My guitar collection - G&L


Introduced in early-1988, the Comanche was the first model with Z-coil pickups, the pinnacle of Leo Fender’s design in this area. The concept of this model was first tested on a prototype. To fit the Z-coils, a repurposed, Clear Red, swamp ash Skyhawk body had its individual pickup routs redone either by wood whop foreman Steve Reed or plant manager Lloyd Chewning, as judged from the work quality. With a 5-position pickup selector, patented PTB circuit, i.e. volume control and separate bass and treble cut, and an expander switch to combine neck and bridge pickups or all 3, it has the same wiring harness as later used on the production Comanche V. One curiosity on this guitar is the Leo Fender Vibrato Lock behind the chromed “Pat. Pend.” Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV). Unlike what one might infer from the name, this contraption will only block the arm when pulled up, which only comes in handy when you change strings in my opinion. Hence, it never found general acceptance. The hard-rock maple #2 neck, with 7½” rosewood fingerboard and Sperzel Locking tuning machines, is also interesting in that the font used for the model decal on the headstock is indicative of it being a prototype. The name actually consists of individual water slide letters (with serif) readily available at art supply stores at the time. The model decal of the very first Interceptor and Rampage were put together by Lloyd in similar fashion. The water slide decals used on the production model have a distinctive shadowed, sans-serif font and were sourced by Meyercord, a company in LA before they went under in the early-1990s. A proper model decal can be seen on this Comanche VI Signature. The Comanche VI was introduced shortly after the V and has much more involved pickup switching options. An early Comanche V or VI looked more like the 3rd style Interceptor with a Long-Horn body, although with normal arm and belly contours, and a Ray Ransdell redesigned sickle headstock without the G&L hook. The looks of this prototype on the other hand are the harbinger of the looks of the (Leo Fender) Signature version of the V and VI. With only few exceptions, these Signatures have a body shaped after the Skyhawk Signature and the traditional G&L headstock. The Comanche V is a Rarebird with its own page. Greg Gagliano’s website features 2 Comanche V Signatures from 1991 (note the unusual sickle headstock!) and 1992, respectively. The Comanche disappeared after BBE Sound, Inc. started to take over G&L in late-1991 but came back in 1998 effectively as a reissue of the Comanche V Signature without the signature. More information on the BBE-era Comanche can be found here:


Comanche V prototype

The story behind this guitar


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It could be this guitar was built for the 1988 Winter NAMM that took place at the Anaheim Convention Center between January 15-17. A counter argument would be the so-called “grocery store sticker” in the spring cavity which indicates “012988”, later than the convention. But this guitar was used in an early version of a spec sheet shown below. Allegedly Dale Hyatt kept it hanging on his G&L office wall and took it with him when he retired from G&L in November 1991. Funny thing is Dale usually would create an entry in the sales log for any guitar he kept but this is one of the known exceptions. As such, it was never properly accounted for in the financial sense. This very guitar has gone through the hands of some noted G&L collectors. Gary Maki bought it from Dale, then sold it to Larry Garrett, who in turn sold it to Brandon Vestal. I have bought many an instrument from each and everyone of them. On my end, this was a deal long in the making. Brandon and I had been talking about a transfer for a while before it finally happened in late-summer 2016. Brandon had checked in with Gabe Dellevigne to prove the originality of this guitar. In the process it was discovered the volume pot is from 1990 and hence likely is a replacement since all other components are from 1986 or before. But make no mistake. This is one of the best sounding guitars in my collection. Period. Wonderful Strat sounds and everything you would want beyond. Absolute HiFi; absolute sonic beauty.

The story behind this guitar


G021651 (prototype)

JAN 8 1988

NOV 21 1987

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