G&L ASAT Special - how different?

John C

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Please excuse me for being such a "Market Research" geek ! (its an occupational habit) I did a quick Google search, and sure enough, its a question been asked many times before.

And there is a clear reason for the confusion. See, in the "Tribute Series", not all the guitars have MFD pickups. Some have Alnico 5 or typical single coil pickups. It would make sense, that these could be locally sourced in Asia. And it don't mean they are bad ! As the Tele pickups (probably Chinese made ) in my Harley Benton TE 52 .. kick plenty booty !

Sound as "Tele" as they wanna sound ...

But the MFD ? Here is the inquiry as done on "The Gear Forum"
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...not-made-in-usa-which-pickups-update.2199175/

Still a shot out to G&L Fullerton might refresh things (I believe I did that once , but its lost in a million e-mails)

There was also confusion because G&L had some models that were exclusive to Musician's Friend/Guitar Center that were named as "Tribute" models but mostly had the Asian-made pickups. As of earlier this year the marketing folk at G&L and MF/GC have given their exclusive models the series name "Placentia" named after a city in Orange County near Fullerton - but cue up the obligatory "placenta" jokes with that name. Regardless the only source for info on these models is MF/GC.

So it depends - even some of the Tribute models will have USA alnico pickups (I think the "regular" Tribute Legacy models have USA pickups) but these exclusives for MF/GC typically have the Asian-sourced pickups. Even that can vary by model.

I hear you about "Market Research geek" being an occupational hazard regarding ferreting out details as I've been in that industry for decades now.
 

Lunch meat

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Mine is a Fullerton made Special (see avatar picture). It’s incredibly versatile, with a great range across the tone knob sweep. I’d like to get some MDF pickups and put them in one of the Eastwood Mosrite clones.
 

StudentGuy

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OK ...Just to followup on my own"advise" ...

I reached out to G&L Customer Service, as as of 27 June 2022, here is
the deal :

"Thank you for the interest in G&L instruments, the MFD pickups on the Tribute models are made at the G&L plant in Fullerton California. The saddle lock bridges for the Tributes are made in Indonesia, the saddle lock bridges used on the Fullerton made models are made in a different country. If you have any further questions email me back, all the best."

Stands to reason that they do not make the bridges, as the processes for molding /forging / machining the steel parts have probably never been a guitar house process... But there it is on the MFD's
 

OmegaWoods

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I have had an ASAT Special in the past (well it was the brief-run ASAT Special Deluxe so it was a maple top over an American Tilia/basswood body), but I didn't have a more regular Tele at the time I had it. That being said I think the ASAT Special can cross over into "typical" Tele territory but it had something else going on. It can twang, but not as much as a Tele or ASAT Classic. I thought it was somewhat in-between a Tele and something with P90s - of course that could have been the model, and I had chosen the G&L over an EBMM Axis SuperSport with their MM90 pickups. I felt that the ASAT Special could nail those Led Zeppelin I tones (Good Times, Bad Times; Communication Breakdown) and Stones-y stuff where Keith could have used a Tele or could have used an LP Junior/Special.

Actually that ASAT Special Deluxe is one of the few guitars I've owned that I had sellers remorse after letting it go; wish I had kept it:

uCQlbKGl.jpg
SO. BEAUTIFUL!
 

John C

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SO. BEAUTIFUL!

Thanks! I really wish I had kept it, but I sold it, a PRS and a '62 Reissue Strat to pay for a '59 Reissue Les Paul. Never did play that LP much; it made me nervous to play the thing. I wound up selling the LP to pay for a new A/C system for the house we had at the time.
 

Blues Twanger

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Try it, you'll like it. Enough like a Tele to be familiar but with a different array of tones to be dialed in. Of any guitar I own mine responds more to changes in volume and tone. They can twang in their own way but they really stand out for how hard they can rock.
 

Vermoulian

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I had an ASAT Special for a long time and one of my bandmates has one now that is one of his go-to gigging guitars. I once went to Guitar Center and played every Tele model they had from low-level Squiers up to Custom Shop exotica, plus an ASAT Special that they had, and the best-sounding one of the bunch was (IMO) the ASAT Special. That's what prompted me to get one, and the only reason I don't still have it is that it had a big beefy V-profile neck which I just never really got comfortable with. (I bought it off eBay and didn't have a chance to play it first.) But I love my bandmate's.

It's an incredibly versatile guitar, and I thought it had plenty of Tele twang. Opinions differ on what defines "Tele sound" but the ASAT Special did it for me. I recommend them without reservation, with the caveat that everybody hears things differently and your mileage may vary.
 

Grandy

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Years ago I played a Tribute ASAT Special at a store and a Classic too, when I was shopping for a tele. The Classic sounded more or less what you'd expect from a tele. The ASAT was way beefier. I was not too keen about that at the time, but I wouldn't mind getting a second chance. I probably didn't adjust the amp for the pickups properly.
 

Les Paul lover

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I own an ASAT Classic and a Special, both tribute models.



