My guitar collection - G&L


The S-500, originated out of 2 prototypical models: the T-400 and F-150. This evolution is the subject of an article by Gabe Dellevigne and Greg Gagliano, “Out-Stratting the Strat”, which appeared in October 2014 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine. The blueprint shown in the article and below, drawn by George Fullerton (GWF), has dates of 8-6-1981 and 8-7-1981, preceding the early S-300 blueprint by slightly more than a week and the T-400 blueprint by 2 months. The exact F-150 appearing in that article is shown here. It has a soft maple body in a gorgeous (Three-tone) Sunburst, not mahogany as most commonly used for the early S-500. But is has the Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato with the serial number stamped on it. The prototype S-500 Magnetic Field Design (MFD) single-coil pickups on the F-150 are exactly as shown in Fog. 6 of US Pat. 4,220,069, with metal (steel?) U-channel retainer, absent pickup covers, and all. The B/W/B pickguard only covers the area under the pickups on the treble side of the body. That shape has not been used on any other G&L model. The guard houses the wiring harness, including the 5-position pickup selector. But the tone stack is not a PTB system as found on the S-500. Instead, the 250kΩ Audio Taper master volume potentiometer has a 20pF treble bleed capacitor. The neck pickup and middle pickup each have their own controls: a 250kΩ Audio Taper pot in series with a 22,000pF cap to ground. The hard-rock maple neck has a skunk stripe for the truss rod, 7½” radius, unstained ebony fingerboard, and 1⅝” nut. The headstock has an F-100 Series II model decal, not F-150, and Schaller branded open tuning machines. If more information is needed, read the article referenced above or Greg Gagliano’s F-150 page on his website.


F-150 prototype

The story behind this guitar


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In a what only can be called a very generous gesture, Greg Gagliano offered me this guitar in mid-2018. Due to circumstances, the deal could not be consumed right away. But he was willing to keep it for me until a more opportune time. And hence it became my first acquisition of 2019. Likely this guitar is the only F-150 around. Apparently no F-150 decals were either available. Or maybe not ever produced. Gabe believes they were; Greg argues that if they were, they would have been found on this guitar. To which Gabe responds this is the test mule where things are rapidly changing. But if there are F-150 model decals, to my knowledge they have not been seen. The pickups are a little hotter than on my earliest S-500, which it precedes by a mere 7 months, and make the guitar sounds great. But with such a drastically different tone stack, a sonic divergence is to be expected anyway. However, the wider frequency response and increased clarity of a MFD pickup are all there, even in its most primordial form. Great instrument of historic value.

The story behind this guitar



JUL 22 1981, marked ‘3’

JUL 20 1981 (second digit of day barely legible)

D’Addario EXL115 Nickel Wound Blues/Jazz Rock (11-49)