The world of yowhatsshakin


Announced on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) site on August 29, 2017, when a message to dealers leaked out, the pickups on the Doheny are the first reworking of the Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups ever since Leo Fender passed away. Clearly inspired by the Fender Jazzmaster, these pickups use a narrow bobbin aperture but wide splay still allowing plenty of windings. It is also G&L’s first new body shape since the Invader from the mid-1990s. Very similar to the body described in pat. 2,960,900, dating all the way back to January 13, 1958 as well as design pat. D186,926, filed on December 18, 1959, this one differs from the body used for the SC-1/SC-2 ‘entry level’ models, introduced in 1983, and later reprised on the modern day SC-2 as well as the GbL LE-2 on the previous page. In another nod to the Jazzmaster, in particular the kind of (‘60s) music in which it is frequently used, the model is named after Doheny State Beach in California, a popular spot for all things surfing. On the Specifications tab of the link provided at the bottom of this section one can find the default specs in which this model can be had. Among them, one finds the Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV), 3-position pickup selector, PTB tone stack, and alder body for Standard finishes, Three-tone Sunburst in this case. But beyond that, a number of customizations more to my liking were applied and are discussed below. The headstock shape also got reworked for the Doheny to a shortened version of the early-1980s S-500 headstock. Note that this model does not come with a model decal. According to Dave McLaren, leaving it off makes the appearance cleaner. More information can be found on the G&L website, including a demo by Griff Hamlin:


G&L Doheny w/Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 2017

Serial number:    CLF1712094

Neck date:         11/21/17

Body date:         none

Strings:              D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)

Not withstanding all the great effort made by Eric Martin from Martin Music Guitar in Memphis, TN to put many personal touches on it, we could not achieve everything I desired. Yes, it has creme pickup covers and control knobs on a B/W/B pickguard, white binding around the 12” rosewood fingerboard (maple being the other choice) with white pearl block inlays, and Schaller Locking tuning machines, giving this guitar an amazing look and tuning stability. But come hell or high water, it only comes with a Modern Classic neck. I so wanted an BBE-era #4 neck: the Classic Wide C profile with 1¹⅟₁₆” nut more suitable to my big hands. At least it does not have the default 9½” radius fingerboard. Due to the intermediate changes made to the order, it took a while before G&L got around building the guitar. And I more or less had forgotten about it; the world of collecting had moved on since September 2017. But in the first week of January 2018, Premier Guitar published their Doheny review. And on January 8, 2018, G&L Musical Instruments posted 3 pictures of my guitar on their Facebook feed. The guitar, completed 12/18/2017, looks absolutely stunning in real life and sounds great too. Clear, bell-like tones that love non-distorted amp settings. Not that some fuzz hurts though ...

It is clear the modern-age G&L has moved away from the Leo-era G&L quite a bit. Body shapes have converged towards Fender dimensions for decades now, starting already when Leo Fender and Dale Hyatt were still running the show. George Fullerton’s working 3-bolt neck attachment has not been seen since 1997. The Bi-Cut neck went missing in 2006 with the introduction of the non-compression truss rod. G&L already introduced its first Alnico pickups on the Legacy around 1992, even though they initially were Seymour Duncan SSL-2 pickups. And Alnico pickups have become even more prominent with the release of the ASAT Classic Alnico line of models in 2012, slowly making the MFD pickups, so defining to G&L, less relevant. And now, even though 7½” and 12” is still available, by using a 9½” fingerboard radius by default, another difference with Fender has disappeared. As of February/March 2017, the new neck manufacturing process has also led to the disappearance of the headstock ‘birthmark’. And with all that, I have to admit I have lost interest for the modern day G&L. Not the pre-BBE era, mind you. The presence of the novel MFD pickups is the saving grace for this guitar. Otherwise my ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow Okoumé w/Port Orford cedar top, one of the first guitars with these modern day specs, would have been my most modern G&L.