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G&L- Tell me about them!

Jon C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,135
Some people will say they're on par with Fender CS and other high end builders. They're not. They're fine for what they are, but make no mistake, they're line built guitars--some great some not so. Sometimes they leave the factory with issues.
... true, and sometimes (Eg my ASAT Z-3 SH, ASAT Bluesboy, ASAT Special SH/Bigsby, S-500) they actually are better than Fender USA and at/near Fender CS quality. Every instrument is an accumulation of tolerances.

They’re not on par with some other custom or high end builders‘ best examples, but that’s apples and oranges. :YinYang

I love my ‘62 Strat I’ve had forever, but the G&Ls more than hold their own, depending on what details you like, some lean Fender, some lean G&L.

and btw, my $490 (New) G&L Tribute Korean L-2000 Bass (a NOS leftover when I got it years ago) is stunningly good, with USA electronics and great feel.
 
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TinFingers

Member
Messages
39
I have a two ASAT Classics. They're fantastic guitars. Very well built. The one I'm currently playing has a maple fretboard, medium jumbo frets and a 12" radius. Neck is their C shape. I love it. The MFD pickups have loads more treble than my MIM Tele Custom RI, and lots more output, too. I tend to run both tone and volume at about 6 to get the output and tone I would get with my Tele at 7.5 or so. Big range of usable tones.
 

Bluesdaddy

Member
Messages
972
I've had a few. The Asat special and Legacy I have now I've had for 15 years.
Recently sold off quite a few guitars and for bolt ons I've kept the two G&L and a couple Suhr guitars.
I let go a great Fender Hot Rod 52 Tele and 57 strat.
So I guess for me once you get a good G&L it tends to stick around.
Mine are both light weight , have a great sound and playability.
The finish does seem quite thick but they resonate just fine.
I kind of like that they're a little different and have their own thing going on.
I'm not as familiar with the newer ones , mine are a little different with the bi cut neck and pin routed bodies.
 
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rauchman

Member
Messages
1,202
I bought 2 used G&L USA Legacy Specials from the mid 2000's a couple of years ago. One, I've sold off, but the other, I've grown to really really like this guitar. It's one of 3 I play most. This guitar uses twin bladed single coil sized pups. Not high output, but really clear and expressive.

As others have mentioned, the trem is really smooth, overall quality of the guitar is excellent. This is the guitar that taught me, I like a slightly meatier neck vs something thinner.

OP, I'm in Bergen County if you want to check it out. Like you, I'd be very curious to test ride a Comanche.

Edited to add, the one's I've had in my hands tend to be weighty, and they can be relatively cheap used.

G&L Legacy Special - Blue Burst.jpg
 
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proxy

Member
Messages
431
Have beautiful US made ASAT from the 90s. Beautiful flame maple neck, and “transparent” white body that shows a beautiful wood grain.

I actually swapped the pups for American Vintage Fender ones as I prefer those classic tones, but the build quality of this American made G&L is fantastic. This one is from the 90s.

I had their Strat style one too. Loved the tremolo and actually loved the G&L pickups in that one. Regret selling it for sure.
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,001
I bought my first G&L in 1992/93 and still have it. A Legacy. I've owned three different ASAT (special and classic) over the years and still have two. I'm very pleased with each. All are three bolt. I also own Fenders. I find the G&L quality and fit-n-finish to have a bit more attention to detail.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,712
I've been mainly a Strat guy for many years but have tried the G&L Legacy and the Comanche along the way. To my ears & hands they are their own thing...so it might be best to make sure you have a good approval period if you can't find any locally to try out. They are in the Fender arena but, to a hard core Strat guy, they don't sound/feel like a Fender. Generally speaking, I would call the G&L sound more modern and hi-fi'ish...and the necks were thin with large frets and a 12" fretboard radius...which you may or may not like.

However, with its split coil pickups, the Comanche is more its own thing. They are pretty hot and sound P90'ish to me with flatter mids, which may or may not work for you if you prefer typical lower output, mid scooped single coils like typical Fenders. With G&L's on board bass & treble controls you have control over the top & bottom but the mids are always still there. And the other thing I found is, due to the offset/split coil design, the EAD & GBE strings are sensed at slightly different locations on the strings. So, if I'd play a lick that crossed over the D & G strings, there's a slight tonal shift which drove me crazy.

G&L's are well made guitars but I don't hear the classic Fender sound. And while the G&L trem is a superior design on paper, I suspect the trem design is part of the reason why G&L's don't sound Fendery enough for me.

