My guitar collection - G&L


George Fullerton, worked with/for Leo Fender ever since the 1950s at Fender and together they founded G&L Musical Products Inc. in 1980. Introduced during the 1995 Winter NAMM, as stated in the May 1995 issue of the “G&L Craftsman”, the George Fullerton Signature model is supposedly what George & Leo (or G&L) imagined what a vintage Stratocaster should look and sound like today. They even reacquired much of the original tooling and machines CBS had scrapped to built their “new” instruments! As George writes in his book “Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars” (p. 136), his eponymous model “ ... is the closest thing to a 1959 Stratocaster ever made by G&L”. Indeed, the guitar George holds in the ad below has pretty much the same look and feel as such a vintage Stratocaster from the latter half of 1959: a Three-tone Sunburst finish on an alder body, a control layout consisting of a master volume control and separate (treble cut) tone controls for neck and middle pickups, respectively, #1V hard-rock maple neck with a soft “V” profile specific to this model, rosewood fingerboard, and Dunlop vintage Medium 6230 frets. Fender introduced the maple neck with (slab) rosewood fingerboard in mid-1959 to replace the 1-piece maple neck used until then, in conjunction with switching to a 3-ply white/black/white pickguard with 11 mounting holes instead of the single-ply white pickguard with 8 mounting holes. But during July 1959, at the start of that transition, there were still some rosewood fingerboard Stratocasters built with an 8-hole single-ply guard, causing this guitar to be modeled after a Stratocaster of that particular month. It is not all vintage-inspired stuff however. First, according to the measured DC-R values, the 3 Alnico pickups seem to be close, if not identical, to a set of Seymour Duncan (SD) Vintage Flat Strat (SSL-2) pickups, also found on my Legacy (SSL-2), and are void of staggered pole pieces akin to post-1974 Stratocaster pickups. Second, instead of the vintage 3-position pickup selector, here one finds the 5-position version with the quacky in-between sounds readily available. In addition, this model also has the G&L patented Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV). And George’s patented Bi-Cut neck with 3-bolt neck attachment differs from the genuine article, of course, and has modern Sperzel closed tuning machines. Lastly, instead of the vintage 7¼” radius used then, here the fingerboard is 12”, a spec Fender only introduced in 1983. Unfortunately, this model was discontinued in 2008 and hence is no longer listed among the offered instruments. And with the passing of George on July 4th, 2009 (see e.g. Willie G. Moseley’s “George Fullerton (1923-2009) - Guitar Icon”), it is highly unlikely to be reintroduced. It certainly would not bear his signature on both the upper bass horn and the headstock. The webpage for this model on the G&L website was taken down in December 2013, although still accessible via this archived snapshot from 2008.


George Fullerton Signature model (3-bolt) w/rosewood Fingerboard

The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

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I have always been happy with my 4-bolt George Fullerton Signature. But a full 18 years after I got her, this 3-bolt was purchased from Guitar Center in Lansing, MI of all places. I had just started playing in a band again and for some reason was aching for a George Fullerton Signature with a rosewood board. And why not make it a 3-bolt then? It also helped to fill a gap in the “Serial Number” section. It was marketed as a 1995 model but the neck date stamp has 1996 for the year. However, this is believed to be in error; that would make it a Saturday and usually the factory is closed over the weekend. The body is thinner than the 4-bolt indicating that transition had taken place. But like on that guitar, the creme pickup covers and control knobs nicely complement the white guard. Only the switch tip and the spring cavity cover are white. From the online pictures it was not clear whether it had G&L CLF-100 pickups or had been modded. The DC-R measurements seem to indicate not; some values differ by about 1kΩ. However, SD SSL-2 pickups were in use by G&L and the wiring harness is otherwise identical to the 4-bolt so it could all still be original. This the more since if one believes it was built in February 1995, it would be a very early exemplar of this model. Most importantly though, the sound is absolute killer. I really like the PTB system on many of my guitars. But if given the choice between a Legacy or a George Fullerton Signature, I consistently gravitate to the latter.

The story behind this guitar



FEB 10 1996 [sic], marked ‘Fuller #1’

FEB 08 1995

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