My guitar collection - G&L


G&L was in the process of redesigning the S-500 (and Skyhawk) around the time this guitar was completed but still allowed orders to be placed with old pickup configuration and wiring harness. Greg Gagliano calls these “late first style S500s”. So although this worn-in S-500 with more common swamp ash body in beautiful Clear Blue finish is 6 years younger than the hog S-500, it still shares many features with the latter guitar, in particular looking at the body, starting with the Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV). The 3 single-coil Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups still have square corners and are mounted to the body, not the black, powder-coated aluminum pickguard. The volume control and PTB circuit are on a separate control panel with similar finish as the guard. But no expander switch, which would have been present on the redesigned version and as found on this S-500 Signature. The differences start to become more noticeable when checking the hard-rock maple neck with 7½” radius maple fingerboard. The matching Clear Blue headstock now has the smaller shape as on other contemporaneous G&L guitars but one still finds the classic bullet truss rod nut. It also has Sperzel Locking tuning machines and a Graph-Tech string tree instead of a U-shaped bracket. For the latest version of the S-500, see this page:


S-500 (pre-BBE ash)

The story behind this guitar


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In May 2018, Reverb listed a pristine 1988 “late first style” ash S-500 with 2nd generation Leo Fender Vibrato and rosewood fingerboard. The price was a little steep, but it called like a Siren. However, the Wishlist I have kept around for years called for an S-500 with 2 part aluminum pickguard, hence square cornered pickups, and maple fingerboard thereby evening the score between light and dark boards on guitars shown on the “Improved Strat” page. Just a little later, James Patton listed this one and it was love at first sight. Yes, the vibrato unit may be more mundane, but all generations of that contraption are covered already within this collection. Although with a modern vibrato arm, it still has the copper colored in the center. Underneath, one finds a “price tag” sticker with a date of “052688”. And this guitar just looks well loved. On first impression, the finish on the body appears much darker than Clear Blue, almost like Bahama Blue, certainly when compared to this Skyhawk. But their matching headstocks are much more similar when observed side-by-side. The DC-R values for the pickups on this guitar are fairly low, 4.22kΩ (B), 3.93˚Ω (M), and 3.91kΩ (N), respectively, even lower than for the Nighthawk and much closer to the values found on this 1987 2nd style SC-3 with values of 3.99kΩ (B), 3.94˚Ω (M), and 3.98kΩ (N). With all pots on 10, the guitar sounds a bit dark and boomy, but by tweaking the bass cut, this is easily resolved. After that initial dialing in of the sound, it is all sonic bliss.

The story behind this guitar



JUN 3 1988

MAR 2 1988

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