G&L - a Legacy of Engineering and Design
About Paul Gagon - continued
In January of 1991 I started working at BBE Sound in Huntington Beach, California. My immediate assignment was to redesign the company’s current guitar preamp and design new bass and acoustic guitar preamps. These became known as the BBE 381, BBE 383, and BBE 386. Within a year of my working at BBE Leo Fender passed away. Leo had been running G&L Guitars in Fullerton, California and his passing created a gigantic hole in the world of guitar and pickup design. BBE was blessed with the opportunity to purchase G&L from Mrs. Fender on the condition that we try to keep operating the factory in the city of Fullerton and promise to build guitars in a way that would make Leo proud.
My first project at G&L was to work with Steve Grom and create a “tip-of-the-hat to the master” guitar. That guitar was the G&L Legacy. We re-created the look and feel of what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest electric guitars ever designed: the Stratocaster. Since I worked on the pickups at Fender, I knew all the specifications. The goal was to use the pickup specs that were considered, by most enthusiasts, to be “the real deal.”
After the Legacy, Steve and I developed the G&L L-5500 five-string active bass, LB-100 bass, and the Invader guitar. Along with these models, I designed a series of G&L humbucking pickups that were patterned after the pickups I had developed in the 80’s for Charvel/Jackson.
One of the most enjoyable projects I undertook at BBE was to create a line of guitar effects pedals. Starting with a design from my “tour of duty” at Jackson Guitars, I brought back my distortion pedal with the 3-band EQ circuit. This pedal became known as the Crusher. For the rest of the pedal line I simply took all the pedals I used, repaired, and loved from my youth and extracted everything magical from them and gave them my own twist. Everything from a wah to analog delays to vibrato/chorus to Uni-Vibes to overdrives and most things in-between.
My love for all things electronic has carried over into every facet of my life. I have maintained an amplifier repair shop since the early 80’s, modifying or repairing hundreds of amplifiers from Ampeg to Vox and loving every minute of it. There isn’t any part of pickups, amplifiers, effects pedals, guitars, basses, or sound equipment that doesn’t get my juices flowing and make me wonder…What can I do next?
- Paul Gagon