My guitar collection - G&L


The year 2020 marked G&L 40th (Ruby) Anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the company introduced several exclusive models at the Winter NAMM show in January of that year. Two models were not limited in production: a Fullerton Deluxe S-500 guitar and Fullerton Deluxe SB-1 bass. But there were also 2 models limited to only 40 pieces each: the Custom Shop 40th Anniversary L-2000 bass and the Custom Shop 40th Anniversary Espada. What they have in common is an okoumé body with a 3A quilted maple top, all finished in an exclusive Clear Ruby Red Thin Urethane, and a highly figured, roasted hard-rock maple neck with matching fingerboard. What they do not share is the same naming convention. Although the L-2000 has all the looks of the CLF Research version, that does not appear in its model designation. I guess because as far as the Espada is concerned, there is no other version available beyond the CLF Research Espada? At least not yet. Beyond the stunning exterior, it is the same CLF Research Espada under the covers as the one on the previous page: 2 split-coil Espada Magnetic Field Design pickups with a 3-position selector, PTB circuit, series/parallel switch for the 2 half-coils in each pickup, and another mini-toggle switch for the 3 preamp modes, all mounted on a saber shaped control panel. The radius of the fingerboard is 9½” and it otherwise has Jescar Medium Jumbo 57110 frets, 1¹¹⁄₁₆” wide bone nut, and Kluson tuning machines. For the workings of all the different switches, please consult the previous page and/or this link to the production CLF Research Espada model:


Custom Shop 40th Anniversary Espada

The story behind this guitar


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I have to make an announcement here: it is not expected many post-2020 G&L instruments will be added to this collection. Originally this guitar, completed 4/28/2020, was intended to be the youngest guitar were it not for 2 of interest released in the year following as unexpected and unplanned surprises: Sweetwater‘s ASAT Classic Custom Limited Edition, completed 10/13/2020, and this Custom Shop ASAT HSH RMC, completed 3/5/2021. But with a total now just north of 200, one needs to know ones limits. Most, if not all, of the story of Leo Fender’s last endeavor can be told with what is present in these pages. But what a gorgeous model to close 40 years of G&L history. After the 2020 Winter NAMM, I was eagerly awaiting any further info on this model but, unlike the Custom Shop 40th Anniversary L-2000, none appeared on the G&L company website. At least not before March 2020. This announcement of the Custom Shop 40th Anniversary Espada on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website was all to go on. As expected, even though it is a G&L Custom Shop model, the specs cannot be modified. So no option for e.g. a 12” fingerboard and/or Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato. No complaint here; this was also true for previous Limited Edition Anniversary models. Looking around where I could reserve and/or place an order for one of the 40 guitars, the only store providing preorders on their website was UpFront Guitars in Bellingham, MA, source of all 3 CS models in this collection. Gordon Swanson took care of this order and due to his attention to detail (yes, the guitar went back to the factory to replace a defective switch) the result looks amazing. Both me and my wife were stunned when the case was opened. She exclaimed it was the most beautiful guitar she had ever seen and definitely something different from what she had come to expect when an instrument comes in. Sonically, I seem to detect slightly more brightness compared to the CLF Research Espada. Maple top? Even unplugged there is a distinct liveliness to this instrument with a lot of audible resonance and sustain. All of that on top of the wide variety of available sonic options the electronics provide. Yum. One more interesting tidbit. Pictures of another 40th Anniversary Espada with S/N CS2020057 were posted to G&L’s Facebook page on New Year’s Eve and CS2020058, with gold hardware and built for GbL webmaster Craig Dewey, was only delivered in late-2021. Which evokes this question: how many were produced? With only 8 registered by the end of 2021, and 2 numbers missing in the sequence, clearly fewer than the intended 40. Given the pandemic raging that year, there might be a good reason for that.

The story behind this guitar


CS2020053 (one of 40)

none, marked ‘CS Espada 40th’, ‘362222-1’


D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)