Keen-of-mind inventor and innovator Clarence Leonidas Fender, more commonly known as Leo Fender, was born on August 10th, 1909 in sunny Southern California. Raised by the owners of a lucrative orange grove, Leo dabbled with electronics at an early age showing insight and promise. By the ripe old age of 13 years he had developed a passion for working with radios and soon thereafter established a radio repair shop out of his parent's home. Later, while in the process of studying to earn a degree in accounting Leo Fender continued to educate himself in the area of electronics although never participating in any formal education in the field.
Years later after suffering the economic blows of the depression era and losing several jobs, Leo Fender started his own radio repair shop by the name of "Fender Radio Service" and was later contracted to build a number of PA systems for local musicians and band leaders. He later opted to join up with a man by the name of Clayton (Doc) Kauffman who was an inventor himself as well as a lap steel guitar player. Kauffman, while working with Rickenbacker, had invented the "Vibrola tailpiece" or what eventually came to be known as the vibrato or tremolo. Fender and Kauffman eventually united to form a new company by the name of K and F Manufacturing Corporation and they set out together to build amplified Hawaiian guitars and amplifiers. Many years later and after the design and production of many now-famous instruments including the Telecaster and the Precision bass, Leo Fender sold his beloved company to CBS for $13 million dollars. And although he passed away in 1991 and never learned to play the guitar himself, Leo Fender has left a lasting impression upon the music industry the likes of which will never be forgotten.
The Fender CD 140 features a solid cutaway Spruce top with tortoise shell pick guard and laminated Mahogany back and sides. The fingerboard and bridge are both composed of Rosewood and include a compensated saddle. A multi-ringed rosette embraces the sound hole and graces the top of the instrument beautifully. The neck of the guitar is made of Nato wood and contains 20 frets, all of which are accessible via the cutaway top. The neck is also fully adjustable via a duel-action truss rod making necessary modifications quick and easy for a qualified guitar technician. This model also features scalloped X-bracing which contributes to the overall strength of the guitar and allows the top to vibrate more freely for sound and volume improvement.
The body of the CD 140 falls under the classification of the dreadnought body style and measures 25.3 (scale length), 3.94" deep and 1.69" wide at the nut. The particular model I played is finished in a handsome black gloss finish and adorned with chrome die-cast machine heads on the head stock. This model also includes a Fishman Presys pickup system with an on-board preamp, including bass, mid and treble adjustments as well as a convenient tuner.
The CD 140 SCE is currently available for anywhere between $289 and $429 depending on where you make your final purchase. Many local music stores are motivated to cutting fantastic deals in lieu of the current economic climate and may be a more prudent avenue for guitar purchases, compared to shopping directly through Fender. But the regardless of the price you pay for this guitar, between the solid top, Rosewood components, and all of the bells and whistles that Fender includes in the package price, you really can't go wrong with the CD 140 SCE.
As usual, Fender has come through with a winner. The guitar has clean crisp sound with good balance between treble, mid and bass but weighing heavier in the treble region. The Spruce top tends to produce clean treble tones and this most assuredly explains the distinctive sound. The guitar was comfortable and easy to play and had fantastic action all the way up the neck. In general, the CD 140 SCE felt solid from the moment I picked it up and had great resonation, especially for a guitar in this price range. This guitar also played well unplugged as well as plugged-in, and outplayed most guitars in the same (or even higher) price bracket in terms of sound quality and resonation.