Fender Musical Instruments
My very first electric guitar was a very used Duo-Sonic. I had a tweed Deluxe amp. I worked my way up to a Statocaster and a Dual Showman. Then down or sideways to an Esquire and Tremolux. It seemed reasonable to me that when I started a music store I should sell Fender products. I believed that they made great products that were under appreciated and all I had to do was hang them on my walls and people would be flocking in to buy them. I wrote to Fender and told them so. Fender decided to check me out by sending Larry Moudy to visit.
Larry was the first professional sales manager I ever met. He spent hours talking with me about guitars and the music business, which I really knew nothing about. If I knew anything, I never would have approached a company like Fender, but Larry was far too polite to point that out to me. At the end of our visit Larry shook my hand and explained that it was not likely that I could ever become a Fender dealer. I was very disappointed. However, a few months later Larry returned and he kept on returning regularly for over a year. I learned so much from him. One day I asked him why he kept coming to see me if it didn’t look like I could ever become a dealer and he explained that it was his job, and he liked to talk about guitars.
One day when I knew Larry was scheduled to visit I took out a loan from my local bank and presented him with a Bank Check made out to Fender for $10,000. I suggested that Fender could deposit it and could then send me some guitars and amps. Larry seemed genuinely surprised and pleased, but politely declined my offer. I discovered that it didn’t cost much to borrow $10,000 for a day and that proved to be a good investment because the next time Larry stopped by he had a really big smile and told me that I was a genuine Fender Dealer! Soon I was surrounded with great Fender gear. I had mixed feelings when Larry was promoted by Fender and George Blodgett replaced him.
George is one of the most remarkable people I ever met. He was exceedingly generous with his time and very patient with me. He helped my refine my guitar set up and repair skills. His visits always lasted several hours. He taught me how to repair Rhodes pianos. It was during that period that I became a certified Fender Guitar, Amplifier and Rhodes Piano Technician. To me that remains a great honor and could never have happened without George’s time, energy, support and friendship. Oh yes, and patience! I used to think I knew a lot more then, than I think I know now if that makes any sense? One of the finest gifts George ever gave me was a private in-store concert of him playing one of Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos. He is one serious player…and piano is not his primary instrument! It was a truly moving experience and one I never will forget.
George worked with me for many years and I was sorry when he retired. For the last five years I have been working with Tony Rerrick. Tony is great! In the days of the big box stores and chain stores Tony has always given me sound advise and has great listening skills. He really understands what Friendly River is all about (or rather trying to be about) and has encouraged me to follow my passion stick with quality California made products. Once when we were talking about dealer incentive programs, I told him I would like to earn a cool Fender District Sales Manager leather brief case like his. I was only half serious. Tony simply gave me one, no strings (no pun), no stuff to buy. He just gave it to me. That is the kind of person Tony is.
I have visited the factory in California twice and their headquarters in Arizona. They are all really great folks who love music and by the way, make some of the finest instruments on the planet.