‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


In July 1998, G&L started its Custom Creations Department to build specially designed instruments. This page focusses on Limited Edition models, i.e. instrument produced in a truly finite number, never to be reproduced again. The seeds for the CCD were planted in February 1998 when craftsmen at G&L were experimenting combining mahogany bodies with G&L’s patented Jumbo Magnetic Field Design (MFD) single-coil pickups. Two years prior, they had also revived the pre-BBE ASAT III with a modernized (BBE-era) ASAT III. And although that experiment was terminated by 1998, in April of that year the artist department requested a 3 pickup model, now with ASAT Classic MFD pickups, and a 5-position pickup selector. This popular configuration among Nashville studio cats led to the first CCD sanctioned model: a run of 100 ASAT ‘Classic III’ guitars. This was soon followed by the result of the February skunk works: the ASAT ‘Junior’ of which 250 were built, starting in July 1998 spilling over into 1999. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the company, several models were offered in 2000: the Custom Creations Rampage with a total of 70 issued, funnily enough only available with gig bag, followed by the 20th Anniversary model with 50 built. It would take until the start of 2006 for the next LE: the 25th Anniversary model. Indeed, production of these 250 guitars started a year late! But since then there has been a steady stream of at least 2 models every 2 years: the F-100 Return Edition and the Phyllis model: ‘Blondie’ announced in July 2007, each 100 pieces, and in January of 2009 50 C.L.F. Centennial ASATs and 50 C.L.F. Centennial L-2000s to commemorate Leo’s 100th anniversary of his birth. To honor long-time G&L player Jerry Cantrell, the CCD issued the Limited Edition ‘Blue Dress’ Rampage with Alain Aslin’s iconic Blue Dress pin-up girl and Jerry’s signature on the back of the headstock. Announced at the 2010 Winter NAMM and available in mid-2011, the 50 ‘Blue Dress’ guitars are the most expensive G&Ls ever marketed. The year 2011 turned out to be very productive otherwise too for the CCD with the release of the Korina Collection. In 2013 the Savannah Collection was added. Since both involve a relatively large number of models, they each have their own page. The same is true for the custom artwork by Johnny Garcia. Although listed among prototypes on an archive version of the G&L website, the initial 4 guitars he created in 2010 and released in 2012, including ‘The Wrangler’ and ‘Cowhide’, strictly speaking should be seen as Limited Editions. And it is certainly true for the 20 ASAT Classic BluesBoy ‘The Roses’ Limited Edition Johnny created between 2014 and 2016.

The indication of a Limited Edition also has changed over time. The ‘Classic III’ only had the stamp on the back of the headstock whereas the ‘Junior’ has a similar stamp and a neck plate indicating “# of 250”. Both the 20th and 25th Anniversary models only have a stamped neck plate with “# of 50” and “# of 250”, respectively. In general, Custom Creation Department models built between 2006 and 2017 have a CCD logo decal on the back of the headstock, with an additional “# of x” indication until 2011, and a Silver Certificate of Authenticity. Although, the Korina Collection is all over the place as discussed in its chapter.

In 2017, just after G&L changed their serial number format and application again, they released a limited run of 10 ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow okoumé w/Port Orford cedar top guitars. Like the S/N, the “# of 10” is laser etched on the back of the headstock. The #2 of that series came with standard paperwork, nothing special. However, since there is no CCD logo on the headstock, that guitar is merely mentioned here.

At the 2018 Winter NAMM show, which took place between January 25-28 in Anaheim, CA, G&L announced the introduction of its Custom Shop, the next evolution of the CCD. Their instruments have serial numbers with a ‘CS’ prefix, instead of ‘CLF’, underneath a G&L Custom Shop logo very similar to the old Custom Creations logo. To some extend, instruments build by the G&L Custom Shop replace the instruments previously available in the ‘Rustic’ series, but other options are available too. The main reason to start the G&L Custom Shop is that dealers saw the CCD as such anyway and did not care too much about what G&L wrote on their website. After the CCD did not participate at all in the 30th and 35th Anniversary Collections, the G&L Custom Shop was responsible for 2 of the 4 models released to commemorate G&L’s 40th (Ruby) Anniversary in 2020: a 40th Anniversary Espada and 40th Anniversary L-2000, with a limited production run of 40 pieces each. Until May 2020, the G&L Custom Shop was run by a single employee, David (Dave) Brown. He was responsible for every instrument, i.e. basses and guitars, including 3 of the 4 CS creations featured on this site. Many are unique creations not likely to be duplicated, e.g. this 2019 Custom Shop ASAT RMC P-90/HB or this 2021 Custom Shop ASAT HSH RMC. And, as the name implies the Custom Shop Matador Bass is available exclusively through that channel. Still, the G&L Custom Shop is not responsible for all post-2018 instruments released as a Limited Edition, emphasizing its more “one-off” focus. For example, the spec sheet for this 2019 Doheny Tiki Limited Edition w/Hula Art, of which only 30 were built, states it to be a Limited Edition but the G&L Custom Shop logo neither appears on the back of the headstock, nor on the included paperwork envelope, nor on the inside of the case. Since David left, the Custom Shop has been managed by Ed Laing with several employees joining him, all focussed on building these unique instruments.


History: CCD limited editions