G&L Guitars

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by Tony Dee, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    True about the innovations; a bit more G&L "lore":

    Leo never wanted to repeat himself - remember, the thought people would abandon the Tele when the Strat came out, and abandon the Strat when the Jazzmaster came out. He thought the Music Mans were world-beaters as well, but the only really successful model he did was the StingRay bass - the Sabre bass was an okay seller, but the 2 guitars really tanked. The early G&Ls weren't huge sellers either, but better then the Music Man guitars.

    He didn't want to do a Tele-shaped guitar, but his business partner - Dale Hyatt - who ran the sales division (Leo always set up his companies with separate sales companies and manufacturing companies) kept saying they could really sell a Tele-style guitar. Hyatt had the guys in the shop work in the prototype for the Broadcaster on the sly while Leo was on vacation, out of the office, etc. Once they had a viable prototype they took it to Leo, and Leo liked it because he could see it was its own, new thing and not a rehash of the Telecaster so they brought it out in 1985 - because of the MFD pickups and saddle lock bridge which had been used on the SC2 model (vaguely Mustang-shaped at this point). They called it the Broadcaster - and fully expected Gretsch to once again send them a "cease and desist" about the name so after 800-1000 units were built they changed the name to ASAT (now known as the ASAT Special).

    I believe he had to also be convinced about the ASAT Classic in 1989, but by then Leo wasn't as involved in the business as his Parkinson's worsened. This was also when the rest of the team convinced him to start using a traditional Strat shaped body on the double-cut models.

    The Legacy - well a couple of years ago G&L "came clean" about that one that Leo didn't have anything to do with developing it; it was created after BBE Sound took over the company by putting a set of Seymour Duncan SSL-1 vintage Strat pickups in the S-500 (which by then was using the traditional Strat body) as the sales organization thought they could sell a more traditional Strat model. They eventually started making their own pickups around 1995-ish; the Duncans were only used for a max of 3 years.
     
  2. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Strat-Talker

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    USA S500, Legacy and Commanche are all top notch elite level strat like guitars.

    USA L2000 bass is equally fantastic. There are a couple of USA s500/legacy used in my market for great prices. I’m not in the buy mode at the moment but clearly folks don’t know how good they are. Very strange…
     
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  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    FWIW Musicians Friend has several G&L ASAT Classic Tribute Models listed now ranging in price from $375-$434. You might consider using those while models prided at $375 as a bargaining chip in making an offer on that one on CL.

    I wouldn't reject paying $400 for one but I surely make an offer closer to $300 for starters just to see where that takes knowing that it's relatively certain that one was purchased for $299 or possibly less on a sale. It's up to you Tony Dee.
     
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  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Good point. The S500 was the first S-type model and I believe the Comanche followed it with it's Z-coil pickups. That's the S-type at I have an interest in.
     
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  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    G&L vs Fender is another good example of people shopping brand as opposed to features, price, and value.

    G&L is slowly gaining ground now that some of the bigger online dealers are representing them but they will never become another Fender and don't care to be.
     
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  6. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    Yep; the S-500 was their first S-type with single coils; their first guitars were S-body but were HH models (with MFD humbuckers that were sort of mini-bucker sized - the F-100). I think the S-500 starts in 1982. There were a few other models in-between the S-500 and the Comanche. There are some scans of old G&L catalogs and ad sheets here:

    http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/ - their site won't let you link to the actual page (it's a pretty antiquated forum software) so go to the "Gallery" tab and select "Ad Slicks and Memorabilia".


    Not many dealers were selling G&Ls back then; I remember playing the F-100s at a shop where I lived at the time that primarily sold Ibanez and Ovation (Ovation was still doing USA electrics in 1980) but they had dropped the line before the S-500 came out in 1982. Near as I can tell in 1983 the only difference between the S-500 and the Nighthawk model (which got renamed the Skyhawk - some manufacturer already had a Nighthawk) is that these early S-500s had unique rectangular-shaped pickups (like the big MFDs you still see on ASAT Specials) while the Nighthawk had Strat-shaped pickups - which by 1983 Leo was selling those as replacement pickup sets for Strats/S-types.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2021
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  7. l88vette

    l88vette Strat-O-Master

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    IMG_5237.JPG I have a G&L Legacy tribute and it is a fantastic guitar. Compares very well to Fender MIM.
     
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  8. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    My Legacy Special, bought this close to 20 years ago. Have a few CS strats and in my opinion the US made G&L's are as nice.

    GL2.jpg GL1.jpg
     
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  9. Tony Dee

    Tony Dee Strat-Talk Member

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    Thank you everyone for your input. I picked up the guitar today. It sure is different from my Squire Stratocaster and Squire Strat.

    One thing that's bothering me is that it has a rather loud hum thru my amp which goes away when I touch the metal plate by the controls or the metal around the bridge pickup or even a few strings. My Squires have a slight hum, but this G&L has a much louder hum.
     
  10. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Tribute vs Fullerton.
    I agree that the Fullerton models are competition for the Corona Fenders, but the Tributes are the "budget" import line.
    They DO stack up well against the MiM Fenders and blow Squier out of the water.

    Unfortunately, G&L do not hold their value very well. They are in an uncomfortable place... where they seem to want to be... where they are not a huge production line like Fender and Gibson (they're still in the same building in the same business park they started in back in 1980), but they aren't a small custom builder like Suhr and Anderson.

