Which G&L ASAT should I get?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rorschah, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    I've driven across town 4 times to Truetone and sat in their little room and played G&L's for hours. I love them all, and can't decide which to get. (Or to start camping on the marketplace for).

    The classic responds the most like my tele, and is the easiest to play for me. It seems to beg to be strummed and slammed around. I'm instantly grooving on it. It makes me laugh with delight and wiggle around.

    The special seems even more sensitive, even more big, and I'm in awe of finger-sensitivity. It seems like a deeply *different* guitar to me. It makes me play with intense concentration and awareness.

    I played a Comanche with Z3's, and the pickups sounded super musical and clear, and *really* pretty, but deeply strat-y, and one strat is enough for me. The neck pickup was very jazzy. They didn't have an ASAT Z3 to try, so I don't know what that would sound like.

    I'm deeply stuck.

    So the questions are: what are these things like in a band mix? Clean and under heavy distortion? Does anybody use these under heavy distortion live? What're they like? Can any of them get sustain-y-ness?

    Among the various uses they'd have are: solo Fahey-esque fingerpicking, garage-esque punky country band, fooling around jamming jazz-esque stuff, and a new thing, a super slow sludgey noise thing. Can any of them vaguely ape Gibson-y tones? SG, LP? Nothing exact, just the sonic register - bassy, baritone-y. There are a few contexts where I'm playing with somebody on a strat/tele, and I'd like to fill out the sonic register below them, but I'm one of those folks that, deep done, likes the Fender-y scale.

    I guess I just want to hear about your experiences with ASAT's, especialy in bands, especially if you've used more than one ASAT type.

    I really want all 3, but I'll have a hard time affording even one.

    -thi
     
  2. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    From personal experience, it all depends on your amp set up and how many effects you use. If you want to go direct into everything from small combos to uber-stacks, get the ASAT Special. A real "desert island" guitar. The Classic can squeal like a pig in high-gain situations, but it and the bluesboy are a blast to play through combos. You can get the Z3 pickups in an ASAT you know, so you can stick to the same body shape as your other two choice instead of the strat shaped commanche.

    I personally feel the Z3 pickups in the commanche are awesome for pedal monkeys, but painfully, almost harshly clear and bright played direct to amp. That's my own personal feeling and I'm sure others will disagree. With pedals, it's the ultimate cameleon, and can sound like any guitar on the planet.

    I hate to add another to the mix, but the S500 is my favorite of the strat shaped G&Ls. You can get close to tele sounds on the bridge, and can nail clean strat neck, and neck middle sounds, but as you move toward the bridge, it really gets strident and can sound like a clean clear P90. with boxes you can nail just about whatever you want.

    Just one opinion. As long as you don't run a classic ASAT bridge through a stack and stand right in front of it, you'll likely be happy with whatever decision you make! Good luck on your choice!
     
  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Obvious answer: get the one that will inspire you to make music.

    I had an ASAT of some sort as my main guitar for about ten years. I started with a Special and then had a Z3 S/H, Classic S/H, Deluxe, another Special, Junior, a Broadcaster, and probably a few others. My favorites were the first ASAT Special (ash body, rosewood fingerboard) and the Junior (mahogany body/neck and ebony fingerboard). Both were very versatile guitars with great clean and distorted tones, from jazzy to country to more experimental sounds.

    In a band mix the guitars with the MFD pickups have a lot of cut. They have strong lows and highs. The cut works well with heavy distortion and gives some clarity. The guitars will sustain well, especially the ones with the Saddlelock bridge.

    I'm not sure if you'll get the SG/LP type tones that I think you are describing. Maybe if you run your amp fairly dark and roll of the tone on the guitar, but the clarity of G&L's single coils would work against you. The ASAT Deluxe would be an option, but I think you sacrifice the clean sounds.

    I'd suggest buying used.

    Bryan
     
  4. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    Thanks for all the info.

    Used definitely. I can barely afford one used.

    They all inspire me to make music, very different music though. That's the problem. Very few guitars get me into that zone, and all of the ASAT's do. First purchase should probably be the most flexible one - sounds good straight into the amp, sounds good low gain, sounds good high gain, sounds good pushing a bunch of pedals.

    Sounds like for that flexibility, both of you favor the Special?

    -thi
     
  5. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    This sounds like the one to me


    The special seems even more sensitive, even more big, and I'm in awe of finger-sensitivity. It seems like a deeply *different* guitar to me. It makes me play with intense concentration and awareness.

    cmn
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure the Special is the most flexible (that probably goes to the Z3, as it can do "stratty" sounds), but what the Special does it does the best of the G&L guitars. If I bought another G&L it would definitely be an ASAT Special.

    Bryan
     
  7. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Well, I just bought another G&L 6 days ago, and it WAS an ASAT Special :D
     
  8. fender tele

    fender tele Member

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    Pardon me gents for butting in, but does the Special sound as "Tele-like" as the classic?

    If not, how close does it get?
     
  9. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Honestly, I don't think that the Classic sounds that close to a tele. It has a wider frequency response (more highs and lows) than your typical tele. One advantage of the Classic is that the aftermarket tele pickups will fit if you want the more traditional sound.

    The Special and the Classic sound similar to each other, but the Special is a bit ballsier, for lack of a better word.

    Bryan
     
  10. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    ASAT Special.

