For Fender Loyalists... I have a question


I tried a few G&Ls. Some of them are really cool, but one was too heavy and it also had a massive neck. The other one had Z coils, which were too hot for me.

I’m happy with my Fenders (and partscasters).


I've owned and played both Fender and G&L since the mid 1980s. For a lot of years I felt that G&L had better quality at the same price point as Fender. I'm not sure that's been the case for around a decade.

I don't really view it as Fender's quality improving over the years. If anything, Fender's quality has been in a long steady decline since Bill Schultz died and Fender became a "lifestyle brand" owned by a revolving door of private equity and VC firms. Rather, from the instruments I've owned and played, G&L's quality (especially fretwork) has gone from mostly good to not so great. Fit and finish is still pretty good and consistency is better than the hand-made days but I've still seen too many CNC ASATs with crooked bridges. The Tribute line is pretty much a crapshoot like most Indo made guitars.

Many of the key innovations Leo Fender developed at G&L have been abandoned since the McClaren family took over the company (bi-cut neck, 3-screw neck with micro-tilt, MFD Humbuckers, etc.). The manufacturing of the DF Vibrato and Saddle lock bridge was offshored to Asia and the new parts don't work on the old guitars. The McClarens really play up the company's ties to Leo Fender but, other than some CLF instruments, nothing G&L makes today much resembles the guitars being built when Leo Fender was alive.

For the same price I'd just buy a Fender since it has better resale.

Actually I haven't played any recent G&Ls, I am mostly speaking on my experience with older ones, and they are some of the best sounding guitars for my tastes since 1965. If their quality has gone down, that is sad.


Got nothing against Fender, I've owned a few. I'm just wondering why not G&L? Aren't those the "True" Fenders from Leo?
For me, no.

If it isn’t an original spec’d model then I ain’t interested. It is precisely those models that I love, not variations of them.

However, I would like to try some of the G&L pickups. I still view them as Leo’s guitar, they just aren’t for me.

Any Jazzmaster shaped guitar without the correct vibrato and pickups isn’t really a Jazzmaster in my eyes. I view all guitars like this…meaning, they need to have their original specs to qualify. It’s like a strat with P-90s and tuneomatic isn’t a strat anymore. Or a Les Paul with Kahler Vibrato and strat pickups is no longer a LP.

Jazzblasters, humbucker Jaguars/Mustangs are fine as they retain most of what I like in them but as soon as that vibrato is replaced with an alternative or hard tail it’s no longer the model it claims to be as it’s unique sound is lost.

Doheny, for example.
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Señor Member
Silver Supporting Member
If G&L’s were more available to try, I would. But I have to be honest, Fender as a company seems more “with it” (modern? I know that’s weird considering the old stuff is their grail) than G&L. Even their social media seems to be stuck in the 80s.


I'm a G&L fanboy, I even love the headstock.

This is probably because when shopping for a nice strat style guitar 23 years ago, the Legacy was the best guitar in the shop. A few years later, after playing 100s of Teles, an ASAT felt perfect and ended that search. After that, I just practice, gig, play and love what I have. I could have just as easily been a Suhr, Tom Anderson or a magic Fender 20 years ago that captured my loyalty.

Many of the improvements G&L made along the way make it a fundamentally different guitar so I can accept anyone who prefers Fender.

Looking purely at the sound/playability/looks of the guitar, I prefer what I have to any production Fender. I don't care about all the other internet BS about which guitar I am supposed to play.

EC Strat

I’ll always be a Strat player and prefer them above all else. But I’d love to have a G&L - they’re fantastic.

Mr Fingers

I can only speak for myself, but the G&L ASAT semi-hollow that I bought, which had all the G&L "innovations" (notably, pickups, bridge) and about which I was really positively disposed and excited, was not an exciting guitar at all. Everything worked as designed, but as with many G&L players, I just didn't like it enough to play it much. It was really undistinguished. I was disappointed. No big disaster -- just not enough upside to choose it long term.


The local shop here is a G&L dealer. In the beforetimes when you could go inside the store, I played a few: Comanches and ASAT Teles.
They are heavier and feel different. The MDF pickups have a cool low-midrange growl. But with G&L, I never felt the slightest "must buy this guitar" phenomenon.
Fender on the other hand.... seven or eight times I couldn't stop myself.

Magic Dragon

Silver Supporting Member
I would love to try a Doheny someday, but something tells me it's not quite a Jazzmaster..
It's not. But as an owner of 2 Jazzmasters and a Doheny, the Doheny is awesome.

I'm not a big fan of the Jazzmaster/Jaguar bridge design though. Despite recent revisionist history to the contrary, I don't think Leo Fender really understood how tune-o-matic style bridges work with break angles and all. I spent today setting up a brand new Jaguar that was typically unplayable out of the box and yep, I don't think they are a good design...Fender still doesn't shim the necks from the factory. Contrary to prevailing theory on Youtube, I doubt they ever did. There is a reason they were hanging in every pawn shop in the 70s and sound but pain in the a$$ to set up properly.


I've liked every G&L I've tried, but I love my fenders. I'll probably get an ASAT one day, they're awesome, but Fenders are so easily available in so many variations, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

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