In his later life, Leo Fender developed many guitars with both Music Man and G&L. In the late 60s, he toyed with a design called the Espada – and it certainly looks a lot like his iconic Telecaster designs from the 1950s.
The Espada looks like a further development of the Telecaster. It was originally designed in 1969, G&L say, and was nearly released but the programme was canned before production began. So here’s the good news: Leo’s design is finally a reality. G&L decided to take the old blueprints and use them to build an Espada true to Leo’s design but also incorporating a few modern tweaks.
Striking are the pickups. The in-house Z coils are a bit reminiscent of the Precision Bass Split Coils or Fender XII 12 string models. They use the company’s MFD design and wide pole pieces. All these were developed by Leo Fender in the late 1960s.
Depending on your preference, the pickups can be configured in series or in parallel. Together with the active G&L Micro Preamp (conceived by Leo back in the day as powered by with 6xAA batteries, now with 1x 9 Volt, which is way more practical).,that makes for an interesting mixture. The preamp has three modes selected using a mini lever: Off (passive output), On (buffered lo-Z output) and On with a high boost.
There are also passive controls for treble and bass and the saddle lock bridge embedded in the body. Two versions will be available: Natural with swamp ash body, maple fingerboard and black block inlays and 3-tone sunburst, also with swamp ash body but with a Caribbean rosewood fretboard on a maple neck and with pearloid block inlays.
Espada vs Telecaster
Built in California, Fullerton these new guitars are based on a design from 1969. They probably are not for Telecaster purists. But they have some interesting ideas, and potentially a far wider palette of tonal variations. Check the new G&L Espada out in the demo video below.
RRP – USD 1999