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Why aren't G&L more popular?

Messages
205
Or maybe they are in the States. I am an Aussie living in Thailand and similar to back in Australia their resale and desirability is very low. I have been a Fender guy most of my life. I bought a used Korean G&L S500 here sometime back for no money, equivalent of $150. Man it blew me away. Not only such a lovely, easy to set up neck but the US made MFD pick ups! which come standard on a Tribute. Big clear present and bright. I immediately sold the last few Fender Strats / Tele's I had, US and Japanese. Have always had trouble setting Fenders up and I have been doing set ups for years. Usually a lot of hum and noise. Very difficult to get the super low action I want....and to be honest fairly inconsistent. Even straight out of the shop you need to spend a considerable sum on replacement PU if you want the thing to cut the mustard live. Living in Thailand there are a lot of temperature extremes. 42 degrees outside and 20 or so inside with the air con. All of my Fenders seem very sucseptable to this, not that I am taking them inside and outside all the time. I will have the guitar set up perfectly at home and go to a practice or gig and the thing is buzzing all over the place. G&Ls and most other guitars I have had have no such issues. Looking back the only memorable Fender I had was a 72 Rosewood Strat. All original and beat to hell but man that thing came alive in your hands. I wonder if many of us just keep blindly buying Fender because it makes us feel like we have the best?

I have since owned 2 US G&L's and they were amazing guitars but I couldn't really see any difference to the Tributes, apart from a lot of case candy. So moved the US G&L's on and now have 4 Tributes. The original Korean one and 3 Indonesian guitars which are also amazing. All feel and play great....easy to set up and solid as a rock.
 

ED_P

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,252
I had a G&L Legacy Stratocaster in the late 90's through early 00's.

The pickups sounded great and build quality was fine, but the tremolo, which was one of the things touted as an improvement over Fender, never felt as good as the Fender 2 point Tremolo, IMO. Not as smooth a transition when bending the strings. That was the only reason I ended up eventually getting rid of it.
 

Dave L

Member
Messages
1,368
They were a thing back in the 90s, but just seem to have vanished from view now. I doubt it has anything to do with the guitars themselves, they are fine, but the marketing has left a lot to be desired for a long time. I honestly couldn´t tell you if they are in business right now or not, I remember some Cantrell Rampage reissue from maybe five years ago but that´s the last time I heard of them. There are so, so many more options these days than 25-35 years ago so it´s easy to slip under the radar.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
9,167
Probably simple availability. You can get a Fender pretty much anywhere but even Thomann only carries the Tribute line and most of the models are not in stock.

I've had a 1996 US made G&L Legacy for more than a decade and it's been fine, only needed a new bridge recently as the knife edges had worn down too much.
 

drpoyer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
682
Well...frankly they were not very good sounding or playing guitars early on, Many had some of thickest poly finishes you have ever seen (bowling ball) and they were kind of ugly.

G&L turned out to be rehashed Leo era Fender designs. The best of them was the Broadcaster, Leo issued that almost as a joke knowing he would get shut down on that name. Those were very tele like and very black... I think they were all black.

So there were some less than exciting designs and after Leo passed they got even more "fenderish" but did silly things like Bathtub Route the Legacy's.

All that said, I tried to like them. I owned probably 3dz G&L's, most came when you could get a USA ASAT or a Legacy for 400-500 bucks, circa '99-'00 or so.
 
Messages
205
Well...frankly they were not very good sounding or playing guitars early on, Many had some of thickest poly finishes you have ever seen (bowling ball) and they were kind of ugly.

G&L turned out to be rehashed Leo era Fender designs. The best of them was the Broadcaster, Leo issued that almost as a joke knowing he would get shut down on that name. Those were very tele like and very black... I think they were all black.

So there were some less than exciting designs and after Leo passed they got even more "fenderish" but did silly things like Bathtub Route the Legacy's.

All that said, I tried to like them. I owned probably 3dz G&L's, most came when you could get a USA ASAT or a Legacy for 400-500 bucks, circa '99-'00 or so.
Yeah not sure about the early ones but I would have to disagree about very Fenderish apart from the body shape designs of the Strats & Teles. The PU IMO far better and different sounding to Fender apart from the Legacy which they threw in the range after Leo died. No doubt to compete. Necks are a very flat radius and I love the jumbo SS frets, they never seem to wear.
 

Eireguitar

Member
Messages
388
All the promotion from the brand I've seen seems to be centered on how Leo Fender corrected his mistakes or on how these are "the best guitars that Leo Fender has built". It's pretty much standard in any promotional material for them to mention Fender in some way. I don't think that does them any favours. It just comes across like they're trading on the name of a more established brand.

I'm sure they're fine and all, I have no experience with them. But I think their marketing strategy is all wrong.
 

HERSCHEL

Member
Messages
6,684
For many, it's all about the name and shape of the headstock. Fender and Gibson branding has created a rather loyal following.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
11,202
Aesthetics. People can't get past the funky-looking pickups and vibrato systems, and like Heritage, people can't get past the headstock. There are folks who might've played one recording in the studio and said 'this guitar is great', but they don't want to be seen playing one in public.
 

Austin_Taunt

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,479
They are no better than Fender, Gibson, PRS, Ibanez, Schecter, Gretsch, Charvel, Music Man, Epiphone, Jackson, ESP, Kiesel, etc...

They make good guitars but so do a lot of other companies. Nothing they do really stands out.
 

FuzHarmonic

Double Platinum Member
Messages
82
Note that OP means Celsius :).

42 (108 F) is brutal though, for both man and machine. Does anyone design equipment intended to withstand such heat?

Here in Indonesia low 30s (86-92 F) are the norm, and I haven't noticed any problem except for gold hardware oxidizing (when a housesitter forgot to turn on the AC for a week).
 

Bob Womack

Member
Messages
2,705
Many, many guitarists like to be seen as individualistic romantic warriors. They often seek methods to portray themselves that way and thus to validate themselves. Paradoxically, they often see a popular artist who is individualistic and seek out something related to that artist to identify themselves as individualistic, just like that guy. Unfortunately, many guitarists end up wanting the exact sort of individualistic expression, the same hair, the same clothes, the same rotten attitudes, the same guitar, as someone they see demonstrating them onstage. So, exactly how many artists use G&L? And even if an excellent artist, say Jack Pearson, consistently uses a G&L, eventually the economies of scale kick in: there have to be enough copies of an idol's guitar out there and available for the herd to snap up. G&L is a small shop.

It is a large-scale conformity, all arrived at, comically, by a frantic desire to be different. Just not THAT different.

This from a G&L user.


Bob
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,193
Doesn’t matter who plays one or not, IMO. And it’s not even the ugly headstock or whatever because I can usually get down with ugly guitars. I don’t care much about that.

They look over-engineered to me and it just makes me not want to play one.
 




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