar - May
26°
High
6°
Low
June - Aug
34°
High
12°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
20°
High
3°
Low

With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

SPECIAL FEATURE
There are tons of reasons why you might plan a winter trip to Big Bear. Here are some you might not have thought of

With plenty of groomed runs and terrain parks at Big Bear Lake’s two alpine resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, it’s easy to see why skiers and boarders head here when the snow flies. But this...

Big Bear Lake in Winter
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VC_BigBearLakeWinter_Breaker_BaldEagles_Stock_RF_463243131_1280x640
The bald eagle, America’s national bird, flies south from Alaska and Canada to spend winter in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T2-IE_TemeculaValley_KG_1280x642
Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is home to Club Mud, California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_SI_T5_John_preview_686x885
John/ Flickr
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T2-IE_TemeculaValley_KG_1280x642
Temecula Valley is known for its variety, growing and producing over 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay.
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VC_HiddenGems_BigBearLake_VCA_STILLS_BIGBEAR_01_1280x640_0
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resort

Big Bear Lake

Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. Set at 6,759-feet/2,060-meters, Big Bear Lake is...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T3_DE_Route66_Mural_Lauridsen-sized_1
Dave Lauridsen

Route 66

Get your kicks on America’s legendary highway

Back in its glory days, Route 66 began in Chicago and ended along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, a 2,451-mile journey through farmlands,...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes autoclub_speedway_1280x642
Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway

Auto Club Speedway

Rev up for racing action at this classic track

Whether you’re into NASCAR, INDYCAR, or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed...

March

Get into the checkered-flag spirit at this big and loud NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Cheer for your favourite drivers as they zoom for the front in this 5-wide race event. The action kicks off...

NASCAR's Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California
Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes vca_maps_inlandempire
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T10_DE_Route66_Barstow_Lauridsen1280x642

Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes SantaMonica_BikePath_JoakimLloydRaboff_1280x642_0

Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_DE_T5_Anza-Borrego_Manley-1280x642

On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes TemeculaHotAirBalloon_1280x642
The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people attended, as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza.
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T5_shopping_Manley-sized
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Inland Empire Outlets

Find bargains on brand names at major outlet centers

The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to save on Gucci, Versace, and other big-name brands

With bucket-list magnets like Rodeo Drive and Union Square, California has undeniable star power when it comes to shopping. But all those fashion finds and gifts for everyone back home don’t have...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_SI_OutletMalls_RobertSheie_preview_686x885
Robert Sheie/Flickr
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T7_SanBernardinoMuseum_Stevens_1280x642
Brian Stevens

San Bernardino Museums

Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums

Two local museums let you experience everything from the natural side of the Inland Empire to the treasures of ancient Egypt.

The San...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T8-IE_IdyllAwhileBistro_Stevens-sized
Brian Stevens

Idyllwild

Nature and the arts find a perfect balance in this quaint mountain hamlet

Backed by mountain wilderness and filled with galleries, Idyllwild is a haven for both outdoor recreation and the arts.

Steep forested...

Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes FF_Hero_IE_BigBear_ChinaIsland_Stevens
San Bernardino National Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States.
Fender Guitars: Behind the Scenes VCW_D_IE_T9-IE_Arrowhead_Farnum-sized_2
Alex Farnum

Lake Arrowhead

Escape to an exclusive mountain haven

The drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead is a quick one—just 23 miles/37 km. But as you twist and climb from the busy valley and into the...

SPECIAL FEATURE
There are tons of reasons why you might plan a winter trip to Big Bear. Here are some you might not have thought of

With plenty of groomed runs and terrain parks at Big Bear Lake’s two alpine resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, it’s easy to see why skiers and boarders head here when the snow flies. But this...

Big Bear Lake in Winter
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts