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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

ALL ABOUT… DOC KAUFFMAN

Leo Fender’s decision to get into the guitar-manufacturing business was perhaps surpising given that he didn’t play the instrument himself… but he knew a man who did. Without Doc Kauffmann, Fender guitars and amps might never have existed. Huw Price investigates…

Like Leo Fender, Clayton Orr ‘Doc’ Kauffmann came from a farming family. Doc moved to California from Pratt County, Kansas in 1920 – he’d studied violin and could play guitar and saxophone, so he landed a job providing musical accompaniment for silent movies. After returning to Kansas and getting married, Doc was back in California by 1922 and working as an instrument repairer and piano tuner.

Although guys who tinkered around inventing stuff were often called ‘Doc’, that’s not how Doc Kauffman got his nickname. One day he arrived at the wrong address and was ushered into a room where a woman was having a baby. Seeing the black bag he carried for his piano-tuning equipment, the family had assumed he was a doctor. When his colleagues found out, they started calling him Doc and it stuck.

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