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G&L CLF Research Espada Guitar, Caribbean Rosewood Fingerboard, 3-Tone Sunburst


Player's Perspective

Music Store Live is proud to offer up this addition to the G&L CLF Research series with the Espada. A continuation on one of Leo's earliest innovations under the CLF Research branding (in between his time with Music Man and when G&L started) this Espada is absolutely awesome! It's funky and spanky with some awesome versatility and features under the hood.

The electronics are simple, but still, give you a lot to work with. There's an onboard buffer (which can be turned on and off) that will eliminate any signal loss resulting from using long cables or having a large pedalboard or anything like that. It also adds a little bit of sparkle to the sound by adding some life back into your signal. And if you really want to get spanky and bright with your tone, there's also a setting that turns on the buffer and boosts the highs. This Espada will have no issues slicing through even the densest of mixes. But if you're looking for a sound that's a bit fatter and thicker and perhaps not as cutting, well no problem, there's a series/parallel switch that will instantly beef up the sound to make it warm, lush, and carry a punch like a sledgehammer. So whether you want to slice your way through the mix or punch your way through it, either way, this guitar will see you through to the other side!

Whether you're looking to add some distortion to your sound or you want a clean tone that is spanky and cutting, this Espada is going to get you just that while maintaining articulation and definition. We can see this being a huge hit for stuff like surf rock and even punk rock, but also will absolutely slay some funky Nile Rodgers style of rhythm playing too. 

Manufacturer's Description

Espada™ started development in the late 1960s at Leo Fender’s new CLF Research company, exploring his ideas for a bold, next-generation two-pickup guitar for his namesake company. In late 1969, styling for the new model was nearly complete before the project was suddenly abandoned. However, Espada’s blueprints and R&D artifacts remained deep within CLF Research archives. The styling was beautiful, featuring an all-new body shape, pickguard design, and visually dominated by a new sword-like control plate.

Fast-forward nearly half a century and brothers Dave and John McLaren set about visualizing how Leo may have evolved his original concept. With Leo’s original blueprints and R&D artifacts in hand, the CLF Research Espada was completed in the spirit of his original pioneering vision, leveraging his later technological developments for performance and versatility.

For example, today’s Espada applies Leo’s Magnetic Field Design to his long-pole split-coil prototype pickups of 1967-1968, now made even more versatile with a series/parallel switch for thicker, rounder sounds or thinner, sparkly sounds. Leo’s Saddle Lock bridge technology, completed ten years after the project was abandoned, also solved a major technological design goal for the original Espada project: an efficient means of transferring more string energy directly into the grain of the body.

While the original ’60s Espada concept included a full-time onboard buffer preamp powered by six AA batteries, today’s Espada features a modern G&L Micro Preamp powered by a single 9v battery, controlled by a mini-toggle switch with positions for off (passive output), on (buffered lo-Z output), and on with high frequency boost, equally useful for cutting through thick fuzz as it is showcasing the shimmering harmonics the pickups are capable of producing. Today’s Espada would not be complete without Leo’s G&L Passive Treble and Bass (PTB) controls, always on and ready to work in conjunction with the other controls…and your own imagination.


  • CONSTRUCTION: bolt-on
  • SCALE: 25 1/2"
  • PICKUPS: Espada MFD™ split-coil hum-canceling pickups
  • BODY WOOD: Swamp Ash for Old School Tobacco and Natural finishes
  • NECK WOOD: Hard-Rock Maple with Caribbean Rosewood fingerboard
  • NECK PROFILE: G&L Modern Classic with 9 1/2" radius
  • NUT: 100% natural bone
  • FRETS: 21 medium jumbo, nickel, Plek dressed
  • TUNING KEYS: Kluson
  • BRIDGE: Leo Fender-designed G&L Saddle-Lock bridge with forged brass saddles
  • CONTROLS: 3-position pickup selector, volume, treble, bass (PTB™ system), series/parallel switch, 3-position pre-amp mode switch.
  • CASE: deluxe tolex hardshell
  • Serial #: CLF2004098

Overall Condition

Music Store Live is proud to be an authorized dealer for G&L. This CLF Research Espada is 100% brand new and is being sold with a full manufacturer's warranty. Photos are of the exact guitar you'll receive.

Our in-house guitar tech will inspect, test, set up, and clean all of our instruments on site prior to shipping. All of our instruments are guaranteed to be fully functional upon arrival.