Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stbhorn, Jan 25, 2008.
Differences and which is your preference?
Legacy all the way. Much more bang for your buck and unmatched quality control (by Fender USA shop at least). I believe the usual consensus is that G&L USA builds compare to Fender Custom Shop, more than Fender USA.
There is some misinformation on these boards as well - the Legacy does not come with MFD pickups (S-500, some ASAT models), which are more modern and higher output. The Legacy and Fullerton (Legacy signature model) are the "true" strats that come with pickups based of of the '58-'59 strat models, definitely the sound and vibe you expect. That said, my S-500 with MFDs can easily dial in a more vintage strat sound, mostly due to the PTB system - instead of two tone controls that both basically roll highs on/off, G&L guitars have true Bass and Treble knobs. Both the PTB system and the MFD pickups were Leo Fender's creations.
That reminds me, I think most people get this, but some don't realize: G&L == George and Leo == George Fullerton and Leo Fender.
G&L is difficult to search for here so I did some research for you:
"Fender vs. G&L (mid-level builds)" -- mostly the G&L Tribute, foreign-made series.
"Give me some G&L info!"
"G&L Legacy vs. Eric Johnson Strat"
And finally, the largest thread of all of these:
"G&L vs. Fender"
Also make sure to stop by the G&LDP for any specific questions you might have -- it's a good, fast-moving community:
I'd choose the G&L almost everytime. The new G&Ls have the neck Pleked from the factory which to me is a big factor since the result is that quality and consistency of the end product is better. Plus, I like the stock G&L pups over the Fender pups.
I prefer the Legacy, but like strats too. I have owned about 7 of each. The Legacy's PTB tone system is just heads and shoulders above anything offered on a strat, to my taste. Being able to control bass input with a separate control basically allows you get a good tone from any amp you will play. The USA Legacy pickups are far superior to the pups in the USA strats. I don't think you can say this is a matter of taste--in my experience the Legacy pups simply have much more character, depth and just overall tonal quality. Finally, I believe the fit and finish of a USA Legacy is superior to that of a strat. It just FEELS like a more carefully made guitar.
thanks for the replys!
I just bought a used G&L Legacy (early 90's 3 bolt) and it really is a fantastic guitar and well put together. Right now I only have a 1999 MIM to do a direct comparison (but I do have a high end Fender Tele circa '89 as well). This thing just feels TIGHT. The neck is just amazing, the pups are excellent, very 3D (if that makes any sense and it looks killer. I have an ASAT Tribute (lower line guitar, still very nicely built for the price) with the MFD pups and it's a completely different animal. But, the pups in these are really, really sweet. The price was right as well - I highly doubt you will be able to find a similar quality USA Fender in the same price range as one of these G&L's. Sorry, I have to post a pic:
I've been impressed with almost every G&L I've ever played. The Legacy gets my vote hands down. The bodies have the deep 50's contours that I love. Mine has the Duncan SSL pickups which sound great.
It really astounds me how very few people seem know about G&L. I run into this all the time having to explain just who the "G" and the "L" stand for! The G&L company does a pi** poor job of marketing their product for sure. For example - They had a presence at NAMM this year, yet no mention has ever been made of this event on their website nor any photos posted. They run an enthusiast webpage that uses software dating from the stone age. I really feel like this laid back attitude in their business approach has really hurt the promotion of their product and their brand recognition. Leo Fender's last company deserves better than this!
They may have just found the right mix as far as the demand for their instruments and the ability to produce them at a high level...I think sometimes Americans get too caught up in the idea that every company should aim at being a billion dollar monster...some companies recognize that they couldn't do what they do on that scale...
I'd choose the Legacy if they had a less overbuilt trem/bridge system that wasn't floating. Had a hardtail Legacy that was great, but they seem hard to come by. I wouldn't say it sounds exactly like a Strat though. Though the build quality is by average better, it's not the same feel or sound, imo.
That's a good point and I understand what you're saying. But the point I was making was referring more to recognition and understanding of the brand. It's true though - if the brand was more recognized and understood more product would be sold. It takes a lot more than just putting small ads in magazines to sell guitars these days and I think they would benefit from a stronger web presence.
You may also want to look at the G&L Comanche. Zcoil pickups are noiseless and a bit more output than the Legacy's (but less than the S-500). Can still get the vintage strat sound. A little more money than the Legacy but can be found for <$800 of you're patient.
Wow, see that's what I LOVE about the G&L's. To me, the bridge is just perfect for resting my palm for muting. Normal bridges are so flimsy feeling and close to the body (especially on a standard strat) they do abosolutely no good. Actually, that's one reason why I haven't pursued an ASAT with the standard ashtray bridge (although, I may try one out and fall in love with it anyway). I keep playing my MIM to compare and it feels like the bridge and back of the guitar fall away to nothing. To each his/her own I guess.
I think part of the problem may be that they couldn't keep up with much higher demand, and product quality would slip. There have been one or two instances over the last couple of years where users at G&LDP would post about getting an instrument with a looser neck pocket than usual (still tighter than Fender ), or a nut that needed a little bit of filing.
Each time G&L Mgmt responded on the forums and got them another guitar, or whatever type of fix they wanted, and admitted that demand had surged. I think that's what brought the plek around.
I have a Tribute Legacy Premium...
and I think it is better or AT LEAST on par with my two USA Strats.
For sure, to each their own.
I really like G&L's hardtail. It's not a through the body type, just a chunky string-through bridge, not a standard tele ashtray deal. That's also what they use on hardtail Legacies, which is pretty unique to a strat type guitar. Otherwise, I wind up blocking their trems with a block of wood.