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G&L Guitars
Handcrafted Guitars for Discriminating Musicians

   Fullerton, California, USA. Just those three words conjure up for me a strong image of the carefree 1950s and '60s, when world-class guitars were being built in Leo Fender's factory out among the orange groves on Raymond Avenue in what was then little more than a sleepy Orange County town. But what a lasting effect these instruments have had upon our music, and even our culture!

   Astonishingly, in what must be viewed as some sort of cosmic balancing act, Leo once again began building guitars in Fullerton in 1980, this time on a street called, rightly enough, Fender Avenue. The guitars didn't bear Leo's name — that had been sold to CBS in 1965 for $13 million,

A G&L Legacy Special: Classic style updated for the '90s!
A G&L Legacy Special: Classic style updated for the '90s!

just slightly more than the company had paid for the New York Yankees! Instead, these new instruments carried the G&L brand, derived from combining the first letters of George (Fullerton — imagine that coincidence!) and Leo (Fender). Despite the name, these new guitars were clearly Leo's babies.

   Now I know there are people who will argue that the old classic instruments are the best ever, and nothing I can say will convince them otherwise. Still, when you pick up a guitar made today in Fullerton, California, you can't help but feel the history. The G & L factory in the town where these kinds of instruments were first conceived seems like a throwback to a simpler, more romantic age. Here Californians with immense dedication and great skill slowly and pains-takingly build G&L guitars. There are no computer driven robots popping out instruments with microscopic precision but no soul. Instead, these guitars epitomize the authenticity and integrity of classic design. What's more, they also incorporate many improvements Leo made to the instruments before his death in 1991.

   Just as an example, there are the G&L Magnetic Field Pickups, designed by Leo to put out a substantially stronger signal, allowing amplifier gain controls to be set lower for reduced system noise. Mr. Fender also perfected the technique of cutting each neck in half lengthwise to install the truss rod, called Bi-Cut Neck Construction. This procedure improves truss rod integrity while eliminating unwanted stress and weak points in the grain structure of the maple. There's also the P.T.B. (Passive Treble and Bass) Tone Controls which are dramatically more effective than a standard tone controls, since treble and bass frequencies can be separately cut, rather than rolled off only on the high end which sometimes leads to a muddy sound. Finally there's the Dual Fulcrum Vibrato System, a simple, elegant design with a silky, smooth feel both up and down. The tuning is exceptional and string breakage is almost unheard of.

   Unlike Leo's earlier guitars, every new G&L instrument is covered by a 10 year limited warranty to the original owner, a clear sign that the company feels these are instruments built to last. Don't believe me? Check out just a few comments G&L owners included when returning their warranty cards:

   "The G&L smoked a $5,000 (name brand). How's that for American craftsmanship? I personally tried out 15 other basses, some costing three times as much, and kept coming back to the G&L."

   "This is my third G&L instrument: ASAT Classic, Legacy, and now an L2000. I feel that your attention to quality and flawless finishing contribute to the desire to purchase future instruments."

   "Quality, style, performance and ease of playing… this instrument is truly remarkable. Please keep the quality coming. The difference for me was the passive bass and treble controls, vibrato, pickups and 10-year warranty. Besides, the Legacy is a Leo Fender creation."

   These people don't write ad copy, they play guitar and bass. Still, it's obvious from this small sampling that something special is happening again down there in that Southern California town. From country to the new surf music to the hardest of hard rock, G&L instruments are worth a serious look from any guitar or bass player looking to buy a handcrafted instrument with all the features and sound of a classic, but at a price that's actually surprisingly affordable.

   Call us and find out more about these true modern classics!

— F. Perry

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