G&L F100, L1000
Even in his seventies, Leo Fender, the man who gave us the Strat and Tele, is still going strong. His latest creation is the G&L range, a company formed with his old partner George Fullerton.
Their F100 six string is of medium weight but looks lighter and has a mahogany body left mid brown.
The hardrock maple neck has a 25½in scale length, is attached via three bolts through the triangular, micro-tilted back plate and reveals an Allen keyed truss rod poking through the curvaceous headstock. The machines are Schaller copies of Klusons, the nut plastic and the top three strings rest under a retaining clip, so few drastic departures from tradition so far.
The changes start at the pickups which are a "Magnetic Field Design", claims the colourful handout sheet. They're black, presenting two rows of adjustable pole pieces and magnets have been cut in an unusual way, apparently reducing the north/south extremes.
The control plate is a gleaming chrome crescent running along the bottom edge, but the effect is spoilt by tacky chrome knobs. The master volume is tucked up by the treble pickup, close to your little finger, and the other two are not standard tones but a bass and a treble control.
One black, mini toggle switch puts the pickups in and out of phase. A red mini toggle flips them between humbucking and single coil, but always gives the single coil setting an extra bass boost — an area of weaknesses in some pickups. While the guitar is in phase, the treble control gets cut out on the tail pickup: it's automatically full up.
Devilish device, this, since it means you can trim down the treble for rhythm playing, yet flick to the tail pickup and know it will have maximum cut.
The sound... she magnifico. Very fat, very gutsy, thicker and perhaps a shade warmer than Leos of the past, though both the pickups are enormously versatile, sparkling at the top end and battering at the bottom. The tail pickup runs through an endless gamut of tones from brittle crystalline to a lovely singing sustain, while the neck selection is exceptionally funky on the bass boosted single coil position. Both the MFDs are loud with a lightning fast attack. And rarely have I met a tremolo arm that can be heaved back and forth like a Guinness beer pump, and stay perfectly in tune. This one does. It floats on two knife edge fulcrums that fit into V shaped cuts on the sustain pillars.
A final word on the construction. Superb. The neck/body joint is a snug fit, the holes are neatly cut to the perfect size (no quarter inch gaps around pickups) and every piece of machinery — heads, saddles, controls etc — function smoothly, without noise and look built to last. £564
Review by Paul Colbert
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