Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

G&L more Fender than Fender?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by karnac, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Tone Chase

    Tone Chase Tele-Meister

    Aug 20, 2014
    Windsor ON Canada
    It is pretty simple. Play any well set up guitar without looking at the headstock. That is how you should be looking at this.

    I have 5 Fender guitars, and one G&L. That is only because I had my head stuck in the sand, or living under a rock for much too long.

    I bought the 1996 G&L S-500 from a pawn shop last summer. I put it in my hand and it just felt right. I did not even plug it in.

    I took it home, cleaned it up, then plugged it in. It is the only OMG guitar that I own. Every time I play it, it just impresses the hell out of me. The strings still need to be changed. They are old and corroded, but the G&L is a beast. The neck is a small percentage better in some respects and my 2 keeper USA strats. The voicing on the G&L makes it very, very versatile.

    I still pickup a certain 2010 Fender American Special 90% of the time for daily play, because that is the one sitting on the stand all day, everyday.

  2. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    In 1998, my two main guitars were a 1990 Gibson LP Studio and a 1989 Fender AmStd strat. The strat was my #1. I was on my honeymoon, in Las Vegas(no, didn't get married there), won $560 on a slot, cashed out, went to Cowtown Guitars and bought my 1993 Legacy, as a back up for the strat. Two weeks later, I sold the Fender. The G&L, MY G&L, was and still is The Best strat ive ever played, and I'll die owning it.

  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member



    More like annoyed, perplexed. If St. Leo had wanted to kill off all kinship between the G + L models while he lived, he could have. Did they try to develop and produce T and S style models while he was busy doing something else? Sure. But I've never heard anyone say the guy was devastated.

    I thing the most difficult thing for Leo Fender was he was so sick, sold out to CBS thinking he'd be dead soon, then he got treatment and got better and realized he couldn't get the (FMIC) operation to work as he recommended. So he left in frustration. Any flack he got at MusicMan was not related to these older designs. And things at G + L pretty much went his way, except when FMIC messed with him - for impinging on the old designs, ironically. IF everyone at G + L had listened to the old master and they'd departed more from the old designs, things would've gone smoother. So, IMO he wasn't devastated by anything and in fact he was proved right in his push to get the operation as far from the Established old FEIC designs as he could.

  4. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 20, 2012
    +2 on that headstock and even the G&L logo- looks very stuck in the '70s. I have played a couple of Tele-style G&Ls and they were nice guitars.

  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Squiggly, eh?

    I suppose you have a strong dislike for the P-Bass as well. Same thing, basically:


    I encourage people to spend time and actually look at things a while before you decide they're ugly. Look at the Lefty versions of guitars/basses to get a fresh reboot, to look at things like you might have looked at them the first time you saw your first electric. Look at them sideways, and upside down. Get out of the rut your eyes are in and actually look at things like a designer or design engineer or artist would. Someone from another culture who never saw the old designs is not IMO going to insist the newer variations are ugly and that the old ones are perfect. The old T and S designs are burned too deeply into your cortex - and if so, you've got not objectivity. Your observational skills are shot.


    Now some people are going to accuse me of a double standard since I am such a stickler for painstaking reproduction of existing shapes on reproductions of existing designs. I feel like the G + L product line is possibly the ONLY genuine alternate take on what are some real basic and intuitive designs. There are for practical purposes only a few ways you can configure things - you have to get things a certain amount of distance, visually speaking while retaining great functionality. And G + L does that with several of their guitars.

    Some older guys see young women and they've got strange hairstyles and clothes - and so these men refuse to look. Are they nuts? YES!! Things keep changing; people need to keep growing, and finding beauty in new and challenging things. That is where it is at in life, IMO. :D

  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    You've got to give us some specificity on this. Or we're not going to take this very seriously.

    Normally, when a G + L dealer closes or liquidates their inventor, we hear all about it here and at other boards I frequent. When The Guitar Cabin in Anderson, SC was closing, I drove 400 miles out of my way to buy 3 new USA G + Ls and everyone knew about these deals. When Buffalo Brothers bought the inventory of several dealers that closed in the economic crisis of the end of 2008, people at places like this swooped in to get the bargains.

    I'm just saying, I think it is more likely than not that your dealer's definition of giving things away, and our definition, are not very close at all. :neutral:

    Some people joke that that's the whole reason some guys are here. We wait for dealers to falter, swoop in and make the kill. ;)

  7. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think this headstock goes beautifully with this body.

