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Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by 50sTeleneck, Apr 13, 2021.
I read and watched videos on the G&L ASAT guitars. They look like a good value.
They used to be. Their prices have gone up significantly in the past 10 years, while their quality, IME has gone down from the old days. I only buy old G&Ls now. Too many bad experiences with new ones, and that's before the major price hikes of the regular and Tribute lines. The company has steadily, albeit slowly, gone downhill since BBE bought them in the early '90s, and they have finally gone too far for me.
They're mostly quality built guitars. Can have quirks and be harder to move secondhand. Sort of like PRS vs Gibson.
They 'fix' some issues with Fenders, but the debate can be whether the Fenders needed fixing in the first place....
Sort of, what Leo did next.
They definitely are, especially on the used market.
As my post stated, within the BBE era, the older, the better. The first 10 or 15 years of BBE management didn't do too much damage; they left most things alone, and kept prices down.
I started noticing a quality decline somewhere in the mid to late aughts, and it has only accelerated since then, IME. The "ME" in "IME" consists of about eight G&Ls purchased from that period, a solid 2/3 of which had uncharacteristic quality issues, based on their previously established reputation. Then the prices hiked quite a bit in the past 6 to 8 years, while the quality issues stayed the same, or got even worse. After my last new one, about two years ago, which had unacceptable quality issues at the price, I finally gave up on new ones, and reverted to "vintage" or early BBE only.
The pre-BBE era are top notch...but after this much time and real-world wear and tear, you have to watch out for neck issues (especially on the basses).
I have broad experience with G&Ls, across all eras. At present time, I own 25 G&Ls. I played my first circa 1990, and first owned one in 1996 (still own it). I have three early BBE era basses, and about 7 late BBE era instruments (a majority of these later ones being rare or one-off ones, so kept despite their flaws). A handful of Tributes too, one of which is better built than several of my U.S.A. ones. The rest are pre-BBE, some quite rare (El Toro, Interceptor, certain rare combos of colors and/or features, etc.). They are still my favorite guitar company, all things considered. I just would not buy a new one today.
What about where they are made? USA vs ?
The USA Fullertons and custom shop are still very nice.
Japan, Korea, China, and Indonesia (in that order, IIRC). The MIJ ones were built by Fuji-Gen, and they are just as good as USA ones. The others are more like your typical import line of a U.S. company. They are inconsistent, ranging from awesome quality to firewood.
The import models used to be a huge bang for the buck. Now, they have been hiked up in price, features have been taken away, and even lower quality "dealer exclusive" Tribute versions introduced. I was just posting earlier today about how the new Tributes face competition from used U.S.A. models, and with that being the case, it's more and more silly that anybody would buy a new Tribute at all.
Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've yet to play a G&L that I did not think played incredible, and I've only played ones made since 2010. Granted, it could have been the setup, but I've always been more impressed with G&L then Fender. I think that you get more for you money from G&L, new or used, but Fenders do hold their value better. If you can, find a G&L dealer and play a few ASATs. If you like one, great, and if not try something else. I personally love mine (ASAT Custom Bluesboy Semi-Hollow), and its become the guitar that I can use on anything. Just my two cents, but I've yet to play one I did not like. I wish I could say that about Fender.
Yes, runstendt, I guess you must really be lucky. But I’m right along there with you having absolutely nothing go wrong with owning G&L products. I have 5 G&L telecasters; 3 ASATs, a custom ordered Bluesboy, and a Classic S. Can you imagine how lucky we are? Each of mine are next to flawless! Gosh I’m happy none of mine have neck issues, or a poor finish, or tuning problems. Somebody else must have purchased all those other G&L products that are on the down hill side of the guitar world. Did I mention I have a G&L bass also? Just my luck that I have one of those that just doesn’t have any problems.
A lot of the necks are 1-5/8" wide (at the nut), which is just a bit too narrow for me. ...
or at least that's what I tell myself to keep myself from getting one!
I’ve had four G&Ls (and still own one of them), and all were great...but, all of mine were models from the early 1980’s...
I have a US G&L ASAT with P90s, US Fender Strat (Highway 1), and Japan Fender Tele. All were bought new, but a while ago (between 2003 and 2012, I believe).
Of them the G&L arrived as the best put-together, complete package. I also like the sound of it the best of all my electrics (except for the hum). (It's also the most I payed for an electric).
