We rarely see acquisition stories in the guitar world but, when we do, they are always interesting. Therefore the news announced today that Fender acquires Bigsby was met with a certain degree of excitement. The deal agreed between Fender and Fred Gretsch Enterprises, for an undisclosed sum, sees Bigsby reunited with its former owner Gretsch.
Fender Acquires Bigsby – Why?
Paul A Bigsby a pioneer in the early development of solid body electric guitars is perhaps better known for the eponymous vibrato unit that he designed and which adorns some of the best guitars in the world. Bigsby is therefore a name that has a long and rich heritage in guitars and so could be seen as a positive addition to the Fender portfolio.
Not much has been disclosed about what Fender plan to do with Bigsby. However, they have indicated that it will be run as a standalone business under its Speciality Brands division.
Jeff Cary, Senior Vice President of Fender Specialty Brands has said of the deal “We are excited to acquire Bigsby and add to our esteemed portfolio of specialty brands,” He added “There is such a rich history with the vibratos, and a mystique around the guitars, pedals and steel instruments that is fascinating”.
The move sees Bigsby return home to the Gretsch fold the company that owned the Bigsby name between 1999 and 2002 when Gretsch itself was purchased by Fender.
We will wait to see how this deal pans out but Fender have a good reputation for taking famous brands and adding value. Consider their acquisition of Gretsch, Charvel and Jackson as a good pedigree.
However, one thing that we think most of the guitar playing community is waiting for, with bated breath, is the appearance of a Strat equipped with a Bigsby vibrato.