‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


As it happened, soon after the G&L started its Custom Creations Department (CCD) in mid-1998, the community on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) user forum came together to design their own instrument, the ‘www.guitarsbyleo.com’ Limited Edition only available through the GbL website. The history is chronicled in “Hardcore fanatics”, written in 1999 and available on Greg Gagliano’s ggjaguar.com website. Coordinated by Brad Traweek, founder and then webmaster of GbL, it still needed an external dealer, or more specific a point person, to channel the order through. Doug Abrams, then at Indoor Storm in Durham, NC acted that role for the ‘www.guitarsbyleo.com’ Limited Edition and the run of 25 instruments were ordered through that store.

One would have expected the Basses by Leo (BbL) site to follow suit at some time. But no. Rather, the users on the BadAssBassPlayers.com (BABP) site have been responsible for 3 Limited Edition basses over time. The first was a run of 23 L-2000 basses, which came together in 2007 and was only available in Blackburst. The same color was exclusively used on a run of (14?) L-2500 basses in early-2008. The latter seems to have been coordinated through Manny’s Music in New York, NY, only shortly before its demise and rebranding to Sam Ash. And finally in March 2008, BABP was even able to entice G&L to built a number of L-1000 basses over the course of 2008 and early-2009 in different colors and including the “Oh My God” (OMG) switch, again coordinated through Manny’s Music. As can be read, this model was made available in multiple colors and neck options. The appearance of an L-1000 was rather remarkable and quite the coup since that model had been discontinued since mid-1992 and had to await its reintroduced until 2018 as a CLF Research instrument. Unfortunately, none of these BABP basses are part the collection. But Greg Gagliano includes his BABP L-1000 LE on his ggjaguar.com website. Also note that the BABP website is no longer maintained. Instead, they moved to become a Facebook User Group.

The GbL community followed up the original Limited Edition with the GbL LE-2 during 2012-2013, with production spilling over into 2014. This time Patrick Krook coordinated it from the GbL side and Bob Mullen at Music Source in Wildwood, IL took care of the order. This model distinguishes itself as being one of the few with a (deep) roasted maple neck, like ‘Port & Chocolate’ and a small run initiated by Martin Music in Memphis, TN in 2014. Now, roasted maple neck can be specified on G&L Custom Shop instruments but all are much lighter than the chocolate brown seen here.

Are these truly CCD instruments? One can argue both ways. On the one hand, they have never been included on the (archived) CCD page once available on the G&L website. But both the ‘www.guitarsbyleo.com’ LE and the BABP L-2000 LE are listed among the Rarebirds on the GbL website. And beyond the initial production runs they have never been repeated; a true indicator of a Limited Edition model. Your call.


History: User forum limited editions

User forum Limited Edition guitars (L-to-R):

1999 ‘www.guitarsbyleo.com’ Limited Edition, 2014 GbL LE-2.