G&L SC3 (series 1)

Meet my G&L SC1’s new little brother…

If you’re a regular guitarnerd reader, you’ll know two things about me. One, I like my favourite guitars to have a ‘partner’ so that if I play them live I have a backup that plays & sounds the same. There’s nothing worse than breaking a string, pickup up a spare guitar and having to instantly change your playing style and amp settings to get your sound back for the rest of the set. The second thing is… recently I’ve become a fan of the early, Leo Fender-era G&L guitars.

In the last few weeks I’ve been culling my music gear collection a bit, getting rid of stuff that I haven’t played for a while etc. This was a good excuse to buy stuff that I’d actually play. As I was having so much fun with my SC1, plus that none of my other axes played or sounded anything like it, I kept my eye out for a suitable backup axe. As luck would have it, the same week I sold my Maton Mastersound, this 1st series G&L Sc3 came up for sale on eBay in the US.

Thanks to the Australian dollar being ridiculously strong at the moment, this guitar was a bargain. Another bonus is that shipping is a lot cheaper now, so I was able to get the rare original hard case sent with the guitar. As these guitars were student models, not many buyers paid the extra for the hardcase, so they’re very thin on the ground.

The example has obviously been through the wars a bit, but as I bought it to be a backup and the price was so good, I wasn’t too worried. The main modification is that the original bridge single coil has been replaced with a quite collectable Ibanez ‘Flying Fingers’ Super 80.

These were found on Ibanez’s high end models and are quite high output and very bright sounding. I was originally going to replace this pickup with a Seymour Duncan P-Rail, but coupled with the maple body, this pickup sounds fantastic so I think I’ll leave it there for a while. The neck and middle pickups sound great, and are very low noise. I think later on down the track I’ll get this guitar restored to original spec and get the original single coil put back in the bridge.

The main thing I was stoked about is the neck. It’s a near perfect match to my SC1, but instead of plain maple, it’s made of birdseye/flame maple. The figuring is throughout the whole neck, top to bottom.

I’ve never owned a guitar with such a ‘custom shop’ looking neck. It looks great and the figuring really changes colour in the different light.

The neck’s been well played, and even has some custom shop-looking ‘relic’-ing… but done the hard way by years of playing. This is why I love old maple necks so much.

Another mod is that someone had fitted a lock nut and then removed it, along with a bit of the wood near the nut. I’m not worried as it doesn’t affect playability at all and added to the good price I got this guitar for. This is meant to be played, not collected.

As mentioned, the body is the first generation ‘Mustang style’, which were only made for a year or two. Production numbers for this model were a bit higher than the SC1, but still very low. Soon after, the body shape was switched to the more strat style format. This particular SC3 looks like it had a scratchplate fitted to it at one point, as I can see a few screw holes here an there. Again, not fussed. I think it looks fantastic.

All this guitar needs now is a good set up and she’ll be ready for action. I’m really glad to have this to add to my guitar army, and I’m sure it’ll get many years of good use. I’m still amazed that you can buy a great USA made guitar for less money than a second hand Korean Fender copy. Everyone in Australia, if you’re thinking about getting a guitar from the US, do it now while our dollar is going so good. Who knows, this time next year it might be back down to 48 cents and guitars like this will be worth twice as much.