G&L Musical Instruments
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|Founder(s)||Leo Fender and George Fullerton|
|Headquarters||Fullerton, California, United States of America|
|Key people||Chairman John C. McLaren
Honorary Chairman Phyllis Fender
Plant Manager John C. McLaren Jr.
|Parent||BBE Sound, Inc.|
G&L is a guitar design and production company founded by Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt in the late 1970s. Fender sold his eponymous company Fender in 1965. He designed and produced instruments for Music Man in the 1970s through his company CLF Research. When relations with Music Man soured, G&L was created to continue operations outside of Music Man. The G&L name comes from the initials of George Fullerton and Leo Fender.
G&L instruments are similar to the classic Fenders, but with some modern innovations. They are built at the same facility on Fender Avenue in Fullerton, California that produced the early Music Man instruments. G&L instruments are not widely distributed but are highly regarded by many musicians and collectors. The relatively small scale of production further allows for more custom options than are possible on larger production lines.
After the death of Leo Fender in 1991, Fender's wife, Phyllis Fender, passed the management of G&L to John C. McLaren of BBE Sound. George Fullerton remained a permanent consultant until his death on July 4, 2009, and Leo's wife Phyllis remains as Honorary Chairman of G&L.
Leo Fender and George Fullerton created improved designs over the years, with the most advanced being featured in G&L instruments.:
- The Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups use a ceramic bar magnet in combination with soft iron pole pieces with adjustable height, instead of the traditional Alnico magnet, and allow a player to set the pickup output per string, as opposed to the entire pickup as a whole in traditional single-coil pickup designs. MFDs are known for their distinctive tone, which combines clarity, high fidelity and power with an airy "sweetness".
- The Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato has two pivot points. The design aims to improve tuning stability, and according to some has a sound that is more mellow than a traditional bridge. It allows the player to bend notes up as well as down. See also Tremolo arm.
- The G&L Saddle-Lock bridge utilizes a small Allen screw on the side of the bridge, to reduce side-to-side movement of the individual string saddles. The design, and the bridge's beefy dimensions, aim to prevent loss of sustain due to this sideways motion by locking the saddles together.
- The Tilt Neck Mechanism designed and patented by George Fullerton. This feature is no longer used, and was a carryover from Music Man production.
- The Bi-cut neck design involved cutting the neck lengthwise perpendicular to where the fretboard is later installed, routing a channel for the truss rod, then gluing the two neck pieces back together. As G&L moved production to CNC machines, this method was phased out.
G&L produces several distinct models of guitar and bass products, including:
- ASAT Classic: Similar design to the Telecaster; offered as a solid-body instrument as well as a semi-hollow body instrument.
- Bluesboy: Based on the ASAT Classic, but with a Seth Lover humbucker pickup in the neck position and a modified MFD single coil at the bridge. Designed by Tim Page of Buffalo Bros. with the help of Seymour W. Duncan for the neck pickup and Tony Petrilla (of G&L) for wiring of the bridge pickup. First introduced as a special edition in 1999 in both solid body and semi-hollow versions. Became a standard model in 2001.
- ASAT Special: named G&L Broadcaster until 1985, when it was renamed ASAT. Sometime later the "Special" was added. Similar to the ASAT Classic but with two large "soap bar" MFD pickups and a Saddle-Lock bridge rather than the Telecaster-style bridge found on the Classic.
- ASAT Z-3: Similar to the ASAT Classic but with three "Z-Coil" pickups, additional pickup switching options and a Saddle-Lock bridge.
- Broadcaster The Broadcaster, which is the most well known and highly collectible G&L, was the brainchild of Dale Hyatt. Mr.Hyatt designed and marketed this highly sought after G&L in 1985 as a marketing strategy to increase sales and distribution. Mr. Fender signed a dated sticker that went inside the neck pocket to prove that the guitar was authentic and built by G & L. And as mistakenly reported on many websites, the G&L Broadcaster was highly successful not because of Leo Fender signing each guitar in the neck pocket, but rather because of the pure quality of the guitar itself. The name Broadcaster was changed to ASAT (After Stratocaster After Telecaster) after a production run of one year and 869 guitars. The change was due to a conflict over the use of the Broadcaster name.
- Comanche: Similar design to the Fender Stratocaster but utilizes MFD Z-coil pickups, a Dual Fulcrum vibrato bridge and additional pickup switch options (super-switch).
- F-100: The first guitar produced by G&L. Two small switches controlled a coil splitter and a phase switch (reversed the phase of one humbucker), allowing additional tone creation abilities.
- G-200: Designed by George Fullerton, this is the only G&L guitar to feature a 24-3/4" scale neck (as on most of Gibson's guitars). Features include two MFD humbuckers, a Saddle-Lock fixed bridge, a unique wiring/switching design by Leo Fender, an Ebony fingerboard and a mahogany body. Approximately 209 of these were made.
- George Fullerton Signature model: Based on the Legacy. The main differences are the vintage style neck with a late 50's soft "V" shape rear contour and a treble roll-off for the neck and bridge pickup that Mr. Fullerton had on his '54 Stratocaster.
