My guitar collection - G&L


After BBE Sound, Inc. took over ownership of G&L, some changes were made in what instruments were offered as reflected on the January 1, 1992 price list. As explained on the “Superstrat” page, the Superhawk evolved into the Climax “XL”. Designed by Johnny McLaren Jr., the Dinky-style body has sharper horns and is tailored towards an audience into Jackson and Charvel. Also noticeable are the sculpted recess around the 3-bolt neck plate on the back of the body and the Floyd Rose Tremolo System, licensed to Gotoh Japan, instead of a Kahler Vibrato. Since the recess takes away quite some wood around the critical area where the neck is attached, many of the Climax guitars with alder or (less so) swamp ash body were prone to the formation of cracks. The few with a soft maple body, like this Climax “XL” with Sparkle Purple finish, have proven to be most stable. There is no clear documentation on what pickups are used. The “List of pickups used in G&L guitars” on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website has no entry for the Climax. After consulting with G&L, researcher Gabe Dellevigne, and Michael DeSensi, who worked on these guitars while at G&L between 1992 and 1996, they are most likely Gotoh sourced pickups spec’ed after Seymour Duncan (SD) Distortion pickups, with a proper trembucker in the bridge. The controls are basic: 3-position pickup selector, volume control, and tone control. The (still pre-BBE) hard-rock maple #3 neck has a 12” rosewood fingerboard and standard 1¾” width Floyd Rose locking nut. The headstock with Black finished front has G&L branded Schaller closed tuning machines. The Climax series was only available between 1992 and 1996, after which they were renamed to Invader. Again. Together with the name change, also the body shape evolved including the removal of the sculpted neck recess. Although George Fullerton spends a single paragraph on the Climax series in Chapter 31 of Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars, it should not surprise anybody by now there is not a lot more information on these guitars.


Climax “XL”

The story behind this guitar


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This particular guitar fulfills one important purpose: to provide a G&L model with a Floyd Rose unit. And when it became available on eBay in late-2017 for a more than reasonable price, it was added to the collection. A little more about the pickups. The Invader XL, which replaced this model in 1996, unequivocally uses a SD JB Trembucker (TB-4) in the bridge combined with an SD ’59 (SH-1N) in the neck, both Alnico 5, the same combination as found on the contemporaneous ASAT Deluxe. Page 2 of the 1992-1993 catalog, pictured on the “Superstrats” page, features one with clearly different, nondescript, pickups with exact same notable height adjustment arrangement as on this guitar: 2 screws for the bridge pickup and 3 for the neck. Measuring the DC-R values resulted in 12.67kΩ (N) and 16.91kΩ (B). The DC-R values for a modern set of SD Distortion pickups are listed as 13kΩ (SH-6N) and 17.4kΩ (TB-6), respectively, whereas a modern set of the Gotoh Distortion pickups are listed as 12.53kΩ (N) and 15.11kΩ (B), respectively. And if truly modeled after the SD Distortion, they should have a ceramic magnets. Unfortunately, I have no Gauss readouts to settle that point. They are loud and easily overdrive the preamp stage of my Boogie 5:25 in 5W mode. Dialing back the volume, there is plenty of warmth in both. With its perfect combination of silky smooth and bite, the combined setting sounds really good. The Tremolo System has been blocked by a previous owner such the arm cannot be pulled up. Whereas in 1992 G&L was still using imperial measures for all its own parts, it is good to know the Floyd Rose locking nut needs a 3mm Allen hex wrench to be operated.

The story behind this guitar



AUG 03 1992, marked ‘BLK’

SEP 23 1992

D’Addario EXL120 Nickel Wound Super Light (9-42)