‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


Starting New Years Day 1992, now under new ownership by BBE Sound, Inc., G&L dropped the Deluxe label on both the SB-1 and SB-2, both in 2nd-style version and now available with either maple or rosewood fingerboard, while the iconic G&L hook was added to their headstock. At the same time, production of the SC-3, SC-3 Deluxe, and Lynx ceased, all never to return. With the demise of the SC-3, this also meant G&L only carried ‘entry level’ basses over into the BBE-era. The SB-2 is the only ‘entry level’ model never having gone out of production since (see ads below). The SB-1 disappeared in 2000 before being reintroduced in 2009. After the SB-2 had been added to the 30th Anniversary Collection in late-2010, some of them built in the subsequent year allegedly had an additional master tone control beyond the 2 volume controls, a configuration referred to as the SB-2T. To make room for this extra pot on the SB-2T control panel, the output jack had to be moved to the side. In 2013, Blacksburg, VA based Rocket Music commissioned another series of SB-2T Special Build basses exclusively sold through their store. Although generally available as an option since 2015, the SB-2T became the sole SB-2 configuration listed on the February 2017 price list, making the “tone mod” de facto the default to the present day. However, the current G&L website still only shows the “traditional” SB-2 which can still be ordered as such upon request.

However, is that where the story ends for guitars? Fortunately not. In 2008, G&L surprised the music world with the reintroduction of the SC-2; a simple no-frills rocking machine with (contoured) alder or swamp ash Mustang-shaped body. And unlike the pre-BBE era SC-2, which always has had a maple fingerboard, the newer version could also be ordered with a rosewood board. Together with the BBE-era F-100, the SC-2 was put on hiatus again in January 2018, likely to reappear as guitars under the CLF Research moniker one of these days. All the while, the SC-1 was not forgotten either. Or more accurately, certain modifications of the SC-1 as made by mid-1980s noise band Band of Susans guitarist Robert Poss, as he explains in several ToneQuest Report (David Wilson, Ed.) articles from 2003 and 2009 as well as this 2009 guitarnerd.com interview. His concepts for a pickguard, doubling single-coils or using humbuckers would come back in the Fallout, introduced during the 2013 Winter NAMM and still available. How cool is that? That Mustang shaped body was also used on other instruments. First, members of the Guitars by Leo forum, under guidance of Patrick Krook as point person interacting with Bob Mullen at Music Source in Wildwood, IL, came up with the GbL LE-2, most of them built in 2014. And completely out of the blue, the McLaren brothers designed new versions of G&L’s proprietary Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickup: a single-coil Jazzmaster inspired pickup featured on the Doheny introduced in 2017 and a humbucking version used on the CLF Research Doheny V12 introduced in 2018. For those more enamored by the combination of traditional humbucker with only a PTB tone circuit, G&L released the Fullerton Deluxe Doheny HH a short time later. The Doheny was also used as the canvas for artist Clee Sobieski for a run of the Doheny Tiki Limited Edition available in 2 designs: Mermaid Art and Hula Art, available shortly after Winter NAMM 2020.

In all, it seems the ‘entry level’ models have grown up. They are produced with as much attention as any of the other instruments in the G&L lineup with the same high quality. Of course this also means a similar price point, not the low prices of old. But for that G&L has its import Tribute Series and Placentia (yes, you read that right) Series, both with a reasonably wide range of models.


‘entry level’ models in the BBE-era