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The S-500 is among G&L’s Stratocaster style guitars. Debuting in 1983 the S-500 appears to be a modest Strat-like guitar, but it takes its own liberties in adding variety to such a consistent design, though I wouldn’t really say it flaunts huge deviations from its predecessors.
For one it uses mahogany for the body with a bolt-on hard rock maple for the neck and rosewood for the fretboard. Having said that the fretboard still goes up to twenty-two frets and its loaded with three single-coil pickups.
Speaking of pickups all three are Leo Fender Designed G&L MFD single-coils whose motives are swayed by the five-way pickup selector and the volume, treble, and bass knobs. The treble knob is also a push/pull switch to liberate the pickups and offer even more combinations like the neck and bridge or all three at once.
Should you be interested in the initials in the pickup model they stand for “Magnetic Field Design”. The Magnetic Field Design pickups are G&L’s answer to the ongoing need for more output. They use a ceramic bar magnet with soft iron adjustable pole pieces. Without getting too superfluous or long-winded the design gives you the flexibility to control the output for each string on each pickup. At least for those that have an attention to detail that knows no boundaries within the reaches of sanity. The general tonal reception is that they offer a bit more of a warmer sound. Available in both single-coil and humbucker varieties.
In the world of hardware the S-500 uses sealed-back tuners and a Leo-Fender-designed G&L Dual-Fulcrum tremolo bridge. To elaborate on G&L’s Dual-Fulcrum concept in short the guitar has a vintage style tremolo holstered into two pivot points instead of six screws. Its design makes for a smoother tremolo experience.
G&L gives you all the freedom the world has to offer in choosing your finish between Vintage White and Tobacco Sunburst. It runs a modest price of $787.
After selling the Fender company off Leo took to starting up another company which would later be known as Music Man, and just a few years before selling Music Man off to Ernie Ball Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt formed G&L, for former two supplying the initials for the name. Leo took great pride in his work with G&L even after reacquiring the Fender company, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how successfully experimental the company was in applying new design techniques. Since his passing Fender’s surviving wife remains a chairman of G&L with BBE Sound in charge of management.
The Tribute Series
The Tribute Series was cultivated in 2003 as a means to offer more accessible instruments for those that wished not to pay such a premium price. While designed to be more accommodating to the every-man, the Tribute Series has done well for itself
These descriptions and photos are of recent S-500’s and do not represent the originals. My ’83 has an ash body, no push-pulls, and jack is on the bottom edge, instead of the recessed face mounted jack.