TrueTone Music: True to Fender Tone

Exterior night shot shows just how "Fender-y" TrueTone truly is. Note the Club Fender sign at top.

You won’t find anyone in Southern California truer to Fender tone than TrueTone Music, a prime Santa Monica Fender hotspot.

Founded by owners Ken Daniels and Paul Flynn, TrueTone has become many things to many customers—home of a vast and varied Fender amp and instrument selection, site of the brand-new Club Fender showroom, one of the few select new Fender Pro Amp Centers, a Fender Custom Shop Showcase dealer, not to mention one of the nation’s most highly regarded repair shops.

TrueTone is a premier destination for new, used and vintage instruments, amps and effects, manned by a highly knowledgeable sales staff with more than a century of combined experience. It has been named as the “best guitar store” in Los Angeles by Los Angeles magazine and Good Day L.A., and it has made film and television appearances including Californication, Last Call with Carson Daly and more.

At its prime location mere blocks from the beach, on Santa Monica Blvd. west of Lincoln Blvd., TrueTone is indeed a veritable Fender treasure trove. Although it specializes in the high-end stuff, everything is there—TrueTone carries the full Fender line from Squier on up to the Custom Shop, including just about every Fender amp available. A fine selection of Gretsch and Guild instruments can be found there, too. And is if all that isn’t enough, TrueTone offers a wealth of Fender clothing and collectibles that truly make it not only a place for Fender gear, but a veritable home of the Fender lifestyle.

A small section of TrueTone's wall-to-wall Fender selection.

Of particular note is the Club Fender showroom, which opened in October 2011 and boasts more than 2,000 square feet of Fender guitars, basses and amps showcased in all their glory amid a comfortable and modern atmosphere. The selection encompasses both the new and the vintage—for example, feel free to compare a new ’65 Deluxe Reverb to an original one from 1965. Or put a new Eric Clapton EC Series amp through its paces in the soundproofed amp room, which is decorated with classic Fender graphics by Bob Perine (the ad genius behind Fender’s famous “You won’t part with yours either” campaign of the 1950s and ’60s).

“Our vision was to make it feel as though Fender had designed the store itself,” Daniels said. “I think we’ve realized that vision, and our customers have validated that. The platform that this provides allows TrueTone to constantly evolve with Fender well into the future.”

The concept and appeal of Club Fender has deep roots in Daniels’ own lifelong love for the name and the instruments. In fact, to hear him tell it, it’s all very heartfelt and also quite simple.

Take your pick at TrueTone's Club Fender.

“All I ever wanted as a kid was a Telecaster,” he said, grinning. “Now we have an entire room full of them!”

TrueTone’s Custom Shop selection is outstanding in itself, with one of the widest arrays of vintage-correct Fender models in Southern California. A customer could easily spend an afternoon playing the “Which Stratocaster is the original and which one is the Custom Shop relic reissue?” game.

As you might suppose, pretty much everybody shops there. The more pertinent question, in fact, might be who doesn’t shop there? TrueTone’s higher-profile clientele includes noted artists such as Brad Paisley, Andy Summers, Beck, Ry Cooder, Billy Gibbons, Jackson Browne, Prince, Bob Rock, Jakob Dylan, Walter Becker, John Mayer, Flea and many others.

Above, TrueTone co-founder Ken Daniels with Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones (left) and guitar legend Ry Cooder (right).


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