G&L Tribute ASAT Classic

Endless Mike

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I've been wondering what the deal is with these guitars. I bought one about two months ago, and I was apprehensive as I've heard mixed reports. But it was in used, but new condition, for 375.00. With shipping and tax it was 425.00. I took it to my luthier/repair person, and upon return, what had been a really good guitar, very impressive, was now stellar. I certainly didn't expect what I received either upon arrival, or after getting it back from the shop. And this after years of various Fender, American G&Ls, Zion, even a Glaser tele at one point in the 90s. This guitar can keep up with any of these. The only downside is it weighs a bit more than my Baja tele.

So did the Tribute series go through a period of bad production? Is it more that some people can't get past an inexpensive guitar made in Indonesia? Some of both? Something else?

I'm really glad I went through with it, as the guitar is *great*, although I'm not sold on the MFD design pickups. They sound good, but they have a punch that really can't be dialed out. I roll back the volume and that helps, but then it loses the something I like about them. I ordered a Nocaster and Lioness set from Rob D, and I'm sure they'll be great. I love everything that guy makes and have used his pickups exclusively since 2010/2011, so I expect the guitar will be further improved still yet.

One last thing. Apparently G&L are using sassafras for the bodies since 2020. I've never heard of that wood for guitars, or anything before, but read that there's an Eric Johnson strat made of this wood. To quote Mr. Spock "Fascinating"
 

OmegaWoods

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Congrats! Glad you love your G&L and you're impressed with the build quality.

I watched a video yesterday by Paul Davids talking about great guitars under 250 Euros ($260 US at today's exchange rate) and he came to the conclusion that there are a bunch of great guitars at that incredibly low price point. We live in an age with tons of serviceable guitars at super-duper low prices. Heck, I just bought a $849 Epi Les Paul with a beautiful top and Gibson electronics which is better than most of the Gibson's I've played for way more than twice the price.

It's not G&L specifically, it's just supply and demand (in my considered opinion.)

 

41144

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Had a Tribute Bluesboy for years, fantastic guitar for the money. I too hated the ceramic pickup and swapped for an AlNiCo one ... I'd agree there's are folk who won't consider stuff from outside the USA/can't believe anything else could meet their expectations. Personally, and especially regarding brand name items, if it plays/sounds good and is built to last ... I really don't care.
 

Endless Mike

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Congrats! Glad you love your G&L and you're impressed with the build quality.

I watched a video yesterday by Paul Davids talking about great guitars under 250 Euros ($260 US at today's exchange rate) and he came to the conclusion that there are a bunch of great guitars at that incredibly low price point. We live in an age with tons of serviceable guitars at super-duper low prices. Heck, I just bought a $849 Epi Les Paul with a beautiful top and Gibson electronics which is better than most of the Gibson's I've played for way more than twice the price.

It's not G&L specifically, it's just supply and demand (in my considered opinion.)
Someone I know and have a lot of confidence in, as they really know about these things, said something to the effect that due to CNC technology, there's not much of a gap, if any between a really high end guitar, and a budget model, except for things such as pickups, hardware and the like.
Had a Tribute Bluesboy for years, fantastic guitar for the money. I too hated the ceramic pickup and swapped for an AlNiCo one ... I'd agree there's are folk who won't consider stuff from outside the USA/can't believe anything else could meet their expectations. Personally, and especially regarding brand name items, if it plays/sounds good and is built to last ... I really don't care.
I have to think there's an element of perception at work, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. It's the very thing that makes "perceived value" marketing and sales effective, let alone possible. In this case, it's not just a fantastic guitar for the money it's a fantastic guitar period. If I'd paid several hundred more, I wouldn't be disappointed at all. I had a US ASAT Classic a few years ago, and it wasn't nearly the player this Tribute is. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. I sold that guitar because of issues I had with it, and I won't be selling the Tribute, it's one of those that just has that certain *something*. I have only picked up my Baja three times since the G&L arrived, one of those to take it in for maintenance last week.

