Thinking of Going Strat - Fender USA or G&L?

Josh O

Member
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4,300
I'm probably going down to one electric once I sell my TCM Empress but I've been considering a Strat sometime in the near future to complement my TCM Taurus Standard. I don't want to go crazy pricewise (under $1K) but I do want USA made. I want a maple board vice rosewood, would like it to have locking tuners if possible (I know that I can add them later), if it had a hum in the bridge that would be cool but not an absolute necessity. Would I be better off going G&L or is the quality of the Fender USA strats worthwhile? I saw a cool G&L S-500 that had a locking keys and a mini toggle switch to bring in multiple combos of the single coils, probably something along the line of Fender's new S1 switching system. Thoughts, models to look at, etc?
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
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16,398
While I'm a G&L guy, things like neck profiles vary due to being hand-made. Do need to play a few to find the right fit. Very high-quality, consistent guitars. I find the tuning stable, they are road-worthy, etc.

General belief w/ Fenders seems to be play several and see if you find one that speaks to you.

YMMV...
 

Glowing Tubes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,612
I recently played a few G&L's and was thoroughly impressed with the feel and build quality, seemed somewhat better than most Fenders I have played.
I would think about a good used one, Fender or G&L in that price range either way.

Richard
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,259
I've bought 2 used G&L's. For the price, I couldn't find anything else in class. They do feel and sound a little different than a Fender. Let your ears and hands decide, which is best for you.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
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42,055
I'm very happy with my USA Fender (Buddy Guy Sig. Strat).

G&Ls are fine instruments and I've tried my friends but never really bonded with them.

If I were starting from scratch today I'd also consider a Melancon.
 

aquadog

Member
Messages
1,280
I'd also go for a G&L. Sounds like an S-500 may be the one for you, but don't overlook the comanche. It comes with either rosewood or a maple board, locking tuners, mini toggle, PTB swithing (treble and bass instead of tone knobs), and the z-coils. While it won't hit strat sounds 100%, it is probably the most versitle guitar I've ever played- you can approximate strats, teles, and P-90 as well as humbucker tones. Plus, theres no hum.

The legacy would be another really good choice for you. Its more in the vein of a true strat (closest after the George Fullerton) than the comanche or s-500 (which is sort of like a super strat).
Give them all a try if you can.
 

Chris

Member
Messages
211
I really dig my S-500. Bought it used at a good price, and it's satisfied my strat itch completely. That's my vote.
 

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
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13,894
Keep in mind the Strat will feel different than the G&L and there is a difference in feel as well due to the fretboard radius. G&L has a flatter radius at 12" more like a Gibson. I have a Strat and love the vibe and stratty tones but I also plan on buying a G&L dual humbucker model someday - best of both worlds.:)
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
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28,164
G&L. I have a Legacy Special that is way better than any of the Strats I've ever owned.
 

jordanL

Member
Messages
1,479
Personally I'm a G&L fan over Fender, but the best advice I can give is go out and play a few and see which appeals to you. G&L has a few features that not everyone likes-the Dual fulcrum bridge is a full floating bridge, and some people love G&L MFD pups - and others hate them.

As far as models G&L has a number of S variations the woodwork is identical but each has different hardware.
 
R

rbisherw

I have owned many G&Ls, they are great guitars.

that said, my current (and only) Strat is a Fender 2005 AV57 which is the best playing Strat I have everowned.
 

NuSkoolTone

Member
Messages
1,328
I had an s-500 years back, it was an ash/maple guitar with the "swimming pool" route (Not sure if they still do this.) It was a "Strat" in the sense of the word but didn't really feel like a "Strat" to me. It WAS a great guitar though, but for what I found myself using it for I was more inclined to use my high end ibanez so I sold it (Which sometimes I regret.) It felt like a cross between a strat and a full size tom anderson strat if that makes sense.

I also think they tend to be a little heavier than the fenders. The MFD pickups were dark, but suited the guitar. Didn't sound vintage at all, more in P-90 territory but it was a powerful sound.

If you have the strat itch just because you want that body style, the G&L is certainly worth a look. If you want the classic "Strat" sound I think you will have better luck with fender.

My $.02
 

Alister

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,551
For me, it's not even close -- and I own several Fender strats and teles, as well.
G&L meets or exceeds Fender 'custom shop' at every pass.
Don't forget Leo's and George Fullerton's involvements in the G&L process, thinkin about MFD pickups or whatever differences people allude to.
G&L Teles, by the way, are fabulous. My next solidbody will be a deluxe with 2 buckers.
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,112
G&L makes three Strat-esque models, the Legacy, the S-500 and the Comanche. The Legacy is the most Fender-like, in that it has alnico pickups. I'd start there. I LOVE mine.....
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,398
...there's also a George Fullerton model that is very much akin to a vintage Strat.
 

aquadog

Member
Messages
1,280
Originally posted by rwe333
...there's also a George Fullerton model that is very much akin to a vintage Strat.
thats right, its essentially the same. Same radius, fret size, tuners, pickup style, etc. Wouldnt mind getting my hands around one of those. Its one of the few strats I actually don't mind in red.
 

straightblues

Member
Messages
9,610
I had an $1,100 american strat for awhile. When I played a G&L I immediatley sold the Fender. The G&L just feels like a much better instrument all around. I would highly recommend playing G&L before you buy Fender.
 
Messages
150
If you have the opportunity to try out a Hamer Daytona (USA model of course) definitely check it out. WAY better than an American Fender IMO. They were only made for about four years in the 90s and they sell used for well under $1000.

Can't comment on the G&L strats, but I never did like their ASATs.
 




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