My guitar collection - G&L


Added to the list of G&L ‘entry level’ models in 1983, the HG-1 and HG-2 are another testament to Leo Fender’s creative powers in designing pickups. Up to that moment, variants of single-coil pickups had been used on all ‘entry level’ models. But humbuckers were never far off Leo’s mind. The F-100 and G-200, both introduced early on in the history of G&L, already sported Magnetic Field Design (MFD) humbuckers each with their own character. Around the same time as the HG-2, the 1st X-body Interceptor II and Cavalier were introduced equipped with slanted humbuckers. Oddly enough, HG-2 at first was the internal name for another mini-humbucker under development, not the model. That pup soon got rebranded to GHB humbucker, the straight version of the Cavalier pup, while HG-2 became the name for the guitar when it got to market. Except for the pickups and the angle for the bridge pup, the HG-2 is otherwise identical to the SC-2: soft maple body (3-piece in this case), similar wiring harness (volume, tone, 3-position pickup selector), and hard-rock maple neck with 7½” maple fingerboard, although here still with an SC-2 decal on the headstock. Since this is a test mule, it is finished with just sanding sealer, which is actually non-thinned nitro, giving the guitar a very tactile feel not unlike the NENA series. As most HG-2s, this one has a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV) with the additional copper-plated spring included. Looking up the stamped S/N on this bridge in the sales log, one finds it previously belonged to a 1982 S-500 with mahogany body and ebony board. When that guitar was returned to the factory, whatever the problem was, it evidently could not be solved. As was the custom, parts would then be scavenged and potentially reused on other instruments (see e.g. the S/N neck plate on this Commemorative) even if it could take a couple of years as is the case here. The Rarebird HG-2 has its own page in the Guitars by Leo (GbL) Registry.


HG-2 prototype w/Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato

The story behind this guitar


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One of the benefits of living close to a major music town like Seattle is the fact that there are some great stores, especially for used gear. Emerald City Guitars run by Jay Boone is definitely one of these stores. He took over the G&L dealership when The Zobrist went down in the early aughts. And although his bread and butter is Fender/Gibson/Martin, as it is for most used gear stores, sometimes he finds some very interesting G&Ls. This is one of them which appeared on their website in early-summer 2014, which I stumbled into when I needed some guitars to be appraised. A couple of days later Jay informed me it was sold. Guess my surprise when at the end of that summer I came in for another appraisal and found this very guitar on the sales floor again. Took her for a spin (Carr amplifiers are nice!) and even was allowed a look under the pickup covers. The history of this guitar is rather interesting. Vice-President of Marketing and Sales Dale Hyatt once in a while would offer G&L employees the opportunity to buy test mules mainly to ward off theft. Steve Reed, wood shop supervisor and co-designer of the Comanche VI, bought this guitar on February 6, 1985, when it was reentered in the sales log remarkably enough not as a prototype. He sold it in 2004 to a GbL member, and now it is part of my collection. Interestingly, a Mustang-shaped companion guitar to this prototype exists, built around the same period, with a GHB in the neck and a HG-2R “Angled Offset” (aka Cavalier) pup in the bridge. And an amazing paint job. No wonder when you realize its owner, Fred Villarreal, was one of the artisans in G&L’s finishing department at the time. What Fred’s “GUITAR” and this prototype have in common is that George Fullerton re-drilled holes in Jumbo MFD neck pickup covers to accept the pole pieces of these then experimental pickups and longer pickup routs compared to those used for the production version of either the GHB and/or HG-2R pickup. The sound of this thing is amazing. It can be a jazz-box for one tune and be a gnarly punk-rock machine the next. Very special instrument. And not just because of its relevance and history.

The story behind this guitar


G011722 (prototype)

1 24 83

none, marked in spring cavity in pen under sealer ‘LYNX’, ‘6/3/83’

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