‘The Real Ones’ - Literature and articles on G&L


Over the years, several books have been published entirely focussed on G&L or with large segments related to that brand. These are the one I am aware of with a table of references and pictures of their covers at the bottom of this page.

George Fullerton, the “G” in G&L, wrote 2 books himself. The first is “Guitar Legends, The evolution of the guitar from Fender to G&L”. Released only a couple of years after Leo’s passing, it focusses mainly on Mr. Fender’s life and his longtime collaboration with George with histories on the pre-CBS days at Fender, Leo’s early retirement, getting back in business with CLF Research Corp. and his involvement in Music Man, and the first 11 years of G&L. A signed copy of this book was included with the purchase of a G&L George Fullerton Signature model until February 2005 when supplies ran out (I guess). This book also contains a reprint of the David Gans’ interview with Leo Fender and George for BAM The Californian Music Magazine. Twelve years later, and with help from Tim Page, George published his second book, “Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars”, focusing on a chronology and description of G&L models.

After Leo’s death, and with the realization that less than ∼27,000 guitars and ∼23,000 basses were produced in the 11 years Leo was involved with G&L, there was an acute interest among collectors for an accurate chronology of these instruments. Paul Bechtoldt, columnist for Vintage Guitar Magazine at the time, tried to fill this gap by self-publishing a book/pamphlet: “G&L: Leo’s Legacy”. As can be seen by the dedication, there is/was supposed to be a real print of this collectors guide but I have never seen it. Paul also provided me with an early copy with the pages out of order. A list of errata relevant to this pamphlet is accessible on the old Guitars by Leo (GbL) website.

Occasional G&L test player and frequent factory visitor Richard R. Smith wrote “Fender - The Sound Heard ‘round The World”. Although the book focuses predominantly on pre-CBS Fender, Chapter 15 is a wonderful addition describing Leo’s feats after he sold the company, including his adventures at CLF Research Corp., Music Man, and G&L. Richard, who received this Cavalier-E from Leo in person, gives a wonderful description of Leo’s way of doing things and makes a valiant attempt to place Leo’s instruments of later date in the context of the vintage craze surrounding pre-CBS instruments. Beyond that, as related on p. 282 of his book, he is the coiner of the name ‘ASAT’!

Although G&L is not mentioned in either book, given that the above work is an extensive history of the Fender brand, “The Fender Stratocaster - The success story of a legendary guitar born and made in California” and “The Fender Telecaster - The detailed story of America’s senior solid body guitar” by A.R. Duchossoir should be mentioned here. In these 2 books, this noted Fender historian provides information on the originals on which many G&L instruments are the next evolution.

Noted Guitarist and Vintage Guitar Magazine contributor Willie G. Moseley included 2 articles of relevance in his book “Stellas & Stratocasters”: “GEORGE FULLERTON: Unsung Hero” (pp. 141-146, originally published October-November-December 1991) and “DALE HYATT: A Salesman’s Perspective” (pp. 163-166, originally published May 1992). He also published a wonderful book for those in love with the electric bass: “The Bass Space: Profiles of Classic Electric Basses” collating many of his columns which previously appeared in Vintage Guitar Magazine and more. Chapter 16, i.e. pp. 78-87, is entirely dedicated to G&L, focussed primarily on the pre-BBE models with beautiful color slides.

In his book “The Birth of Loud - Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the guitar-pioneering rivalry that shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Ian S. Post focussed exactly on that. With one of the longest book titles around, there was clearly no room for some other characters prominently featured: Paul Bigsby, F.C. Hall, Don Randall, and Forrest White. But it is a delightful book starting with the radio shops maintained by some, Leo being one of them, and ends with Jimi Hendrix’ performance of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock. G&L is discussed in the prologue.

Then there are the contributions by Mrs. Phyllis M. Fender. “Leo and Me - My eleven years with guitar maker Leo Fender” is a personal account of the last 11 years of Leo’s life, coincidentally the same time span Leo was involved with G&L. This book was included in the purchase of a G&L C.L.F. Centennial ASAT or Bass and hence only ∼100 copies exist. Mrs. Fender gave an extensive interview for the NAMM Oral History in 2003. All of that material also appears in “Leo Fender - The Quiet Giant Heard Around The World”, cowritten with Randall Bell, PhD, which saw the light of day just before the start of 2018,. This book goes well beyond “Leo and Me” in describing Phyllis’ life with Leo.

Ever since 2009 there have been rumors of an upcoming book by Greg Gagliano and Gabe Dellevigne on all things Leo in the post-Fender era. Sometimes they allow the GbL forum participants a peek in their kitchen, but it has been a long wait. I for one am eagerly awaiting that book; in the meantime I will try stay current and expand this site when new information comes in.

Let us not forget the Price Guides. Every year, Vintage Guitar Magazine publishes an updated Price Guide, also available in digital form through Nxtbook Media. The second resource is provided by the “Blue Book of Guitar Values”, edited by Zachary Fjestad and published by Blue Book Publications, Inc. Beyond the annually updated printed version, their online subscriptions allows user to consult the latest and greatest on prices on the fly. In this context I should mention Larry Garrett who greatly improved G&L section in the Blue Book, both guitars and basses.


Books related to G&L