A term that refers to a Fender instrument or amplifier made prior to the purchase of the company by CBS. In early 1965, Leo Fender sold Fender and all of its subsidiary and sibling companies (such as Rogers drums, Squier, Rhodes) to Columbia Broadcasting System for $13 million.
CBS made a number of cosmetic and cost-cutting changes to the Fender products, some of which are regarded as positive and others that are seen as negatives. In 1985, the Fender employees, led by the late William Shultz (1911-2006) purchased the company back from CBS and changed the name to Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC).
For many guitar collectors, “pre-CBS” Fenders are the most desirable among vintage Fenders.