Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, the corporate entity behind Fender guitars, has bought the Bigsby brand from Fred Gretsch Enterprises. The Californian guitar maker yesterday issued a press release announcing the acquisition.
What does this mean? Probably not a whole lot, as Fender pretty much has Gretsch under its control anyway, having reached an agreement with Gretsch in 2002 to take over large parts of the company.
It brings the Bigsby guitar models under direct corporate control from the mandarins at Fender. Can we expect changes to the guitar line-up there? Nobody knows. It could just be a bit of a tweak to the corporate structure that has no effect on any product offerings at all.
It makes sense
Jeff Cary the Senior Vice President of Fender Specialty Brands said:
We are excited to acquire Bigsby and add to our esteemed portfolio of speciality brands … There is such a rich history with the vibratos and a mystique around the guitars, pedals and steel instruments that is fascinating.
Personally, I feel this move makes a lot of sense, as Fender already makes/owns Gretsch guitars and therefore it has a good idea of what works with that particular guitar range overall. Fender also does the ‘vintage thing’ really well. As we say with last year’s Parallel Universe release, they also like to experiment with guitars with vintage styling that never actually existed in the past. I can see them releasing some vintage vibe models loaded with Bigsby systems in the very near future.
Could it be a step on the way to Bigsby becoming exclusively available only to Fender and its brands? Unlikely. Bigsby bridges are used by many other guitar makers, probably a wee financial sideline. So we’d be very surprised if Fender is considering restricting those systems to its own instruments.