    Attached Files:

  8. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    Ever since I saw that I was lusting for an Asat Special. And I think Ron Tabuteau plays a music man amp so he is marrying two of Leo's brands ...

  9. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2004
    The Comanche is a nice gtr, but I would like it better if they reversed the Z pup shape
    for the neck and middle pups:

    This would lend a deeper tone to the top 3 strings, not brighter as they are now,
    closer to the bridge for the top strings.

    Didn't Fender once have a CS type of gtr with reversed Z type of pups??

    Personally, hdstock shaped does not matter to me as long as not Lindert-thumbs-up-goofy!
    Tone and solid construction/playability are paramount


  10. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012
    I agree with Boris 100%. The reason I first looked at G&L is because they were different. They sounded different, looked a little different. Our local dealer, ( which switched to Fender and did practically give his stuff away ) let me take a couple home and try them. He knew I was good for it, and expected I'd fall in love. He was right. I bought 2 over a months time. ( I screwed up letting my G&Ls go. But I'll get new ones. )
    The dealer made the switch because his G&Ls weren't selling. They're a great guitar, but small town mom&pop couldn't survive on 2 guitars a month. Now be sells 2 Fenders a day.
    I'm also a Jaguar fan. I looked around and asked what no one else was playing, decided to try Jag. Everyone scoffed, but I love them. I'm open to anything new and different. And I'll shut up now. :)

  11. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

    May 4, 2010
    San Antone
    I think with the ASAT Classic they succeeded in subtracting the shrillness and icepick harshness if the bridge pickup while adding some substance to that of the neck. However. in doing so I think they sacrificed some to the ballsy treble of the traditional telecaster sound. The twang and spank are there but they are more "civilized", for lack of a better term. I love they way G&L's sound, don't get me wrong, but they do sound different.

  12. tonyj

    tonyj Tele-Afflicted

    May 23, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    Interesting thread.

    I own Fender Telecasters, I own a wonderful Ron Kirn 'tele' and I own G&L 'teles'. They are all different, but each is a winner in its own way. Which is best?? They all are ..... and for different reasons.

    I don't wish to upset anyone with my Porsche or Volkswagen analogies, or why we see more VWs than Porsches on the road etc., etc. They are all great guitars, as are VWs and Porsches great cars - with both cars and guitars owing a lot to the influence of one man.(Ferdnand Porsche and Leo).

    The 'Ron Kirn' is just a bloody well built, great sounding example of what any tele type guitar should aspire to. A 'masterpiece' to both my eyes and ears .... 'nuff said.

    Btw I drive a VW most of the time - and no, I don't own a Porsche.

    Some of my 'family' .......

    My take is that I would be happy with any one of the guitars shown if I was forced to sell all but one of them.

    Below, and in order......

    A CS LE 'Nocaster', an AV'52 RI, a one piece Loblolly Pine Ron Kirn 'Barnbucker', a G&L Leo signed 'Broadcaster' and a 98/99 G&L Custom Classic.






  13. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    Reg " devastated " I read about it somewhere, can't recall where
    If anything , his legacy before gl ( at MM ) was a bass with some following even today.
    The guitar model excited people for about 5 minutes
    Even then , the majority of people didn't want any changes.just like today

  14. Dunzie

    Dunzie Tele-Holic


    Well you may well be right. I don't know if I ever got specifics of the deals they had on or what they went to in order to clear them out. Just going by what he told me in terms of G&L sales / rep in general. I see another store in the chain in Quebec, Canada, still has some non-MIA ones reg $600 new on for $400... but that's likely not what you're after. I can ask at my store if there's any left anywhere they can see on the computer, or if he knows of any other stores looking to clear them out.

  15. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Aug 21, 2005
    Hey Jon.
    I think we are sort of trying to say the same thing, but in different ways. I think Leo definitely thought his MFDs were better and had no issues with making retrofitted sizes to sell for the aftermarket as replacements. I had just thought that Dale Hyatt had to push him a little more on making the Tele sized versions because as you said he already wasn't excited about making the Broadcaster/ASAT Special model and probably thought making Tele sized MFDs would lead to the Classic (which you already mentioned he didn't want to do).

