‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


Instruments under the CLF Research label can be viewed as a continuation of the CCD Special Build program. These instruments have ‘CLF Research’ etched above the serial number while still using the ‘CLF’ format. Each is only available in a limited number of configurations in terms of their body wood, finish, and fingerboard. A big surprise during the 2018 Winter NAMM was the introduction of the CLF Research L-2000 displaying many elements only present when the model was introduced while G&L was just starting out. The Guitars by Leo (GbL) website was abuzz when more became known in early-February of that year. The ‘Wunkay’, i.e. the CLF Research L-1000, was not far behind being announced at the end of June 2018. These basses harken back to olden days in terms of their chrome control panel and headstock shape while still retaining modern G&L features like a 6-bolt neck attachment and dual-action truss rod with carbon fiber stiffening rods. The following month of July saw the addition of an old friend, the CLF Research Skyhawk, as the first guitar in that line of instruments. Like the aforementioned basses, this guitar has a retro look with individual pickup routes in their original positions, period-correct ³⁄₁₆” diameter Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato arm with plastic tip, U-shaped bracket for a string retainer, but now also including an expander switch as found on the modern day S-500. It was followed in November 2018 by the next iteration of the Doheny, the CLF Research Doheny V12, a guitar with a new version of the Magnetic Field Design guitar humbucker. Four new instruments in a single year giving rebirth to the old with a newbie mixed in for good measure. As the year prior, the 2019 Winter NAMM also saw the introduction of a new instrument, a completely new design this time: the CLF Research Espada. “New” may be a relative term here since the Espada combines a 1967/1968 prototype and a blueprint from 1969, both found in Leo’s lab, with modern day G&L features. The history, development, and evolution from blueprint to instrument of Project CLFR Future/Espada is captured in 75 posts by the McLaren brothers, Dave and John, appearing both in the CLF Research group on Facebook as well as GbL. The Winter NAMM held between January 16-19, 2020 saw the introduction of the CLF Research L-2500, although displayed as a G&L Custom Shop instrument, with all controls on a panel not seen before on tis model. Announced in the February 2021 Fullerton Deluxe/CLF Research price list, the CLF Research L-2500 Series 750 saw first production in September 2021 and has a wider MFD pickup to facilitate a ¾” (.750”) string spacing at the correspondingly wider Saddle-Lock bridge, the identical string spacing as on the L-1000/L-2000. For this purpose, the body shape was also redesigned to allow for flowing lines without the bass looking bulky. Note that all CLF L-2500 models have a 4+1 tuning machine arrangement on their vintage headstock instead of 3+2 seen on the standard L-2500. The same February 2021 price list also announced the 5-string CLF Research L-1000 Series 750, spotted in stores late-April 2022, and the CLF Research S-500, based on project ’79 S-500, was introduced in October 2022. Hopefully more of these instruments will follow. Maybe the F-100(E), Cavalier, and/or SC-1 at some time? We will wait and see.


CLF Research models

CLF Research guitars (L-to-R):

2018 CLF Research Doheny V12, 2019 CLF Research Espada.