- acoustic guitars
- bass guitars
- electric guitars
Leon Cox conceived and built the first Traveler Guitar in his garage workshop in Redlands, California in October of 1992. He used tuning machines from an old acoustic guitar, spare conduit left over from a home improvement project, and wood salvaged from a discarded bar top. Cox, whose wife worked as a nurse, was inspired to install the diaphragm of a stethoscope in the body of his prototype to provide the player with a battery-free, private listening experience. During the next three years, more than three hundred of “The Traveler” guitars were produced, both in Cox’s garage and at an outside shop. Then, in the summer of 1995, Corey Oliver walked into Redlands Guitar Shop and was fascinated by the unique instruments and offered to take the entire inventory on a sales road trip. Cox agreed. So, Oliver and then-partner Carey Nordstrand (of Nordstrand Basses fame). When they returned two weeks later, they had sold them all.
Oliver and Nordstrand sat down with Leon Cox and structured a deal to take over Traveler Guitar. They moved the business to a local industrial space. In 1997, Carey Nordstrand left to pursue other ventures. By early 1998, demand for Traveler Guitars had exceeded the small company’s production capability. Fender approached Corey and offered to move Traveler Guitar’s manufacturing to Fender’s Corona facility. Oliver accepted. With his new manufacturing partner in place, Oliver turned his focus to sales and marketing, and the brand began to grow. By early 2001, demand had outgrown Traveler’s production allotment in Corona, and Oliver moved manufacturing again, this time to a larger factory overseas.