G&L Legacy - three bolt vs. four bolt body (photos inside)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ArthurS, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. ArthurS

    ArthurS Member

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    Since there have been quite a few G&L threads on this board recently, I though I would post this here as well as on HC. A few days ago I installed Fender Hot Noiseless pickups in my 1994 G&L Legacy, which has a three bolt neck. Shortly after that, a friend brought his stock 2002 Legacy (four bolt neck) to see how the FHN-set compared to the original G&L pickups. I have described the differences we found elsewhere, but there was another interesting thing we noticed: the shape of the guitars.

    Of course, with G&Ls being hand made (up until recently, anyway) there's bound to be some differences between various guitars. However, I recently read on this forum that G&L also purposefully changed the Legacy body when they switched to a four-bolt neck, so it would more closely resemble the Strat. The differences are very obvious when you hold one after another. I'm sorry the pictures are so poor, but it was in a dark room so we had to use the flash.

    They look similar enough at first sight:
    [​IMG]

    But look at the head stock. The 2002 (red) head stock is significantly longer than the 1994 one, making the entire guitar longer (look at the length of the first curve from the fingerboard up):
    [​IMG]

    Also, the 1994 has a much deeper tummy cut and sharper edges. The 2002 is a bit more bulky and less 'sleek':
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Same story with the forearm contour: sharper and more pronounced on the 1994. Also note how the 2002 body is slightly thicker
    [​IMG]

    And last and certainly least, the output socket is in a different position and at a different angle on later guitars:
    [​IMG]

    Though it might not seem this way, there is quite a significant difference when handling and playing both guitars. The 1994 feels smaller and more comfortable; it fits very 'snugly'. The 2002, though still a very nice guitar, is more bulky and cumbersome to handle. I really wonder why G&L decided to change this; me and my friend both felt the original body and head stock shape were much nicer.
     
  2. SouthernShred

    SouthernShred Silver Supporting Member

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    Pretty interesting...I've owned 7 G&L's and I greatly prefer the 3 bolt models to the newer ones. I even custom ordered a new one a few years back and it just wasn't the same. Man, now you've got me missing my G&L's...*sigh*
     
  3. hackenfort

    hackenfort Supporting Member

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    Without question, I think the early G&L had a feel to them much like early Fender's. Differences were evident in guitars made within the same week back then, yes there were dud's but for the most part it was easy to find a great one.

    I had a source at the Factory back in the mid-90, he sent me several Fullerton's to try, everyone felt and sounded slightly different. I ended up keeping a ultra-resonate one, that I still regret selling.

    Today, I think G&L's are much more consistent and in the process lost their personally. Not to say they are bad, much like PRS, there are not big differences in one to another, Very consistent.

    Kevin
     
  4. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the report, ArthurS - very cool.
    I like both eras, though a four-bolt Legacy is my fave - neck profile is the best fit for me more than anything.
    You should post this at the G&L Forum:
    http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/gldp/index.php3
     
  5. John C

    John C Supporting Member

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    I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, but I noticed that this "legal text" now appears on G&L's web site:

    "Some G&L instrument models are sold under license from Fender Musical Instruments Corporation with respect to design trademarks in the Stratocaster® and Telecaster® body shapes.

    The G&L headstock design is a registered trademark of G&L Musical Instruments"

    It seems like G&Ls are much more "Fendery" these days; the body of Arthur's 2002 looks a lot like the contours on a 2002 Fender '62RI Strat I used to own.

    On a side note, Fender does not yet own a trademark on the Strat and Tele body shapes; G&L did not join John Suhr, Tom Anderson, and the host of other manufacturers fighting Fender's attempt to trademark the body shapes.

    While I have found a better neck for me than G&L in the EBMM guitars (Silo Special and Axis in particular), I still miss this G&L I let slip through my fingers to fund GAS for a Don Grosh:


    G&L ASAT Special Deluxe
     
  6. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    I don't think the license is that new - they were never under any fear of being sued by Fender, for example...
     
  7. John C

    John C Supporting Member

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    I guess I just didn't remember seeing the disclaimer on the webpage until earlier this year, sometime after a round of discussion about Fender's attempt to trademark the body shapes. I never thought they would get sued, I was just commenting that they made their own arrangements as opposed to joining the 30 or so companies who banded together to fight the trademark filing.

    Doesn't mean I still don't want that ASAT back! :D
     
  8. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    I gotcha, mate.
     
  9. jonny guitar

    jonny guitar Member

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    I always laugh when I see, "Leo Fender is not associated with Fender Guitars" on the G&L cataloge.:D

    Anyways, nice comparison. I have a 3-bolt asat and I can't imagine a better tele; truly a wonderful instrument to my hands. I have played over 100 asats and never found another that feels quite the same. With the early ones all being a little different I find that if you get the right G&L in your hands, you are set for life.
     
  10. Grap

    Grap Member

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    I have 4 of the Legacy series G&L's, two each of the three and four bolt models:

    '96 Legacy & '96 Fullerton

    '98 Legacy Special & '00 S-500

    The body contour and edge radius differences are blindingly obvious, but I'd never noticed and diffrence in the headstocks. I'll have to haul 'em out tonight and compare 'em!

    Anyhow, I agree with the sentiment that the older style body shape with the smaller edge radius and the bigger cut aways has a much more tactile feel to it that I find more appealing than the later guitars.

    Cheers - Steve
     
  11. SgtThump

    SgtThump Member

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    All I know is that I picked up a '94 Legacy a few months back and I love it! Plays and sounds killer... I like it so much that I just picked up a second mid '90s Legacy (likely a '94) earlier this week! I can't wait to get it in the mail. :)
     

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