I had a wonderful time last night at the Private Pre-Opening Celebration of the new Fender Visitor Center in Corona, California. Besides being shown around the extraordinary 8,600-square-foot Center, we were given a tour of the adjacent factory and Custom Shop, there was plenty of food and drink, Dave Mason, Raphael Saadiq, and Buddy Guy performed—and we had a chance to hang with all of the fine folks at Fender. The entrance to the Fender Visitor Center Celebration. It was a beautiful evening and food and drink were in abundant supply. Fender Senior VP of Global Marketing Richard McDonald gave an opening address. GP’s Art Thompson, MPN Group Publisher Joe Perry, and Fender Guitar AmpSenior Marketing Manager Shane Nicholas (left to right). The scene inside the Center.Note the song titles on the walls commemorating tunes played using Fender gear. Another wall of fame. The Jackson Guitars wall of fame. MPN Group Publisher Joe Perry, Gretsch Guitars Product Manager Joe Carducci,and MPN Director of Advertising Sales Albert Margolis (left to right). Seymour Duncan, Phyllis Fender, and Fender CEO Larry Thomas (left to right). This long wall of hanging necks in the Fender factory caught my eye. Dave Mason opened the show with a passionate and classy performance. Soul man Raphael Saadiq sounded like a blend of Smokey Robinson and Prince. He also played a mean rhythm guitar on some songs. Blues legend Buddy Guy closed the show.He was joined by his 12-year-old protégé Quinn Sullivan for part of his set.
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