The other thing about G&L's in general is they don't seem to hold their value on the used market like a Fender would. But that doesn't mean much if you really like them. I always thought the Comanche looked cool to me though even if its tone & feel weren't a good fit.
 

doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,644
As many have reported, selling a used G&L will not be as lucrative as selling a used Fender of any year. So... buy your G&L used and don't take that hit. The availability of used G&L's of every description is plentiful between eBay, Reverb. My first G&L was a Legacy strat style, and as stated in previous posts in this thread, it was a heavy guitar. It played well, sounded good; it was just heavy. I got rid of it, but the thought of owing a guitar that Leo had the last of his direct input into was what motivated me to get an ASAT Special. I got this ASAT Special around 99 or 00. I got it from Buffalo Bros in Carlsbad when they were a big G&L dealer and I was stuck in LA on business for several weekends in a row, it was a pleasant Saturday drive down from LA. Over time I did a significant mod by putting Fralin P90's in it, but it retains all it's orig charm, if not voice. I even got a pearloid pickguard like the original cut for the P90's in order to retain it's original overall look. It has an Ebony fretboard, an amazing Leo reimagined top-loading bridge and a very nice Honeyburst finish. I also put locking Sperzels on it and had it set up for the Feiten tuning system. It's a fun guitar to play, very touch responsive.
 
Messages
2,020
I'm curious as to the playability and quality. I live in North Jersey and I can't any to demo anywhere..

Best
Ron
Amazing guitars .. Small shop .. G&L has about as many employees as Fender Custom Shop .. And crank out about the same number of guitars

You can order a guitar with features that you want and they get it out to you quickly .. Just know that the resalw value of a new G&L is much lower than you would hope .. Best advice? .. Buy used

Oh .. Don't let people bully you into believing the G&L is a lesser instrument; it isnt. Leo Fender didnt suddenly forget how to build quality instruments after leaving Fender. He could again build what he wanted to build without a series of board meetings wherein his new innovations get relegated to the closet to be forgotten because Fender execs cared much more about cost-effectedness, bottom lines and shareholders

MFD pickups are f'n great .. Very responsive to volume/tone roll-off .. Dynamic .. PTSB is innovative and a tonal asset

For years I was actively pursuing a Strat and I played so many but just never found "the one" .. one day I saw a mid-'90s white on white G&L Legacy with a maple neck & fingerboard .. played it .. Loved it .. Bought it .. Great decision .. Years later i still love it

2 yrs ago i bought a 2018 tangerine metallic S-500 .. Beautiful finish .. Great finishing jobs @ G&L .. The S-500 screams .. Powerful cleans .. A real workhorse

I played a Doheny that was fantastic .. Dig'em .. Considering one
 

Attachments

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Messages
2,020
I've been mainly a Strat guy for many years but have tried the G&L Legacy and the Comanche along the way. To my ears & hands they are their own thing...so it might be best to make sure you have a good approval period if you can't find any locally to try out. They are in the Fender arena but, to a hard core Strat guy, they don't sound/feel like a Fender. Generally speaking, I would call the G&L sound more modern and hi-fi'ish...and the necks were thin with large frets and a 12" fretboard radius...which you may or may not like.

However, with its split coil pickups, the Comanche is more its own thing. They are pretty hot and sound P90'ish to me with flatter mids, which may or may not work for you if you prefer typical lower output, mid scooped single coils like typical Fenders. With G&L's on board bass & treble controls you have control over the top & bottom but the mids are always still there. And the other thing I found is, due to the offset/split coil design, the EAD & GBE strings are sensed at slightly different locations on the strings. So, if I'd play a lick that crossed over the D & G strings, there's a slight tonal shift which drove me crazy.

G&L's are well made guitars but I don't hear the classic Fender sound. And while the G&L trem is a superior design on paper, I suspect the trem design is part of the reason why G&L's don't sound Fendery enough for me.

The other thing about G&L's in general is they don't seem to hold their value on the used market like a Fender would. But that doesn't mean much if you really like them. I always thought the Comanche looked cool to me though even if its tone & feel weren't a good fit.
I love those Z-coils on the Comanche .. Unique sound ... Dig'em
 

Gizmot

Member
Messages
166
I currently own a ‘94 Legacy, a couple of L2500 basses and a fairly new ASAT Classi. I have enjoyed all of these for years. I like G&Ls much better than Fenders and the build quality is very good for what they cost. I think G&L as a brand is on the rise and I think they’re a decent investment
 

p.j.

Member
Messages
4,897
I had an Asat Special for a number of years. I loved the big MFD pickups. I thought they were kind of like a mix of regular Tele and Jazzmaster. A downside is that G&L's do not have great resale value.
 

nasonm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,709
I've only played a few G&Ls but recently helped a coworker sell a 90s Legacy (below). Great build, felt good as a player.

I'm a huge fan of the LOOK of the ASAT Z3 (like the Will Ray) but the resale value always looms in my head. I know that some players don't even think about that but I've found that, for whatever reason, G&L's don't hold resale value like some other brands. So if you're buying new, you might take that into consideration.

 

HRM

Member
Messages
2,381
Do they still make those wonky z-shaped pickups? What was the deal with them?
 

daacrusher2001

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,826
I had one ASAT Classic. Good guitar but the fretboard used to dig into my hand. Quality seemed good, I did put a set of Fralin pickups in it. They are ok, I have tried many others. One thing I observed about the tributes...two guys I know that have them wore down the frets really fast.
 




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