- Invader: A "super strat" style design; the Invader typically has a humbucker in bridge position; the 2010 model features two dual blade pickups (one at neck and the other in the middle position); there is also a split coil function. Some use a Kahler bridge locking vibrato system with a locking nut; Floyd Rose (also with locking nut system) and the G&L dual fulcrum are also options. The Invader XL has two humbuckers.
- Legacy: Similar design to the Stratocaster with design considerations derived from older Stratocaster models from the 1950s and 1960s, but also newer features such as the G&L Dual Fulcrum vibrato.
- Rampage: Similar in design to the Stratocaster but with a more narrow waist and a more dramatic "tummy" relief. Rampages utilize a single humbucker designed by G&L and built by Schaller. The necks are Maple with an Ebony finger board. Most Rampages use Kahler tremolo systems. Production colors include white, black, yellow and Rampage Red. Played by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, who now has his own signature Rampage.
- S-500: Similar design to the Stratocaster and Legacy, but with MFD pickups and additional pickup switch options. A toggle switch enables the bridge pickup to be "always on" so you can have combinations of the neck and bridge pickup and all three pickups at once. Also includes G&L Dual Fulcrum vibrato. Offered with optional Seymour Duncan JB Jr humbucker in bridge position.
- Will Ray Signature Model: Based on the ASAT Z-3 with changes to suit Will Ray's style, including overwound pickups, a B-bender, a different neck profile, and skull-shaped fingerboard position marker inlays designed by Ray.
All G&L basses feature bolt-on necks and 34 inch scale lengths.
- ASAT Bass: Relatively small bass guitar with a Telecaster style body shape. Available in both solid-body and semi-hollow versions. Same electronics as the L-2000. Earlier models have slab bodies.
- JB-2 Bass: J style bass guitar with 2 vintage Alnico jazz style pickups. Swamp ash or alder body. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- JB Bass: Similar to Fender's original Jazz Bass design, featuring traditional pickguard, metal control plate and black bakelite knobs.
- L-1500: Active/passive bass with single large MFD humbucker in bridge position. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- L-1505: 5 string adaptation of the L-1500. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- L-2000: Dual large MFD humbuckers, 4 string bass. Both active and passive electronics, selected by a switch, along with pickup switching for a wide range of tones.
- L-2500: 5 string adaptation of the L-2000. Earlier versions have a 4+1 headstock configuration. Most are 3+2. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- SB-2 (second-style): Essentially a second-style SB-1 with an added MFD single coil pickup at the bridge and a second volume knob in place of the tone knob.
- Climax Bass: Active/passive bass with sculpted neck heel area. Single large MFD humbucker in bridge position. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- El Toro Bass: Two small MFD humbuckers.
- Interceptor Bass: Same as the El Toro but with a different body and headstock design.
- L-1000: Passive bass with one large MFD humbucker in front position. Discontinued after sale of G&L to BBE Sound. Since then, a limited run of about 40 L-1000 basses was completed in 2008, featuring the current "six bolt" neck attachment.
- L-5000: Five string bass with split MFD pickup. Leo Fender's last 5 string bass design (and only bass design with a low B) to see production.
- L-5500: Five string bass with EMG pickups. 4+1 headstock configuration. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- LB-100: Also known as the Legacy Bass. A Fender Precision Bass substitute model with alnico pickup. Introduced after G&L was sold to current owners (BBE).
- Lynx Bass: Very similar to the first-style SB-2, but with a contoured body.
- SB-1 (first-style): Single coil MFD pickup in front position. Slab body.
- SB-1 (second-style): Similar to the Precision Bass in form. The MFD split pickup has the same footprint as split Precision Bass pickups.
- SB-2 (first-style): Two single coil MFD pickups. Slab body.
In 2003, G&L introduced the Tribute series to the US market as a more affordable alternative to the USA built products. Tribute G&L's were made in Korea by Cort Guitars using mostly foreign-made hardware, though some original parts were also used on select models. The pickups used are all originally made by G&L in Fullerton, California. Production of the guitars has since moved to a Cort facility in Indonesia.
Before 2003, for a short time there was production of Tribute guitars in Japan for non-US markets. But when production in Japan became more expensive the production moved to Korea.
The Tribute series is offered in many of the same body shapes as their original creations. The Tribute SB-2 was offered briefly but was discontinued, however, it was reintroduced late 2006/early 2007. The JB-2 was introduced to the Tribute series at the same time.
- Tribute ASAT Classic
- Tribute ASAT Classic Lefty
- Tribute ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow
- Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow
- Tribute ASAT HB
- Tribute ASAT Deluxe
- Tribute ASAT Special
- Tribute ASAT Special Semi-Hollow
- Tribute ASAT Special Deluxe Carved Top
- Tribute Comanche
- Tribute Legacy
- Tribute Legacy Lefty
- Tribute Legacy HB
- Tribute Rampage Jerry Cantrell Signature Model
- Tribute S-500
- Tribute Will Ray Signature Model
- Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)
- Ben Gibbard
- Jerry Cantrell
- Gustavo Cerati
- Jake Cinninger
- Niclas Etelävuori (Amorphis)
- Peter Frampton
- Tom Gabel
- Carl Perkins
- Liam Wilson
- Jack Pearson
- Francis Rossi
- Glen Campbell
- Ryan Montbleau
- Marissa Paternoster
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