    The big MFDs have something real good going on. Wide range, still twangy and mildy compressed (somehow). My advice is to set the neck pup height as low as you can and set the bridge pup height for approximate matching volume level. The Special bridge is a great piece of design and execution. Comfortable, easy to intonate, very stable, and the saddle lock keeps everything solid.

    In the spirit of full disclosure:

    The bridge can be kind of a pain threading when it comes to threading the strings through the hole in the bridge, then up and over the saddle. Gotta put a little bend in the string end before sticking it in the hole. Not a big deal but it has had me cursing under my breath on stage a few times. Nothing like being in a hurry to make it even harder. Anyone got a better way BTW?

    Also the output jacks have been bad actors. I have replaced several. They just flat go bad and they can be sensitive to the type of jack on the guitar cord. Some jacks on cords are slightly smaller and the G&L output jack won't tolerate it.

    I have owned 4 ASAT specials and still have 3 of em. Got a couple of Classics too and while they are very good guitars the Special is the one. If I could only have one guitar....ASAT Special.
     
  11. Zanary

    Zanary Member

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    ASAT Classic Bluesboy...with the Seth Lover pickup in the neck position.

    I had one, will have another.
     
  12. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Zanary's right. Take a look at the Bluesboy, or the Deluxe.

    I have a Deluxe semi-hollow with a Duncan '59/neck and JB/bridge. It has a coil tap switch for single coil tones.

    Either of these two should get you where you want to go.

    Good Luck
     
  13. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Member

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    I would have posted all of this, but Hunter beat me to it. Much obliged, Hunter!

    With one contradiction (well, not really): my putput jack still works fine 3 years later. I know I'm just lucky there. :crazyguy
     
  14. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I never had any issues with the ASAT jacks. However, there were enough complaints on the guitarsbyleo forum that it is definitely worth being aware of.

    Bryan
     
  15. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I feel the same way about the Classic ;)

    I had to replace my output jack, but with the kind of mileage that guitar has seen, that didn't surprise me too much. It's also been refretted once and may be due again pretty soon...

    One of the reasons I dig the Classic so much is that I put a set of Lindy Fralin Blues specials in it, for me a perfect halfway point between the stock ones and a trad Tele vibe. Not that I don't like the stock pickups, I think they're very good, I'm just a total nut for those Fralins.

    The Specials are real nice, though, as are the Bluesboys, but you know what I really want? I've only seen a couple, ever: an ASAT with three S-500 pickups and the Legacy trem.
     
  16. Loni Specter

    Loni Specter Member

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    Here's from the other G&L thread I posted in,

    I love my ASAT Special Deluxe. It's a NAMM show one-off guitar, orange metalflake and volume control only with a three way switch. It has slightly overwound pickups and a huge maple neck. What a great tone this monster has, nothing else in my bolt-on arsenal sounds remotely like it. I have small hands, but the action is so low it plays easily so I can deal with it.
    The one flaw I had with it was the hard edge of the neck digging into my nerves at the base of my index finger. I rolled the edges with a fine emery board and that helped a lot. I believe that is a problem on a lot of the G&Ls and should be addressed by them. I suggested it to the rep. I'm not holding my breath on this.
     
  17. Keld

    Keld Member

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    I can't speak for the other ASAT's but I love my Z3. All of the different settings are clear and articulate, but never too thin or ice-picky. Plus, they send a pretty strong signal so I always feel that there's plenty of oomph, if you will.

    If you are looking for a tele that can live in both les paul and tele land, then the Z3 is worth considering. Not that it sounds exactly like a paul, but you can at least get more girth out of the Z3 than your regular tele. You might know this, but the p/u's are humbuckers setup like single coils FWIW.

    Good luck.
     
  18. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I've heard the Special many times, but have only played one for a few minutes. Strikes me as the kind of guitar that sounds very different on stage -- in a loud mix -- than it might on the showroom floor. Doesn't sound quite like anything else. BTW, I want one of these.

    The ASAT Classic I play has not gone high gain, yet. For the loud, bluesy stuff I do, it's quite impressive. On neck p/u especially, can get a truly gigantic, warm sound. It's tele like for sure, but not as stark in tone. Has a fuller sort of sound, maybe jazzier. Louder than my strat at some amp volume, pickups just hot enough that you can overdrive them and get crunchy, not so hot that they're unusable. Mine will sustain very well with certain amps and settings. THat's especially true on slide. I've been getting slide tones on this lately that are much more lap steel than tele. It's by far my favorite slide guitar ever.

    I don't think you can go wrong here. I prefer the Classic myself
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I can't tell for sure which one you like more from your descriptions, but I'm sure that's the one you'll get anyway so it doesn't matter. :)

    You MAKE a place for yourself in a mix. If a horn sounds great in the store there's no reason a good player shouldn't be able to make it sound great anywhere. Trust your instincts.

    About the jacks: I've never had a problem. I always loop the cord around the strap out of habit.
     
  20. Junior

    Junior Member

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    I think the closest you'll get to a Gibsonesque sound from an ASAT is a Junior with Super pickups (speaking from experience). It's the TOM that makes the difference.

    Next would likely be a Deluxe, but I'm so in love with the Big MFDs (after 40 years of devotion to humbuckers) I've never considered one.

    Leo was a genius, totally dedicated to his craft, and IMHO the ASAT Special is the most advanced guitar on the planet. PRS had his chance, but instead he stuck with Fender and Gibson pickup routes.

    My advice is find a good Special, and spend your life learning what it can do.
     

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