1983 G&L SC-2

 

Leo Fender could not be accused of resting on his laurels. Throughout his tenure at the original Fender company, his designs showed a steady progression of ideas in body shape, pickup construction, wiring scheme and every other facet of manufacturing. He continued this progress in the 1970s at Music Man and in the 1980s at G&L, incorporating players’ suggestions and new trends in guitar design into his creations.

G&L’s first guitar model was the F-100 of 1980, a professional-quality instrument featuring humbucking pickups, complex switching and a variety of options including fretboard wood, fretboard radius, vibrato tailpiece, and an onboard preamp. The company then expanded in two opposite directions in 1982, with the S-500 and G-200 on the more expensive side and the SC-1, SC-2 and SC-3 on the cheaper side. The S-500 and SC series featured the company’s first single-coil pickups; the 3-pickup models used a different design from the others. All G&L pickups (including the humbuckers on the F-100 and G-200) were called Magnetic Field Design units. Unlike older Fender designs, the MFDs used adjustable poles to provide adjustable string balance.

The SC series were made more affordable by several means. Their bodies were smaller than the other models, which can make them look ungainly but also helps to reduce the weight. The body shape was derived from old Fender models such as the Mustang but did not feature the arm or belly cuts found on the more expensive models. The wiring was much simpler than on the F-100; this SC-2 features just a pickup selector switch plus master volume and tone controls. The only available option (aside from the finish) was a vibrato; this hardtail guitar features G&L’s Saddle-Lock bridge, which pushes the saddles together to increase sustain. The fretboard only came in maple with a 7.5” radius, which harked back to the Fender guitars of the 1950s.

However, unlike the old Mustang, the SC series featured a full 25.5” scale. By the 1980s, the idea of cheaper guitars having shorter scale lengths was outdated, and G&L made sure that the SC series didn’t feel like a “student” model. The build quality was equal to the more expensive models even if the options were limited. The pickups may not have cancelled out hum, but they were relatively hot and quiet for single coils; the design proved popular enough that G&L has used it right up to the present.

The SC series only lasted a couple of years, though G&L recently offered a reissue with several changes. Early G&L guitars are difficult to date using the serial number, but the company continued the old Fender habit of stamping a date onto the neck (hidden by the body when the guitar is assembled). This particular neck was stamped on 4/14/1983 – incidentally, 71 years to the day after the Titanic struck the iceberg. Fortunately, there is nothing disastrous about this guitar; it remains all original and in very good condition, and happens to feature some of the nicest maple I’ve seen on an early G&L.

 

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