From 1965 to 1980, the time between selling Fender and starting G&L, Leo Fender did not sit on the sidelines.
The first company Leo created was CLF Research (Clarence Leo Fender) in 1966 to support operations at CBS/Fender by designing and producing instruments from his new workshop. Essentially, a sweet consulting gig.
In 1971 two former Fender employees, Forrest White and Tom Walker started a conversation with Leo about helping finance their guitar/amp company. A few years later Music Man was formed in 1974 and started producing amps, a solid body electric and bass. The original line-up hit the streets in 1975/76.
It was at CLF where Music Man’s amps/guitars were manufactured and Leo also had a hand in the guitar designs. The first Music Man guitar was the StingRay 1, produced in 1976.
After some "difference of opinions" Leo parted ways with Music Man in 1979 and started G&L. In distress, Music Man was acquired by Ernie Ball in 1984.
The “G” in G&L stands for George Fullerton who had been a longtime employee and production mastermind that Leo hired at Fender in 1948. He also helped Leo at CLF research.
And there was another Fender alumnus, sales guru Dale Hyatt who also started with Leo back in 48’.
The first guitar G&L offered in 1980 was the F-100. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” so the body doesn’t venture too far from a Strat and highly resembles the Music Man Stingray.
However, the electronics were progressive.. It featured two humbuckers, passive or active, using Leo’s new Magnetic Field Design. This allowed for an out-of-phase middle position when in passive, or single coil capability when in active.
Another new feature was the patent pending Dual Fulcrum Vibrato.