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Even after Fender sold Fender Musical Instruments to CBS during the corporate feeding frenzy of 1965, he couldn’t walk away from the love of his life.

Leo immediately founded CLF Research and was hired as a consultant to Fender until 1970.

If guitars are in your blood – really in your blood – you can’t walk away from them.

That was certainly the case with Clarence Leonidas Fender, born August 10, 1909 (100 years ago), in Fullerton, California.

G&L’s single-cut guitar, the Broadcaster (later called the ASAT for the same reasons Fender had been forced to abandon the name once before), was pretty much snuck into production behind Fender’s back, though reportedly he liked the guitar when he saw it.

Ernie Ball’s Music Man guitars continue to be built to this day.

After the sale, Leo partnered with another longtime associate, George Fullerton, to found G&L Music Sales, Inc., named for George and Leo. If you ordered a custom color, it came on a poplar body.

G&L’s first instruments were the F-100 guitar and L-1000 bass introduced in 1980. The F-100-I and F-100-II (sometimes called the “first series” and “second series”) had different fingerboard radii (71/2″ or 12″), an option Leo developed at Music Man. This actually made things easier because the necks had a neck-tilt adjustment to select the action. All models came with either a fixed bridge or a newly patented adjustable vibrato.

Again, Leo never strayed far from his original creations… All necks were figured maple with either an ebony or maple fingerboard. The biggest distinction, however, was in the electronics, which could be passive or active.

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