My guitar collection - G&L


Leo Fender’s first wife Esther died of lung cancer in 1979 and the year following was eventful. Not only did he found G&L, consisting of G&L Musical Products Inc. with George Fullerton as partner and G&L Music Sales Inc. with Dale Hyatt on the sales and marketing side, he also remarried with the lovely Phyllis Thomas. Phyllis, then a widow herself, was an acquaintance of the Fullertons who introduced her to Leo. They spent the last 11 years of his life together: traveling, enjoying the presence of her grand-children, doing all the things you expect people at a ripe old age to do. Since George had been bought out by Leo in 1985, it was Phyllis who after Leo’s death made sure that G&L would end up in good hands and sold it to the BBE Sound, Inc (BBESI) lead by John McLaren Sr. She was made Honorary Chairperson, provided the signature for a Certificate of Authenticity that has been included with every G&L instrument ever since, and has acted as guardian to Leo’s legacy. The Legacy was one of 2 new models, the other being the Climax line of guitars, introduced by BBE-era G&L on their January 1, 1992 price list. Not unexpectedly, in July 2007 Phyllis was honored by BBESI/G&L with the announcement of a Custom Creations Department Limited Edition Legacy named after her: the Phyllis model better known as ‘Blondie’, the nickname bestowed on her by Leo himself. This guitar has a custom blended Blondie Blonde finish that matches Mrs. Fender’s hair color as close as possible. All other appointments, i.e. pickguard, rear cavity cover, and buttons on the Schaller tuning machines, are pearl giving this instrument a majestic look. The 2-piece swamp ash body is joined with a hard-rock maple neck with 12” fingerboard, Dunlop (Medium) Jumbo 6100 frets, and 1⅝” nut. Like all Legacies, it has a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV), 3 CLF-100 Alnico Vintage pickups (as found post-1994 after having used Seymour Duncan SSL Vintage pups prior), 5-position pickup selector, volume control, and PTB circuit. As a sonic bonus, the treble cut is push-pull enabling the combination of the outer 2 pickups in positions 1 and 5 and all three in position 2 and 4. The package is completed by a silver tolex hardshell case with black end caps and crushed velvet interior, Silver COA, 14’ G&L Custom Creations Spectraflex Platinum braided cord, polish cloth, and Factory Tour DVD. Parts of the proceeds of the sale of these instruments are donated to the Smile Train: a charity providing free cleft surgery to afflicted children in poor countries around the world. For more information, see its Rarebird section in the Registry of the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website and this archived snapshot from 2017. Mrs. Phyllis Fender passed away on July 22, 2020.


Phyllis model: ‘Blondie

The story behind this guitar


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Another example of how patience sometimes pays off. In October 2009, during something that can be called a scavenge hunt, Buffalo Brothers scored a slew of great G&L instruments from a rental company in the Pacific Northwest. Amongst the guitars were 2 Blondies (#48 and #60). GbL forum participants were given the opportunity to buy any of the acquired instruments at a reduced price. I called and then got cold feet and passed up on the deal. Next one was listed on eBay for months and I was waiting for the price to drop below my trigger point. No dice! The guitar just disappeared never to be seen again. And then one just comes to your attention in a place I would not necessarily look: at Mass Street Music in Lawrence, KS, at a much lower price and with most case candy. Although the DVD is missing, a request form is included! In one of his GbL posts, Dave McLaren asserted that a Blondie sings like no other after he played his over lunch. And if you interpret “singing” as being expressive at low volume, he is absolutely right! It’s all you might expect from a modern Strat. Although one of the lowest output guitars I have, you can get your vintage tone, but where others stop, this guitar still is capable to go to “11” tone wise. Stunning!

The story behind this guitar


CLF48946 (#53 of 100)

none, marked ‘Phyllis Fender’

JAN 15 2008

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