Fender vs. G&L (mid-level builds)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Gasp100, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I just bought 2 mid-level, well priced used guitars on TGP a few weeks ago and I'm still trying to get used to each one. The first is a G&L ASAT Tribute special, really cool tele-type body with G&L P90-like? pups and a rosewood on maple neck. This is just a tight guitar (in a great way).
    The second is a MIM Fender Strat from '99 - 00 with maple neck and Fender noiseless pups. I wanted this to be a nearly stock, good sounding strat to possibly mod (but not as modifiable as my partscaster). This guitar is really nice, a prototypical strat in every way, looks, feels, fits great. But, it's not tight like the G&L.
    So, I'm wondering if you guys see this same type of comparison with Fender vs. G&L in the mid priced market (I paid a little over $300 for each, they are probably like $500+ new?). What about the higher end stuff?
    I ask because if G&L makes a strat-type (single coils) I might be looking for a swap sometime in the future, but the jury is still out on the MIM.
    It's just great to see other companies making great gear for decent prices (other then Fender and Gibson).
     
  2. ford

    ford Supporting Member

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    G&L has three basic strat models. The Legacy, the S-500 and the Fullerton. You can check out the differences here G&L

    There is also a funky little forum.. guitarsbyleo

    They make great guitars. I think base Legacy's start around 800 bucks new now. You can get nice used ones around 500 all day.

    There is an overseas line, they will have Tribute somewhere on the headstock and are made in Korea. Nice for the price, but I'd look for used USA!

    rock

    bford
     
  3. ddewees

    ddewees Member

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    I also have a Tribute ASAT and it was my first Tele style guitar. Agreed, it is great and for me stood out head and shoulders above any MIM Tele (and some MIA Tele's) that I tried out. I was also able to compare it to 3 or 4 other ASAT's Tribute and US made.

    I also have US made Legacy. It most closely resembles an EJ Strat. I know the EJ's seem to get a lot of attention on this forum but having said that my Legacy feels "better" to me in many ways. I only played an EJ a few times in a Sam Ash store (a store where almost every guitar is not set up and plays terribly) and just could not get a good feel. The Legacy was a natural fit. It was ordered with 2 tone sunburst and the orangish gun oil finish (think Cheeto's dust) and the faded plastic for vintage look. The body is one of the lightest strats I have played and the guitar has incredible chime and ring unplugged.

    I have swapped out the pups for Duncan Vintage Rails to reduce the hum when I was gigging. I was also trying to some humbuck'ish sounds for the band I was in at the time to mirror a SSH style Strat I have.

    To answer your question - yes the next step up in G&L can compete and sometimes surpasses similar Fender axes. It's still worth shopping around and trying a few because I have played a few US G&L's that didn't feel great off the shelf and likewise I'm sure there are some sweet Fenders in this price ranges.
     
  4. go7

    go7 Member

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    IMHO the G+L, U.S. line is a very fine instrument.I have a Legacy modeled after Leo`s 57 strat. Build quality much better than MIA Fenders more like custom shop.However as always with a Strat the one that speaks to you is for you regardless of name brand.Very good value.I have several G+L`s and they`re keepers.YOMV. Good Luck!
     
  5. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    my tribute legacy plays and sounds as good as much higher priced fenders.
     
  6. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Hmmm, I guess I need to do more research on G&L for distinctions between the Tribute series of guitars (Korea, cheaper, but I love my ASAT Tribute Special all the same) and the higher priced/modeled US made ones (those are just ASAT's?). Dang, if they are going for $500 used I'm might have to try a two for one deal or something...
     
  7. ARch

    ARch Member

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    I thought the tributes were made in Indonesia now... I might have that backwards. Either way, they have the same hardware/electronics as the USA series they're just not made in the US.

    I special ordered my S-500 (strat with more modern pups, can still get legacy-like vintage strat tones as well), and it is miles head of the american strats in the price range.

    G&L has one of those used guitar markets that is mind-blowingly cheap sometimes. Everyone knows Fender, but people have to ask about G&L, so resale prices are lower. You'd be surprised what you can get out of either the Trib or USA line for the money!
     
  8. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    I've owned lots of USA G&Ls. I've owned 2 tribute legacy guitars. You can't buy a better production guitar than a USA G&L. This is especially true considering how reasonably they are priced, especially used. You may prefer another company, but it won't be better built, or with better wood, or components.

    Now the tribute is an amazing Korean guitar. The frets are a step down from the USA models. The fretwork isn't horrible, they're just smaller, more "vintage" feeling, but you would definitely feel a difference between them and say a Fender AVRI vintage feel. I sure do anyway. The hardware has some cost cutting. Stamped or cast instead of machined. Stuff like that.

    The Electronics are where you will REALLY notice a difference between Tribute and USA, but this is true of ANY company. The imports use less expensive switches pots.


    Now if you are looking at an ASAT Classic, or a Bluesboy, I understand going tribute. Used ones still go for $700-$850 or more for really pretty ones. But used ASATS, legacy, and S500s, are dirt cheap used, in the $500 to $650 range if you are patient and careful. If you are looking for a "strat" to mod, I'd hold off, save my money, and find a good cheap USA legacy for under $600. You'll end up with a guitar that is pro quality in every way, and won't "need" anything moded. Any changes will be because you want to make them.

    Just my opinion.
     
