My guitar collection - G&L


This model had effectively been under development for more than 50 years when it was finally introduced at the 2019 Winter NAMM. Its inspiration involves Leo’s lab which has been left in nearly the same state he left it in on his last day of work. But the downside of that approach is that one can overlook an opportunity to do something new, something better. In the CLF Research Espada, a 1967/1968 prototype and a blueprint from 1969 found in that lab come together with elements of modern day G&L. The cited prototype is a guitar with an Alnico split-coil pickup, similar to the ones on the 1966-1970 Fender Electric XII model. On the CLF Research Espada, it has evolved into a Magnetic Field Design version of a split-coil pickup quite different from the Z-coil on the Comanche/ASAT Z-3. The referenced blueprint was the inspiration for the overall shape of the swamp ash body, pickup layout, and the control panel looking like a saber. Modern day G&L contributed a Saddle-Lock bridge and a versatile wiring harness consisting of a PTB circuit, series/parallel switch for the 2 half-coils in the pickup, and a 3-position switch to select the preamp mode: passive, active (i.e. buffered lo-Z output), and active with high-frequency boost. The hard-rock maple neck has a 9½” radius fingerboard, Jescar Medium Jumbo 57110 frets, 1¹¹⁄₁₆” nut width, and Kluson tuning machines on a headstock with a vintage F-100 shape, i.e without the G&L hook. For more information on this current model, watch this video and/or visit:


CLF Research Espada

The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


During the development, a test mule was put together seen here with the 2 preproduction guitars. The latter 2 were shown at the 2019 Winter NAMM show in the 2 body finish/fingerboard combinations available for this CLF Research label model. CLF1901114 has an Old School Tobacco finish and Caribbean rosewood (aka Chechen) fingerboard with pearloid square markers whereas CLF1901115 has a Natural finish and a maple fingerboard with black block inlays. These 2 seem to have found their home at Leo’s Lounge, an on-location concert space at the G&L factory. When the CLF Research Espada was added mid-year to the G&L website, different guitars (CLF1904234 and CLF1904250), both having the same configuration as the preproduction versions, were used for the marketing material. However, the preproduction guitars are still used in the demo videos found on the site. I got wind CLF1904234, used for pictures on the website for the model selection and as default on the model page, would end up at Brickhouse Music in River Falls, WI. So I contacted Tom and Jen Bentz, the proprietors of said store, to take first dibs and received their great service. I looked forward to verify whether all the buzz is warranted. And it is. The pickups are well balanced and sound great in any setting. First, with the half-coils in series and the preamp switch in passive mode, there is a high definition to the tone still with plenty of warmth. One already gets more spank when the pickups are switched to parallel mode. When the preamp is then engaged, a noticeable increase in volume is heard, especially when the volume knob has been dialed back. But otherwise the sonic character is not much altered compared to passive mode. Now, when you add the high-frequency boost, you are most definitely in funk heaven. Especially with the half-coils in parallel, the frequency band is narrow but the guitar sounds far from thin. Just the spunkiest of “spankiness”. It seems this instrument was designed just for that purpose. Likely you want to tame it down a bit. This is where the PTB circuit comes in with all its versatility. Just wonderful all around and certainly worth the half-century wait. And there was another added bonus. Pete Prown’s review of the Espada in the Summer 2020 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine is adorned by a picture of this very guitar. But could it have been even better? Yes, if only this youngest G&L in the collection could have had a 12” fingerboard ...

The story behind this guitar


CLF1904234 (used for pictures on website)

none, marked ‘ESPADA-CLF-3TS-CR’, ‘ASH TOR BPU VTGN’, ‘SO# 356167’

MAR 13 2019

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