    I may be completely wrong about the original headstock change being a MusicMan argument instead of Fender. That period was so short that I had though Fender fought him on it, and then fought him again after the first change when he added the nib to the first MusicMan/large Strat sort of shape at G&L. From the small bits of pieces I've read by, or about Forrest White, his stories seem to change to suit his own needs and how he wanted to be associated with whichever company or argument he was discussing at the time. George Fullerton seems to be a bit more consistent IMO, and Dale Hyatt seems to only be concerned with telling the whole truth as he remembers it. I suppose age changes a lot of things that none of them may have considered worth worrying about or remembering back in the beginning.

    As to some of the other responses throughout the thread, I think the majority of the consistently heavy G&Ls fit within the time period that heavy was considered good. Once you get into the four-bolt necks they don't seem to vary a whole lot more than current Fenders other than there seem to be fewer really light ones. Maybe that's because you don't see 20 of the same models of G&Ls in a store like you will a Fender. By the same token, that also could also indicate more consistency if the highest and lowest weight spread were tighter.

    Another thing I don't see mentioned is that the three-bolt G&L Micro-tilt was a different design than the Fender version which was an improved design regardless of the "quality" issues that are always brought up. The Fender variation has an extra piece held into a pocket in the neck by three wood screws and two of the neck screws are threaded directly into the wood of the neck with the third being a bolt threaded into the metal insert. This allowed for both tolerances to affect the insert and the screws holding the insert in place to come loose and make the third bolt technically useless. The G&L system used three wood screws for direct contact into the neck and eliminated the insert, which Fender also eventually used in a four-bolt configuration on their MIA models.

    I believe that the Bi-Cut neck was invented/patented by Hartley Peavey and licensed by G&L.

    I have a relatively early version of the S-500 that was from the era before they basically made them more Strat-like and I prefer that over almost any Strat I've ever had my hands on. The floating trem gives me no issues and the shape and deeper body cuts are more comfortable.

    Going back to the original question of the post, Fender is obviously Fender because they bought all the rights, but G&L is really only one generation away from genuine Leo Fender concepts throughout his life. People can only guess, but I tend to think that if Leo hadn't sold Fender the current Fender company would be a cross between what it currently is and G&L. Forrest White, George Fullerton, Dale Hyatt, and maybe even Don Randall would have all probably stuck with Leo (or left briefly and returned) and steered him in a similar manner through his various "improvements" while also trying to keep on track with what already worked. The main difference is that Leo wouldn't have had to compete with himself and work around lawsuits so he wouldn't have the problem of being considered another copy.

    By the way, I also really like the Reverend headstocks and have a fairly early US model. Those are also great guitars with nice necks and great sounding pickups.

    A couple that I've had, or still own:





    And the Reverend:


  16. vox Phantom

    vox Phantom Tele-Meister

    Apr 17, 2010
    Wynantskill NY
    My guitar now is a Fender American Deluxe Telecaster and in the past
    I had a couple of G&L Asat Special and a Classic. The Classic was in
    Gretsch Orange if I didn't have Bills I would still have that guitar today.
    Both the Special and Classic had better necks then when I had my Fender
    American Standard.With my Deluxe I love the Compound Radius Neck. In
    this new years I plan on getting another guitar and I will look at G&L I like
    the Special. Now does G&L make a Compound Radius neck:?: That's one
    question also I like the Birds Eye Maple Neck Swamp Ash Body maybe with
    an F Hole with a C shape. Where I live not many store carry G&L but they
    carry Fender. I have checked eBay and seen some good ones but I like
    to play the guitar first before I buy. Is G&L better then Fender I don't know
    I would love to go to there factory and talk to them and tell them what I'm
    looking for.

  17. tonyw

    tonyw Tele-Meister

    Oct 18, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I bought this new in 1996, its a MIA ASAT Special, my no 1 guitar and i have many. I also have some Z coils to make a 12 string tele out of, these things sound fantastic.

    Whats on the headstock never bothers me, its all about how it sounds.

    Attached Files:

  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Beside the Comanche there is the ASAT Z-3, if you want those pups in a T-style body.


  19. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    I think the early music man guitars were the shizz. the sabres etc were just really great strats... really really great... I wish I'd held onto one...

  20. bertramladner

    bertramladner TDPRI Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    Emeryville, CA
    I never liked Fender, and had 4 different US G&L’s, Now I have a US Deluxe Tele w/fralins and it is hands down my favorite guitar which makes me interested in trying more fenders

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