Carl Verheyen on Fender | March 1, 2010 I’ve been playing Fender Stratocasters pretty much every day since I got my first “real” one in 1985. In the '70s I played Gibson ES-335s and a Les Paul or two. In the early '80s I favored a few hot-rod Strats made by various local parts-assemblers and guitar techs. But when I found my 1961 Sea Foam Green Fender Strat back in '85, I knew I had found the instrument that would help me truly achieve the sound I wanted. In recognition of these last 25 years of Stratocaster flogging, Fender flew me out to Scottsdale, Arizona, yesterday to meet the crew, tour the offices and get a feel for what goes on out there. Growing up in Southern California, I knew exactly where it all went down in Fullerton when Leo, Freddy, Don, Forrest, Charlie and a few others were innovating, designing and changing musical history. But as I toured the building and read the various displays and Hall of Fame plaques at Fender headquarters in Scottsdale, I couldn’t help feeling the buzz and historic overtones. During the subsequent years since 1985, I’ve acquired so much Fender gear I’m embarrassed to put it in print. Although I’ve had a relationship with the company in the past, yesterday felt like a homecoming of sorts, a reconnection to my heart and soul of rock 'n' roll. When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was hook up a ‘63 blonde Fender tube reverb unit in front of my Fender Vibrotone (Leslie) cabinet and hit it hard with a brand new Tele through a Tremolux amp head turned up to 8. Now that’s a tone!