For over 35 years, G&L has been associated with one of the most important legacies in Guitar history. Founded by George Fullerton and Leo Fender, G&L revitalized the tradition Fender himself had started by creating brand new, updated, and ultra-modern interpretations of classic guitar designs. Never resting on their laurels, with G&L Leo Fender established a vision of constant improvement and refinement of quality standards, always striving to make their already great guitars even better.
Today’s players are likely to associate G&L with iconic designs such as the Legacy and ASAT, but soon it would not be surprising if guitarists were to associate G&L guitars almost entirely with their Custom Creations Department and their Custom Shop guitars. Established in 1998, acting then as an outlet for G&L’s craftspeople to produce unique runs of custom designed instruments, the G&L Custom Creations Department gave G&L’s talented craftspeople the chance to build up their ‘custom build’ chops, which would be put to excellent use when the G&L Custom Shop was was officially opened two decades later.
Releasing 100 or so special edition guitars at a time from their Custom Creations Department, G&L soon built a reputation for functional and tonal refinement, making them unique in the industry at the time. Dealers had always had a list of options that they could use to order custom built G&L guitars, asking for a specific color, type of neck or type of hardware. But this list had never been available to customers until the G&L Custom Shop was officially born.
In a 2007 Premier Guitar interview G&L product manager Dayv Chavez speculated about the possibility of creating a custom build shop:
“We haven’t ruled out the possibility of allowing customers to customize products through the CCD (custom creations department), but we are not a true, full-fledged custom shop (as of 2007). These days some companies call themselves, or some part of their operation, a “custom shop” but there is no clear definition of what “custom” means and consequently the term is abused. We strive to be authentic, so that’s why you don’t hear us calling ourselves a custom shop.”
The trend that Chavez was referring to in 2007 was what so many so-called ‘custom shops’ were doing when they offered extremely limited options in their customization packages. Somewhat like a restaurant’s special item menu, some custom shops limit options on certain colors, tone woods, pickguards, hardware or neck woods. This kind of limited or restricted customization is not what G&L was envisioning when they first started talking about a Custom Shop all the way back in 2007. What G&L wanted to offer to their customers was an ‘authentic’ custom shop with an impressive array of customization options.
In February of 2018, G&L officially announced the opening of their Custom Shop with a press release that was true to the G&L aesthetic of being measured and understated:
“Of course there will be more options, such as pickups hand-wound on Leo Fender’s personal winder, but it’s not just about choices. You see, some customers love everything about their Made-in- Fullerton G&Ls (standard G&L’s), but there’s always been one thing they have never been able to select. That is, they want the very best of G&L: the finest cuts of hand-selected wood and unsurpassed craftsmanship coming together in the most spectacular instruments ever made on Fender Avenue.”
To call a list that of spec options that extends to nearly 17 printed pages just ‘more options’ is certainly an understatement, and this is why the G&L Custom Shop has become legendary among guitarists who are seeking the highest quality instruments available. If you want to create your own ideal guitar, a true Dream Guitar, no other custom shop is more accommodating than the G&L Custom Shop.
Few guitarists can go to a music store and find the exact guitar that they want. There is always some option that we want that is unavailable in a specific model. Beginning the process of choosing a new guitar soon becomes a series of tradeoffs. One guitar has the pickups we want, but its neck is wider than we like, while another has the perfect neck, but is only in stock in a color we don’t like or a body style that we aren’t crazy about. Only the G&L Custom Shop gives you, the player, the opportunity to customize your guitar to such details as finish, fret size, neck width and neck profile.
If you’re a left handed guitarist, your choices are even more limited than righty players. As a left handed player, you’ve gone through life limited to one or two options per brand. Maybe you can find a left handed version of the most iconic designs, but all of your other options are extremely limited. In most cases, the lefty version of your favorite style of guitar is only available in one color and almost never has any kind of customization. The G&L Custom Shop offers an incredible level of customization for left handed guitarists.
The G&L Custom Shop has quickly become legendary because of the unprecedented level of customization that is available to all players at a surprisingly reasonable price. Read below for an overview of G&L customization options, as well as few examples of pricing and a general idea of build times, then get in touch with us to build the Righty or Lefty G&L Guitar of your Dreams!