  9. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Unless they changed things they only have the same Pickups. The wiring, pots, switches, caps, jacks etc are lower grade. It makes a difference.
     
  10. JohnCovach

    JohnCovach Supporting Member

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    Another G&L fan here. Nothing against the Fender guitars, but the price on used USA G&L's makes them a tremendous value.
     
  11. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Also important to note is that the USA G&L line is now Pleked at the factory.
     
  12. Badger71

    Badger71 Member

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    I've owned my share of G&L and Fenders over the years. Tone is very subjective so I won't go there but, as far as build quality for your $, G&L wins hands down, IMO, over production line Fenders.
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    A little confused by this but let me try. The G&L ASAT Tribute Special Tele that I have was (as per the seller) one of the last line made in Korea before they moved to Indonesia. I have no way to prove this, but I'll take his word for it. It fits nicely in my current group of guitars and sounds good through all of my gear.
    Just so I understand, the "Tribute" indicates the model is NOT USA?
    The models you list that ARE USA can be found in the $500 - 650 range:
    ASATS, legacy, and S500s? Getting ready to comb the Emporium ;)

    Thanks!
     
  14. telefmt

    telefmt Member

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    My Tribute Bluesboy says Indonesia on back of the headstock. It's a great value imo. USA models use CTS parts, Tributes use miteymite, US necks are a fat 7.5, mine is 9 and thinner. Same pickups, but US Bluesboys can be ordered with Seth Lover bridge HB. Here's my 'practice rig' shot :)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    I've got two G&Ls. A Comanche, which is a hand-made in USA model that's "Strat-ish" and a Tribute ASAT Classic (semi-hollow tele). The comanche had an ebony fretboard and maple on the Tribute. Both are really nice and solid and fit and finish is excellent on both, but spectacular on the Comanche. Pickups of USA and Asian guitars are the same. I think the Tributes are one of the best values around. As said before, Legacy and S500 are the most Strat-ish models and but can be had in the Tribute series for under $400 new, occasionally even at the $300 mark. Can't go wrong either way, but I am pretty confident that the Tributes feel like solid, quality guitars and not like cheapo imports.
     
  16. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a 1993 Legacy and a 2000 ASAT Classic. Some aspects that you might want to consider are:

    1. G&Ls have a beautiful finish. However, it is a poly finish. Some folks prefer nitro; some folks say that even nitro has a poly undercoat. Regardless, mine sound great. It's less likely, though, that you will ever get an aged look, which some people really like.

    2. The older G&Ls have 3-bolt necks. Those necks got a bad wrap from Fenders in the '70s. G&L 3-bolt necks are excellent and are a great value used. If I was to buy a used G&L, that's what I would look for.

    3. Older G&Ls have narrower, shallower necks. Lately, they've become thicker. Some people like baseball bat necks. I'd have to say that my preference has gone towards a bigger neck.

    4. G&L pickups use a ceramic magnet, which, to my ears results in a more hi-fi sound. G&L pickup fans say that you can get very traditional tones by adjusting the screws. On the Legacy, they have a G&L made alnico. However, I've never found a G&L pickup that I really liked. In the early '90s, though, they used Semour Duncan pickups on the Legacy, probably an Alnico 2. I've never found a Strat pickup that I liked better.

    5. G&L strat-style guitars use a swimming pook route rather than a route for each pickup individually. There used to be a lot of debate about this. Mine sounds very resonant.

    6. The G&L trem is floating. A Fender you can adjust to sit flush against the body. Some people feel very strongly that this improves the sound. Again, my Legacy, despite its very small neck, sounds as good or better than any Strat I've played.

    7. Kind of on an odd note, I've owned two ASAT Classics. I've had to replace the jack in both because certain cables (George L) simply fall out. I can't figure it out.

    8. The ASAT Classic tone knob changes tone gradually. To me it is very useful. However, you can't really get the Roy Buchanan swells unless you change them out.

    9. The Legacy has treble and bass cut knobs. To me, those are very useful.

    10. I know the ASATs are made of alder or ash. I'm not sure what the Legacies are or were made of.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Yup. Tribute is made outside of the US. The original USA asat with the twin pickups that look like P90s (but aren't) WITHOUT the tele style "ashtray" bridge and pickups, the USA legacy, and the USA S500 can easily be bought for under $600 used. The ASATs that have pickups and bridges like the telecaster, and the bluesboy tend to go for at least $200 more than that used, and it's frankly hard to find a nice used bluesboy under a grand! I'm sure they are more scarce. They are cool, but pricey!
     
  18. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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  19. ARch

    ARch Member

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    4. I believe the ceramic pups for strat styles only runs on the S-500, while the Legacy (based on a '58-59 strat) has the alnico pups and the Fullerton a lace sensor or similar. On my ceramic pups there's no screw adjustment necessary -- I dial down the volume 1/4 and dial down bass 1/2 and I'm in vintage Fender territory.

    10. For all of these, it depends on the finish. The previously mentioned guitars by leo site addresses this in the FAQ. Make sure not to get confused however between Tribute woods/finishes and the USA-models.
     
  20. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, this thread is getting pretty deep. Thanks so much for the clarification on G&L gear. I can't believe it but you guys have me gassing for another G&L and I just took a picture of the guitar stable TODAY!!!
    I might have to put some bait up in the Emporium now... that G&L with the Kinmans looks SWEET! Aren't Kinman's supposed to be amazing pups too?
     

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