I love both. The Classic covers the Tele sounds better (still sounds a bit hotter and beefier than your average Tele), the special just sounds thicker, with much more low end on tap.

The Jumbo MFD are a bit like a Hi-fi P90 - it hasn't got the thick mids of a P90, the sound is more even across the spectrum.
For my average brand of rock, the Special works a bit better for me. Not that I'm giving up the Classic, mind you..... 😉
 

ETMusic777

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Apologies if this has already been covered ad nauseum…

On my way home from work today, I stopped in on a music store I hadn’t been to in years and saw a Tribute-series ASAT Special. I already own an ASAT Classic and a Vintera Modified Tele, both of which are go-to guitars for me. However, I’ve always been intrigued by the larger MFD pickups of the Special - unfortunately, I’ve never had the opportunity to try out such a guitar myself.

Long story short, I tried out the ASAT Special and really liked it. However, I’m not sure how it compares to my ASAT Classic or Fender Tele and whether it is sufficiently different enough to be worth (eventually) acquiring or whether I liked it mostly because it was in familiar Tele territory.

Any thoughts, experiences, anecdotes, advice?
I have had several G&L ASAT Tributes and like them all....however I don't really like the Special very much. I am going to list the pickups for sale, along with the bridge soon on Ebay.

I don't like the cosmetics of that guitar, the way that the MFDs are positioned and do not look very traditional. I am going to get a replacement pickguard and put traditional tele pickups in it.

The guitar plays amazing well, like pretty much all G&Ls do. I just did not care for the cosmetics and the harsh sounding MFDs.

The MFDs to my ear are harsh. I could see them working for a live situation but for recording, they do not do anything that my other guitars do not do a heck of a lot better.

I recently sold a mint Classic to someone but I am keeping my 2020 ASAT Tribute Classic Bluesboy which I absoutely love.

ASAT Tributes are the best Teles in the sub $500 price range in my opinion, only maybe Schecter PTs is on the same level of build quality.
 

Endless Mike

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I owned and gigged regularly with several USA ASAT specials in the 90s. The Hellecasters really set that trend on fire, which was cool as far as trends or fads go. I really liked mine, quite a lot. Eventually, I found myself on gigs missing the closer to classic twang of my ASAT Classics. I say that because the MFD pickups in the Classic aren't exactly vintage or tradition approved tone wise. They sound good, don't misunderstand that. Anyway, if you really like the ASAT classic sound, and you're stuck playing the Special four or five sets a night*, it can be a bummer. If you're just hanging at home, or jamming with friends, just put it down and grab another guitar.

It seems you're over thinking it. If it's just a luxury, and you can afford it, then just freaking do it.


*Some may ask, why didn't you take two guitars with you? When you're playing two to six nights a week, every week, fifty-six weeks a year, for years, you take as little as you can get away with and leave anything you don't really need at home, as some of you already know.
 

Les Paul lover

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I have had several G&L ASAT Tributes and like them all....however I don't really like the Special very much. I am going to list the pickups for sale, along with the bridge soon on Ebay.

I don't like the cosmetics of that guitar, the way that the MFDs are positioned and do not look very traditional. I am going to get a replacement pickguard and put traditional tele pickups in it.

The guitar plays amazing well, like pretty much all G&Ls do. I just did not care for the cosmetics and the harsh sounding MFDs.

That's funny to read - we both have the same guitar, yet our preferences and perceptions are totally opposite.
Goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

I personally love the jumbo MFD and do not find them harsh in anyway, clean or dirty. Also love the special saddle lock bridge, I find it a very neat unit. Well designed, very ergonomic.
Indeed, the special doesn't look like a classic Tele at all. Part of the appeal for me.
 

ETMusic777

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That's funny to read - we both have the same guitar, yet our preferences and perceptions are totally opposite.
Goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

I personally love the jumbo MFD and do not find them harsh in anyway, clean or dirty. Also love the special saddle lock bridge, I find it a very neat unit.

Maybe I was a little harsh....its not a bad guitar at all its just the MFDs to my ears are nothing special and have a gritty top end which I cant dial out with EQ. Onstage thats great but not for recording.
 

Les Paul lover

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Don't worry @ETMusic777, be harsh all you want. My point really was that different people have different tastes and likes.

By the way, I use Orange Amps (AD15, Rocker 30 or Rockerverb 50) or a Genz Benz Black Pearl 30.
I like my cleans to be on the edge of break up most of the time....
 

Endless Mike

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Beautiful thing, aren't they?

Considering the body is a 3 piece swamp Ash, the grain matching is remarkable!
Wow. That's impressive, really impressive. Maybe it's just that I'm looking at a photo, but it's hard to find the seams. And this on an import or "cheap" guitar. 11Guage once said something here about how due to CNC technology, the gap between expensive, high end guitars and something such as these Tribute series, or MIM is disappearing. The main difference was things such as hardware, pickups the quality and cut of the nut. I was a little skeptical at the time, but now see he's absolutely correct. A set up and new nut on my Tribute, and it's as good as anything I've ever owned. Still can't believe I'm saying that.
 




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