    The up-side to that is you can often get a VERY good deal on a used Fullerton G&L at a price that is competitive with a MiM Fender.
     
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  11. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Yep... And the Legacy was the one that carried the George Fullerton signature model, Leo's name went on the ASAT... referred to as the "lawsuit" model because (allegedly) when Leo sold Fender, he also sold the rights to put the name "Fender" on a product.
    Not sure how much I believe that, as CBS was long gone by then and FMIC was really coming into their stride with the Standards.

    Love my S500....
    Need to dig it out and get some new pictures.


    mvc-033x.jpg
     
  12. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    G&L are great guitars, in build quality and reputation. And yes, the company was started by Leo Fender and his partner George Fullerton. all of the guitars were designed by Leo Fender.
     
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  13. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    The "lawsuit" as over Leo putting that "Leo Fender" signature decal on the headstock; it was on all G&Ls for a brief time. G&L moved it down to the body to get around whatever trademark was associated with putting the word "Fender" on the headstock. BBE dropped the signature decal at some point in 1992 or 1993.

    I remember when the George Fullerton Signature came out - it originally came with whatever V-neck shape they were using in the mid-90s, and it was the first G&L to have their in-house single coils (I suppose they still had sets of the Duncans that they had to use up on the Legacy models), and it had vintage-style Strat wiring (tone for the neck pickup, tone for the middle pickup, no tone on the bridge pickup) instead of the PTB wiring, and they revived the idea of putting a signature decal on the body but this time with George's signature.

    I've only wound up owning 2 G&Ls so far; of the two this is the one I wish I had kept - the reasonably short-lived ASAT Special Deluxe model; this was a 2002 that I spec'ed out:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    A Fullerton ASAT is certainly on my wish list.

    I keep going back and forth on my Climax.
    The desire to "tinker" has me wanting to replace the pickups... but it is currently 100% bone stock and has very few hours on it. Absolutely a "closet classic"... black-silver swirl with rosewood.

    But it really doesn't have much value, and I doubt upgrading the pickups would change what it might sell for.
    Given that it really isn't a "player", I should keep it stock.
     
  15. Elvis v

    Elvis v Strat-O-Master

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    G&L in America inspects the imports. And the imports use USA pickups. They are made by Cort that makes PRS SE guitars. Paul is fussy and has the guitars SE PRS inspected for any defects and set up. G&L dose that as well. Fine guitars. The American G&L is better than a Fender guitar. Leo and Gorge improved the old design's. Leo did not want to make the old design's. He had moved passed that in that point in his life. But he relented why? Who knows? He also made some new design's. Some have been forgotten about and not made in a while.
     
  16. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr Strat-Talk Member

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    I'm glad G&L is finally, at least a little bit, moving away from the "we make Fender clones-- but also, we're the REAL Fender" mantra that gripped them in the 1990's and 2000's, and bringing back some of the more unique guitars from their lineup. It was unfortunate that the re-issued F100 and SC-2 didn't take off, but I think the more recent successes of the Skyhawk and Espada are pretty encouraging.

    I'm sure they're limiting the number of new models as a function of the scale of their operation, but I think there are a few line additions that could potentially be a hit:

    - A new model using the Fallout/SC body, top-routed, with a 24" scale, effectively an evolved Musicmaster\Mustang\Duo-Sonic. This formula has already found some success in the recently-released "Fallout" bass.

    - A re-imagined S500 using the original body style (shared with the Skyhawk), utilizing the MFD pickup format currently seen on the "ASAT Classic S" instead of the "soapstick" pickups of the original. Pickup position and layout were, as far as I know, the most significant difference between the original S500 and the Skyhawk-- the S500 being more Tele-like, the Skyhawk being more Strat-like.

    - A re-imagined L-1500 combining a front-position MFD humbucker (per the L-1000) with a rear-position mini-humbucker (per the Toro and Lynx basses of the 80's), or a new side-winder mini-humbucker fitting the MFD soapbar single-coil format. This would be, effectively, the "L-series" equivalent of a P-J bass.

    - A follow-up to the Kiloton, adding the mini-humbucker (or sidewinder) described above to the front position, not unlike a J+MM pickup format.
     
  17. karlx

    karlx New Member!

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    It's head and shoulders better than an MIM. Frankly I've never played a US Fender (this decade vintage) that was a good guitar worth its price. The Tribute G&L's have US pickups and substantially improved hardwares while Fender's thing is to retain the early 'mistakes' that give charm and character. They had the satin block saddles on the 90s strats and went back to bent steel. Not everything is purely rational and optimal, so it's a little more than right and wrong here, there is aesthetic subjectivity and all that. I have just always hated the nasaly, glassy tone of the first three strat positions and it mystifies me that this guitar has been so thoroughly the instrument of choice of the past half century. The G&L analogs all address the issues that I dislike, but which many people aren't bother by.
     
  18. Strums

    Strums Strat-O-Master

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    FWIW --- My new (recently purchased from Sweetwater) Tribute Legacy had tuning problems. It would be all over the place 10 minutes after tuning. Sometimes I'd turn the B tuner and the pitch of the string wouldn't change. After I replaced the nut (TUSQ - $15) and tuners (Kiesel lockers CLT6C - $55) it plays great.

    I really like the neck profile and I like the treble and bass controls.
    I bet the Fullerton G&L's are really nice.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021