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


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


In the context of this guitar I have to make an announcement: it is not expected any post-2020 G&L instruments will be added to this collection. True, Sweetwater‘s ASAT Classic Custom Limited Edition, completed on 10/13/2020 and hence a couple of months younger than this guitar which was completed 4/28/2020, slipped in later as an unexpected and unplanned surprise. But with a total now just north of 200, one needs to know ones limits. And 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 announcements 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. So one had to make do with the announcement of the Custom Shop 40th Anniversary Espada on the Guitars by Leo website. Somewhat 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 since that is true for previous Limited Edition Anniversary models too. Looking around in February 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. Indeed, the same store which helped me so much with fixing all the small nits with the Custom Shop ASAT RMC P-90/HB, in no small part due to the hard work of Gordon Swanson. He took care of this order too 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 than 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, just 4 removed from this one, were posted to G&L’s Facebook page on New Year’s Eve 2020. Which evoked this question: how fast were they produced? Not fast it seems with only 7 or 8 built by the end of 2020, much less than the intended 40 for sure. Given the pandemic raging that year, we can all understand there might be good reasons 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)