Guess I should be careful, G&L will raise their prices if this gets back to them. ;)
 

hemingway

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I have a Tribute ASAT deluxe that's just fantastic. One of the most playable necks I've ever encountered. Just a fantastic feel to it.

Gripes:
I found the buckers a little muddy, so I put P90s in it.
The fret edges are rolled too much for my liking.

Other than that, it's hard to believe that guitars that cheap are so good.
 

andy__d

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I believe a lot of the negative vibe on G&L comes from them being often sold cheap as “stupid deal of the day” on Musician’s Friend. Out of the box, my experience with both G&Ls I’ve bought new, was that they needed a proper set up. Once set up, they are lively guitars that play really well. I fear some online commentators may have been expecting that their UPS driver would do the job of a guitar store tech and have it all nicely set up for you when you take it out of the factory box…
 

John C

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I believe a lot of the negative vibe on G&L comes from them being often sold cheap as “stupid deal of the day” on Musician’s Friend. Out of the box, my experience with both G&Ls I’ve bought new, was that they needed a proper set up. Once set up, they are lively guitars that play really well. I fear some online commentators may have been expecting that their UPS driver would do the job of a guitar store tech and have it all nicely set up for you when you take it out of the factory box…

Until recently there were essentially 2 levels of "Tribute" models - the "regular" ones sold at a bunch of dealers and the models that are exclusive to Musician's Friend/Guitar Center which show up as the "stupid deal of the day" that were spec'ed somewhat below the "regular" Tributes.

Earlier this year G&L and MF/GC updated their exclusive models and have applied the name "Placentia" (a city near Fullerton in Southern California) to them to eliminate some of that confusion.
 

StudentGuy

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One last thing. Apparently G&L are using sassafras for the bodies since 2020. I've never heard of that wood for guitars, or anything before, but read that there's an Eric Johnson strat made of this wood. To quote Mr. Spock "Fascinating"
So after I bought my first Harley Benton TE 52, I contacted HB to see if the TE 52 was in fact made of Sassafras, because of an article I read, that Cort, the large Asian manufacturing house, was using it in place of scarcer woods, like Ash...

They showed pics of slabs, and the grain patterns are very similar. Harley Benton's reply was that for the price of the TE 52... they would not be using Sassafras. That the TE 52 was as advertised, North American Ash.

That gives me the impression, that sassafras is more expensive . Both have beautiful grain patterns. And are heavy (I can attest for the Ash)
 

kuch

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I'm really glad I went through with it, as the guitar is *great*, although I'm not sold on the MFD design pickups. They sound good, but they have a punch that really can't be dialed out.
Hey EM,

congrats on getting your asat.

I picked up a US asat classic thinline earlier this year and I had to tweak the pickup poles to get it to sound how I liked it. I'm not sure if your tech adjusted the pickups but you might want to try playing with it. Just take it slow because sometimes a 1/4 turn makes quite a difference.

have fun!
 

Digital Larry

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I have one although it's "Special" rather than "Classic". It is perhaps my favorite guitar for several months now. At first I wasn't happy with the pickup adjustments but I twiddled them up and down and it's pretty nice now.
 

KeithDavies 100

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A few years ago my teenage niece was ready to "graduate" from her first acoustic to an electric. My brother-in-law asked my advice on what to buy her, and I said leave it with me. We drove down for a visit and I took two guitars that I'd bought on eBay. One was an ASAT and the other was a very pretty hollow body that I thought might be more "girlish" - sexist, I guess, but there we are. Anyway, I'd played them both and was hoping like hell I'd get to keep the ASAT!

I told her I'd bought these two guitars - implying for myself - and invited her to play them and see what she thought. She liked both of them, but thought the ASAT was "really cool". So I said, okay, that one's yours! She still has it. I should really buy another one!
 

Endless Mike

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Until recently there were essentially 2 levels of "Tribute" models - the "regular" ones sold at a bunch of dealers and the models that are exclusive to Musician's Friend/Guitar Center which show up as the "stupid deal of the day" that were spec'ed somewhat below the "regular" Tributes.