Let’s be realistic here: the list of G&L Customization options is too long to reproduce in this article, but you can view the entire thing by following these links:
Here is an abbreviated list of options available:
Body wood options: Alder, Swamp Ash, Basswood, Okoume and three types of maple tops
Neck profile options: Modern Classic, Classic C, Heritage ‘86, Modern U, Soft V, and Deep V
Neck wood and fingerboard options: Flamed Maple, three types of Rosewood, Rock Maple, and Ebony
Body options: OLS body depth, Original Leo Spec body depth for solid-body ASAT guitars, Front Arm Contour, Rear Body Contour
Body binding: Top Bound White, Double Bound White, Top Bound Black, Double Bound Black, Natural Wood Binding
Bridge options: G&L Saddle Lock bridge, G&L Dual Fulcrum Vibrato, Original Floyd Rose and Bigsby Vibrato
Pickup Options Including (there are many more than we can list here): All Handwound Alnico pickups handwound on original winder made by Leo Fender and used by him at CLF Research beginning in 1967, ASAT Classic neck and bridge position, Legacy single coil, G&L Alnico neck and bridge humbucker substitutions, and Seymour Duncan humbucker substitutions.
Colors and Finishes: 3-Tone Sunburst, Butterscotch Blonde, Candy Apple Red Metallic, Cherryburst, Clear Orange, Fiesta Red, Jet Black, Lake Placid Blue Metallic, Natural, Shell Pink, Shoreline Gold, Silver Metallic, Sonic Blue, Tobacco Sunburst and Vintage White.
Add to this list pickguard options, knob options and heastock and tuner options including locking tuners, bone nut, Graph-tech nut, and a reverse headstock!
Now let’s put together a brief example of the kind of thing you can do in the G&L Custom Shop. We’ll start with the G&L Doheny, which is available from the custom shop in either righty or lefty versions. The Left handed G&L Doheny starts at $1399 base price. However, through the Custom Shop you can essentially build the Doheny of your dreams.
The G&L Doheny is a tonally versatile version of the classic offset surf guitar. The key to the Doheny’s revolutionary sound is the addition of Leo Fender’s wide-bobbin MFD™ single coil pickups in the bridge and neck positions with the PTB (passive treble and bass) tone circuit that allows you to control the tone of the guitar as desired. Wrapped with traditional Formvar wire, the MFD™ jazz pickups offer a less twangy tone than previous surf guitar models, giving the Doheny the output and sonic range perfect for today’s music scene. These refinements are available in the standard Fullerton version of the Doheny, but the Custom Shop allows you to refine your Doheny in every possible way, aesthetically and tonally.
We have put up some stock photos of a few possible build options along with the pricing for those builds:
Standard finish Doheny, no additional options, satin clear neck. List Price: $2000 Sale Price: $1399
Our first build option example: Sea Foam Green (+$100), Alder Body, 3 Ply White Pickguard(+$50),Rosewood fingerboard, Vintage Gloss Neck Tint(+$150) List Price: $2433.00 Sale price: $1699.00
Second build option example: 3 Tone Sunburst, Tortoise Pickguard (+$100) , Rosewood Neck, Pearl White Block Inlays(+$150) ,Vintage Gloss Neck Tint(+$150) List Price: $2501 Sale Price: $1799.00
Third build option example: Jet Black, Alder Body, Tortoise Pickguard(+$50), Maple Neck, Black Block Inlays (+$150), Vintage Gloss Neck Tint (+$150) List Price: $2433 Sale price: $1749
The G&L Custom Shop is not just about options, however. The Custom Shop also offers the finest of building materials and craftsmanship available from Fender Avenue.
We are excited to open up the world of G&L custom built guitars to our left handed customers! Whether you are right handed or left handed, contact us on the phone or through our website so we can provide you with a quote for the G&L Custom Shop build of your dreams. Build time is roughly 8-12 weeks and can be ordered with any Specs G&L offers on their extensive list. You can start any custom build with a minimum $300 deposit! If you have any questions, just call us at 1-518-746-9500 or drop in to our Hudson Falls store at 3 Lafayette St, Hudson Falls NY 12839 M-F 10am-5pm, Sa 10-3, closed Sundays, to discuss your custom build with one of our staff.