The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

With its roots in the Music Man Sabre, the F-100 was the very first electric guitar released by G&L in 1980. Likely the name is a play on the military designation for the North American Super Sabre, one of the models in the famous Century Series of high-performance jet planes designed in the 1950s. For the G&L F-100, one had a choice between Series-I (12” fingerboard) or Series-II (7½” fingerboard), mahogany or ash body, ebony, rosewood, or maple board, and passive or active electronics. And humbuckers. But not just any humbuckers, rather the first application of Leo’s patented Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pups. Notwithstanding how great these guitars were, there always was a tremendous pressure from the music community for G&L to build models that were more “Leo like”, i.e. single-coil Tele- and Strat-shaped guitars. Although available through special order until 1991, production of the F-100 practically stopped in 1983. Here we have an example of a very early F-100 Series I with swamp ash body in Natural Gloss finish, MFD humbuckers (with slot head pole pieces), and early version of the Locktight (Saddle-Lock) bridge. A peculiarity of these early F-100 Locktight/Saddle-Lock bridges is that the strings are inserted through-body. These guitars have versatile electronics (see the Instruction Sheet on my F-100 Series II page). The large black switch is the usual pickup selector. The other (small) black switch is the “Phase Switch”. When positioned towards the bridge, and with the pickup selector in the middle, both pickups are in-phase. However when this switch is pointing towards the nut, irrespective of where of the position of the pickup selector, both pups come on out-of-phase. The little red 2-way mini-toggle is the “Splitter Switch”. Towards the bridge the pups are in “humbucking” mode; towards the nut one is in “single coil” mode. Another interesting idiosyncrasy is that the bridge pickup by-passes the treble tone control, most noticeable when in-phase. This Series-I has a hard-rock maple neck with 12” ebony fingerboard. The skunk stripe closes the truss rod rout. It also has the old-style “diagonal” Schaller machines. The estimated number of pre-BBE era F-100s produced hovers around 3500, so no Rarebird status for this model. But check out Greg Gagliano’s F-100 Series I on his ggjaguar.com website. Notice Greg and I are “crossed” as far as which one has the hardtail. In September 2009, the F-100 became a production model again and still is to this day.

 

G&L F-100 Series I

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1981

Serial number:     G004530

Neck date:          FEB 5 1981

Body date:          JAN 24 1981

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

This is another guitar I purchased from the Chicago Music Exchange, and excellent outfit with great service. As per usual, this guitar came set-up perfectly with my favorite strings on it. What struck me most is the incredible straight grain of the body. There has been some debate on what fraction of F-100s actually has a hardtail bridge but the number is somewhere north of 20%. The fact that it is a very early model is only a bonus. Sonically, the F-100 throws you for a loop. With all switches in the normal position, i.e. “humbucking” “in-phase”, you get smooth dark tones. Not like a Les Paul though because it is still brighter. When “out-of-phase”, you get a much thinner tone. And beyond that you can get some serious trebly tones with the right switch combinations. An interesting beast.