Despite that it's among the least played. I think it's a combination of being uncomfortable (it's heavy, and I get a welt on my forearm), the P90 buzz gets a little irksome after a while, and I struggle with it a bit more. I want to love it as the sound is special, but I rarely play it for long.
My Highway 1 Strat on the other hand is the least expensive guitar I've bought (got it during an MF "blem" blowout sale) and--while I didn't realize it--didn't arrive all that well put together. But it was my only electric for a long time, and I wore out the frets. After getting it refretted, along with a properly cut nut and correctly shimmed neck, I realized what I was missing and how good it could be. I don't play it much these days, but it's about the last guitar I'd sell.
The Japan Tele is in between. It arrived decently set up and well made, but the switch went bad in a few months.
Only one data point here, but my 2015 U.S. Legacy is a delight.
Maybe fanning the fire then - G&L changed their "standard" neck shape to one with a 1 11/16" nut width in mid-2015 when they went to the current set of neck shapes.
G&L under BBE was exclusively "build to order" until say 2018 - so even store stock was individually specked to order by the dealer - but they always started from a list of "standard" features such as the neck shape. So in the 1990s and 2000s you could get a wider neck (depending on the year they typically had at least 2 wider nut width options) but unless a wider neck was specifically ordered most of them would be one of their 1 5/8" shapes. Since mid-2015 the "standard" neck shape has become their "Modern Classic" shape - 1 11/16" nut width, and a C-shape that is pretty much the same shape as a Fender Modern C (like American Standard, American Special, American Performer necks) and are also 9.5" radius. Since 2018 G&L has a "set-spec" series called the "Fullerton Deluxe" series - no neck options on those; they all come with that "Modern Classic", which is still the "standard" neck on made-to-order (now called "Option Order") models.
EDIT: As to Fender vs. G&L - sure, G&L was Leo's final company, and he hand-picked BBE Sound to buy the company from his widow after he was gone. G&L actually started their transition from "Leo's quirky 1980s creations" to "Fender-style instruments made by a company owned by Leo Fender" in the last couple of years before his death in March 1991. Since BBE took over (not 100% sure when Phyllis Fender handed over the keys to John McLaren Sr. of BBE) they have done things to continue "de-Leo-izing" the instruments somewhat - some things they kept, some things have gone by the wayside like the bi-cut necks (where neck is cut in half lengthwise to insert the truss rod; now they insert the truss rod under the fingerboards). I've played many; owned 2, both BBE-era. I wish I had kept the 2002 ASAT Special Deluxe I owned, but I couldn't get rid of the 2008 ASAT Classic Custom fast enough - loved the old bi-cut constructed 2002 #2 neck (1 5/8, C-shaped, pretty much Modern C depth) and the 7.5" radius that was standard on ASATs back then; the 2008 had their early CNC-routed neck that was fatter and clubbier (like an AV 65 Strat neck/AO 60s Strat neck but a little closer to a D shape).
I do agree that the G&L Option Order guitars can be a bit overwhelming to pick out. My first experience with G&L was a Tribute ASAT Bluesboy, and when I ordered my U.S made Bluesboy I had no idea how complicated it could be. I did not realize that I could order the neck profile, for instance, although once I got it I do enjoy the Modern C shape. However, all of the options are useful, because you can get the exact guitar that you want. I've seen enough complaints on here along the lines of "if only Fender made X guitar with Y neck and Z frets I would be happy/buy a baker's dozen." Well, G&L probably does make that guitar. My only suggestions would be to make sure you know what you actually want, and to go to a local G&L dealer to order it, as opposed to buying whatever MF and Sweetwater happened to order.
It really depends on your idea of "value". I have yet to pick up a G&L that was not a quality build with nice attention to detail. When I bought my mid 90's ASAT (pictured in Avatar) it was considerably less expensive than comparable Teles, I don't see that today. Unfortunately, there just seems to be something missing and I primarily reach for other guitars first. I think the Tribute series can be a great buy. If you have the chance to try it before you buy and you like it you will have an instrument that you will be happy with for a long time.
Id agree with this assessment. 90s ones and earlier present good value. The US ones are good guitars still, just not really any better than an equal cost Fender. If it comes to aesthetics primarily, I’ll take Fender.
People seem to always get excited around here about the Musicians Friend deals over the import ones it seems like every month. I’ve never been inspired at all by an import one I’ve tried. I’d take a Squier CV over one every day of the week.
Hmmm. I heard the G&L necks were a tad wider.
update: I read the posts after this one that explained neck widths. Thanks