Earlier this year G&L and MF/GC updated their exclusive models and have applied the name "Placentia" (a city near Fullerton in Southern California) to them to eliminate some of that confusion.
That explains much, thanks for the info. I saw that Placentia name while shopping for the Tribute I finally bought. Glad I dodged that bullet without even knowing about it. Something offputting about that name, makes me think of placenta. Ooh, the afterbirth model! Yoikes!
 

Endless Mike

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So after I bought my first Harley Benton TE 52, I contacted HB to see if the TE 52 was in fact made of Sassafras, because of an article I read, that Cort, the large Asian manufacturing house, was using it in place of scarcer woods, like Ash...

They showed pics of slabs, and the grain patterns are very similar. Harley Benton's reply was that for the price of the TE 52... they would not be using Sassafras. That the TE 52 was as advertised, North American Ash.

That gives me the impression, that sassafras is more expensive . Both have beautiful grain patterns. And are heavy (I can attest for the Ash)
Yeah, I had an ash guitar some years back that weighed more than I cared for. It was more than this G&L. Now when I pickup my Baja, it feels like a very light swamp ash guitar I had some time ago. The G&L is heavy, but not Les Paul heavy.
 

Endless Mike

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Hey EM,

congrats on getting your asat.

I picked up a US asat classic thinline earlier this year and I had to tweak the pickup poles to get it to sound how I liked it. I'm not sure if your tech adjusted the pickups but you might want to try playing with it. Just take it slow because sometimes a 1/4 turn makes quite a difference.

have fun!
I've played with the pole pieces on MFD pickups over the years (my first G&L was a Nighthawk back in the 80s) and it's never done it for me. I can only lower the bridge so far, as the screws apparently are not long enough. But Rob D's Cavalier Holy Grail Nocaster and Lioness arrived today, so it's moot point.

I don't think the MFDs sound bad, but they have a Barden like quality that is iron fist in a velvet glove. It was the same story with my last US G&L, but I'll keep the MFDs, I may have use of them later.
 

Boris Von Teufel

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EM, deja vu! I got a good deal on a G&L Tribute ASAT Classic (transparent orange w/maple board) on craigslist. Loved the way it played but plugged in, those P/Us were just too shrill. I got the Holy Grail Lion & Wolf from Rob @ Cavalier, had them installed by Skip from Goez Instruments in St. Louis. He did the usual setup as well and...Boy Howdy! The Holy Grail bridge is one of the most responsive P/Us I've encountered. The stock V & T controls seem to have a much wider range than w/the stock MFDs. The big surprise was the wolf neck P/U. No mud at all even w/low tone control settings. Both together & you've got more great tones on tap. I'm sure you'll love the Cavaliers. P/Us aside, the guitar is no lightweight. Specs say it's sassafras & it feels like my buddy's 70 ash Fender Tele which is a bit over 9 lbs. Hope it works out for you.
 

StudentGuy

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The fret edges are rolled too much for my liking.
H'mmm ... that is interesting. G&L does not claim "rolled fretboard edges" in their specs/ features, but that does not mean that they are not doing it. But usually as a perceived "Positive", makers shout it from the roof tops when they do.

So, I would be diggin' on that ...

I fondled a used PRS 513 (a Discoed Core model) and it had obvious rolled edges... (sexy !) which I accounted to its "high end " pedigree...

As for the pickups ...There is this "Hate it /Love it" divide, but You Tubers (and Dealers) like Andertons' in the UK, and Darrell Braun and that Chapman guy that would appear with Andertons, and more recently "Danish Pete" ... all seem to dig 'em... and from the video presentations . they sound pretty awesome ...

Finally ... G&L includes (or has at least, not announced as change) the US made MFD in their Tribute (Asian) made guitars, along with other stuff like bridges ...

So if the rolled fretboard edges are true ... I may have to change direction on the Sire I have been holding out for ... and pounce on what is available ...
 

StudentGuy

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Congrats! Glad you love your G&L and you're impressed with the build quality.

