‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


The name G&L creates a direct link with George Fullerton and Leo Fender. But this leaves a giant behind this company completely out of the spotlight. That giant would be Dale Hyatt, Leo’s partner in G&L Music Sales, Inc. until Leo’s passing and whose retirement on November 4, 1991, delineates the 2 major epochs in the history of G&L. Initially, being Vice-President of Marketing and Sales, Dale was responsible for setting up a sales distribution network. In an arrangement beneficial for tax purposes, G&L Music Sales bought instruments from G&L Musical Products after they had been inspected and accepted. Dale therefore meticulously kept a log and made sure the production logs at the factory were in sync with what was actually delivered. Dale’s sales log has a mythological status among G&L collectors and aficionados because it is “the book of truth” as far as any and all pre-BBE instruments are concerned. If it does not appear exactly as described, it either never existed in that period or has undergone sizable modifications after the fact. After Leo bought out George’s stake in 1985, again for tax purposes, George took on more the role of consultant in design and tooling whereas Dale took on the additional task of being the General Manager of G&L Products, with assistance of Lloyd Chewning who ran the actual shop floor. A good example of his display of great knowledge of the production process is provided in the factory tour he gave the members of Band of Susans in 1989.

Not only did the man know how to build and sell instruments, he knew how to design them too. With Leo, George, and Lloyd he designed the futuristic X-body Interceptor. Additionally, all desires and suggestions of G&L dealers would be funneled up to him and there seemed to be a common theme: When would G&L come with more “traditional” instruments, those that consumers would associated with Leo Fender designs? So Dale and Lloyd came up with the Broadcaster model, later renamed to ASAT. He had a hand in the development of the Comanche VI with Steve Reed and the prototype of the Comanche V was kept in his office for the longest time. And of course he was the force behind the Signature series starting with 'The Rembrandt’. Much of this history is provided in the “The Story of G&L” pamphlet Date wrote with his brother Harold, who worked at G&L at the time, shortly after Leo passed away as well as in Gabe Dellevigne eloquent obituary published after Dale’s death.

Dale kept quite a few instruments for himself. Two Interceptors with S/N G000002 and G00003 stayed with him for a long time. His collection at some point included 10 Broadcasters in all ways ever produced, many having very low serial numbers including his personal BC00002. He kept an early ash ASAT Classic with Bird’s Eye maple neck (S/N G028546), one of the 3 ‘Buck Owens’ ASATs, the prototype of the Commemorative series, which funnily enough has an error in the decal in stating 1910 as Leo’s year of birth (S/N G029677), as well as the Lacewood Commemorative #1 of course. On the low-ender side of things, his collection included the ASAT Bass prototype, which actually has SB-2/Lynx style pickups instead of the L-series variety, as well as the ‘Z-5000’, a prototype of a 5-string bass with Z-coil pickups which was one of the last instruments tested by Leo. In all 10 G&Ls in his estate, including the aforementioned sales log, were bought by Mike Teepe of Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO, before 4 of them moved over here.

I always have thought it a shame that somebody who had been so instrumental to the success of many of Leo’s endeavors never had been honored with a Signature model himself. May this small collection be a suitable homage to this man.


The Dale Hyatt Collection