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What Leo Fender Told Me About My Multi-Radius Creation

In 1981 as a 28 year old rookie I had the good fortune to chat with Leo Fender. At the time Leo was with G&L and I was with Dean Guitars. I asked him about Paul Bigsby and the first prototype guitar. He shrugged and shook his head with a smile. My question seemed to surprise him and bring up memories.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to speak with the world famous guitar builder, I mentioned that I had created a multi-radius fingerboard. I told him that I had been applying my invention to guitars for a few years which allows string bending without choking at a low action. I’m sure Leo was used to up and coming luthiers pitching him their ideas.

I told Leo that, “I’m thinking about publishing it vs applying for a patent.” He gave me a shrug and then quietly said, “not every patent turns into money. If your idea works you wouldn't be the first one who didn’t get paid in dollars for a contribution to guitar building.”

I was surprised and amazed at Leo’s direct answer. His words of wisdom guided my decision several years later to avoid a patent and make a contribution to the guitar building community by sharing my multi-radius invention. For those of you thinking, what’s Multi-radius? Today it’s known as Compound-radius and found on guitars throughout the world.