I watched a video yesterday by Paul Davids talking about great guitars under 250 Euros ($260 US at today's exchange rate) and he came to the conclusion that there are a bunch of great guitars at that incredibly low price point. We live in an age with tons of serviceable guitars at super-duper low prices. Heck, I just bought a $849 Epi Les Paul with a beautiful top and Gibson electronics which is better than most of the Gibson's I've played for way more than twice the price.

It's not G&L specifically, it's just supply and demand (in my considered opinion.)


As for this You Tube presentation ...

I agree 110% with the premise, that very good guitars (good enough for Hobbyist Guys, like myself) can be had for much less money that we would have initially thought ...

I mean, I started out buying only Ammurican made Fender & Gibson ... But now .. after so many positive , high value off shore made guitars ,I gotta wonder if I will ever bust out $2K or so for an Amerrrican made (although high quality) piece again (PRS S2 McCarty 594 thinline... if they HOLD the price)

But I think my man missed a point above ...

The Harley Benton ST 62... with it "Caramelized (roasted) Maple neck & Fretboard". I have this neck on my TE 52 Tele models. I absolutely Truckin love it !!! Heck , Fender wants $350 for necks roasted in
Mexico !!! The HB "caramelized" (I wish they would just say ROASTED, because I can never spell caramelized !) neck is super smooth, and the frets are well finished . Not rolled , but damm close

What he miss ? Buy the HB ! and toss the pickguard / pickups and get some decent MIM or USA pickups to replace them. Heck, the guitar cost $150 US (about the cost of USA pickups) so for less than $500, you would have a Strat type, that would sound Stratty, and have a waay cooler neck than any MIM (except maybe a $1100 MIM Player Plus) or almost $2K MIA Ultra ...

And the sucker comes with its own Work Out Program !!! (Apparently , this ST 62, is heavy... Like my adored TE 52 ) ...
 

OmegaWoods

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As for this You Tube presentation ...

I agree 110% with the premise, that very good guitars (good enough for Hobbyist Guys, like myself) can be had for much less money that we would have initially thought ...

I mean, I started out buying only Ammurican made Fender & Gibson ... But now .. after so many positive , high value off shore made guitars ,I gotta wonder if I will ever bust out $2K or so for an Amerrrican made (although high quality) piece again (PRS S2 McCarty 594 thinline... if they HOLD the price)

But I think my man missed a point above ...

The Harley Benton ST 62... with it "Caramelized (roasted) Maple neck & Fretboard". I have this neck on my TE 52 Tele models. I absolutely Truckin love it !!! Heck , Fender wants $350 for necks roasted in
Mexico !!! The HB "caramelized" (I wish they would just say ROASTED, because I can never spell caramelized !) neck is super smooth, and the frets are well finished . Not rolled , but damm close

What he miss ? Buy the HB ! and toss the pickguard / pickups and get some decent MIM or USA pickups to replace them. Heck, the guitar cost $150 US (about the cost of USA pickups) so for less than $500, you would have a Strat type, that would sound Stratty, and have a waay cooler neck than any MIM (except maybe a $1100 MIM Player Plus) or almost $2K MIA Ultra ...

And the sucker comes with its own Work Out Program !!! (Apparently , this ST 62, is heavy... Like my adored TE 52 ) ...
Thanks, agree about the HB, although I've not played one, they look great and have great reviews. Reviewers review for eyeballs. I'm sure he spent a short time with each, jotted down initial impressions, ranked them and shipped them off to their new home. His point (and mine) is that there are lots of great guitars at the sub-400 price point.

That holds the price of non-premium guitars down, fortunately for us.
 

Si G X

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So did the Tribute series go through a period of bad production? Is it more that some people can't get past an inexpensive guitar made in Indonesia? Some of both? Something else?

Not bad production exactly but they did seem to go through a period where they weren't set up very well and fret ends etc were not up to some of the other Asian made guitars. So I guess it depends on how you feel about that, some people accept that kind of thing for the price. Some shops will deal with that before they put them on sale, other don't.

I don't know if that's changed.

The fact you bought yours 'used but new condition' and took it straight to a 'luthier/repair person' suggests maybe it hasn't?
 




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