G&L Musical Instruments

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G&L Musical Instruments
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1979; 45 years ago (1979)
FounderLeo Fender and George Fullerton
Area served
Key people
David C. McLaren (Chairman)
Phyllis Fender (Honorary Chairperson)
John R. McLaren Jr. (Vice President)
ProductsElectric guitars, basses, effects units, BBE Sound Audio Technology Licensing
Revenue$18,768,358 (estimated)[1]
Number of employees
65 (estimated)[1]
ParentBBE Sound, Inc.

G&L is an American guitar manufacturing company founded by Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt in the late 1970s.[2] G&L produces electric guitars and basses with designs based on some classic Fender instruments. The company also produces effects units. G&L's most notable player is Jerry Cantrell, vocalist and guitarist of Alice in Chains, having played several models of the guitar since the '80s, Cantrell also has his own signature Tribute Series Rampage and Superhawk.[3][4] Cantrell can be seen playing a single-humbucker G&L Rampage in the music video for Alice in Chains' "Man In The Box".[4]


Leo 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 apart from Music Man. The G&L name comes from two founders' first names, George Fullerton and Leo Fender.[5]

G&L instruments are similar to the classic Fenders, but with some Leo Fender 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 that are not 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.[6] George Fullerton remained a permanent consultant until his death on July 4, 2009,[7] and Leo's wife Phyllis remained as Honorary Chairperson of G&L until her death in July 2020.[8]

In a print advertisement for G&L, Leo Fender claimed the G&L line of instruments were "the best instruments I have ever made."[9]


Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato

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" [10] (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" [11] 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" [11] 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" [12] 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" [13] 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.


Legacy guitar
L2000 bass
1992 G&L Legacy

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 USA hardware, and electronics in many of the guitars. Some non-original parts were also used on value-based models, such as those sold exclusively through Guitar Center. 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.[citation needed]

Before 2003, Tribute guitars were briefly produced in Japan for non-US markets, shifting to South Korea.[citation needed]

The Tribute series is offered in many of the same body shapes as their original creations although some use hardware and pickups designed by G&L but sourced in Asia. 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.

As of 2020, the Tribute line contains many of the standard guitars from G&L including the Commanche, S-500, Legacy, various ASAT models, Doheny and others.[14]

Notable users[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Fullerton, George (1993). Guitar Legends, The evolution of the Guitar from Fender to G&L. Fullerton: CENTERSTREAM Publishing. ISBN 0-931759-69-2.
  • Fullerton, George (2005). George & Leo, How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. ISBN 0-634-06922-5.
  • Smith, Richard R. (2003–2009). Fender, The Sound Heard 'Round The World. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-4234-6279-8.


  1. ^ a b "G & L Music Sales Inc". Manta.com. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Fullerton 1993, p. 97-98.
  3. ^ "Rampage Jerry Cantrell Signature®". glguitars.com. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Kirkland, Eric (May 24, 2014). "Review: G&L Tribute Series Jerry Cantrell Signature Superhawk Guitar". Guitar World. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  5. ^ Fullerton 2005, p. 53.
  6. ^ Fullerton 2005, p. 65.
  7. ^ Lewis, Randy (July 8, 2009). "George Fullerton dies at 86; musician helped Leo Fender create his unique guitars". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Bell, Randall (July 24, 2020). "Remembering Phyllis Fender". Fullerton Observer. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  9. ^ Fullerton 2005, p. 190.
  10. ^ Fullerton 2005, p. 151.
  11. ^ a b Fullerton 2005, p. 152.
  12. ^ "George Fullerton Guitar Icon (1923-2009)". Archived from the original on 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  13. ^ Fullerton 2005, p. 153.
  14. ^ "Tribute® Series Guitars". glguitars.com. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c "G&L Korina Collection". G&L Guitars. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Las guitarras de Gustavo Cerati on Ibero909
  17. ^ "Dear Guitar Hero: Jerry Cantrell". Guitar World. June 13, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Jerry Cantrell "Blue Dress" Rampage". G&L Musical Instruments. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "Artists". G&L Musical Instruments. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Gluckin, Tzvi (September 13, 2016). "Robot Killers: Screaming Females' Marissa Paternoster and "King" Mike Abbate". Premier Guitar. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  21. ^ Bean, Perry (February 18, 2015). "Rig Rundown: Umphrey's McGee [2015]". Premier Guitar. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  22. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Images.equipboard.com. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  23. ^ Lewis, Randy (1986-06-27). "POP BEAT : AGENT ORANGE LEARNS TO TAKE CARE OF ITSELF". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-06-20.

External links[edit]