About G&L Guitars
G&L is dedicated to preserving the rich history of Leo Fender by creating truly special instruments you will cherish. While technology and manufacturing techniques have changed since Leo's passing in March 1991, they still handcraft each individual guitar and bass because they believe every G&L instrument personifies the essence of its founder. Since 1980, G&L has been continuously providing musicians of all tastes and playing styles with exceptionally-crafted guitars and basses. And whether you're a metal-shredder or an instrumental-surf plucker, you'll have no problem finding a perfect axe from their extensive catalog of options. From their quick playability to their solid tone, G&L's extensive lineup of guitars and basses are the result of dedicated craftsmen who put a great amount of pride into everything they construct. In fact, many top-recording artists hold the G&L name in high regard, including Andrew W.K., Chris Joanneau of Silverchair, and Mark Mendoza of Twisted Sister.
A Legend Reborn
When Leo Fender sold his original company in 1965, he was suffering what he thought was a fatal illness. When he recovered, he wanted to continue designing and building guitars and basses, but, due to a non-compete agreement, couldn’t do so. That didn’t stop him from working on designs, and he founded CLF (for Clarence Leo Fender, his full name) Research. Under this umbrella, he worked on refinements to his original designs, continuing his history of innovation.
As soon as that non-compete agreement expired, CLF Research designed amps and instruments for the original Music Man company. Music Man produced some of the first tube/solid-state hybrid amps and a number of new guitars and basses. Many of these instruments had active preamps and EQ, which had been designed by Leo. When G&L (for George and Leo, after the two principal founders) was formed, Leo Fender’s agile brain moved into even higher gear. He took the ideas he’d been sketching out on his ever-present notepad and began to turn them into new instruments.
With 30+ patents to his name, Leo Fender was a prodigious inventor, and for G&L he developed and put into production a number of new innovations, as well as refinements of several of his previous designs.
Magnetic Field Design Pickups
G&L’s Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups were one of the designs of which Leo Fender was most proud. Less susceptible to interference, even in single-coil versions, they have approximately double the output per wind as traditional, fixed-pole-Itpiece alnico pickups. MFDs are warmer, with a wider bandwidth and greater adjustability. Leo ended up developing multiple versions in single-, double- and split-coil that are spread across G&L guitars and basses (US Patent 4,220,068).
G&L’s Saddle-Lock bridge system was designed by Leo to deliver greater sustain and harmonic content. The bridge adds mass for improved transmission of vibration to the body, and locks the saddles to that mass, which also improves sustain (US Patent 4, 281, 576).
PTB Tone Circuit
Standard on many G&L Guitars, this Leo Fender design is a passive treble/bass control, with one knob a treble cut, and the other a bass cut. Though it may seem a little strange at first encounter, it turns out that Leo, as always, knew exactly what he was doing. The added tonal flexibility is amazing. The bass roll-off is especially useful when using more distorted tones, and it becomes a sort of “de-mud” control, enabling clearer articulation of overdriving sounds.
Dual Fulcrum Tremolo
While there have been a number of other dual-fulcrum tremolo bridges developed, Leo Fender’s floating design, which debuted on Music Man guitars of the ’70s and was further refined for G&L, was one of the first. With massive brass inserts, large milled rolled-steel bolts and a steel plate, it offers excellent sustain. The smooth and easy control of the bar is ideal for everything from easy flutters to full-on dive bombs and horse whinnies.
Leo Fender, The Man
We can’t leave this without a couple of words about the man behind the guitars. Despite never learning to play, Leo Fender devoted his life to making life better for musicians. It could be easily held that modern music simply wouldn’t have happened without his innovations and commitment to helping musicians find the voice that was in their heads. If you want to learn more about who he was, we recommend Phyllis Fender’s book, Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World.