#1
Looking at some used strats, trying to stay under $350. Mostly just looking for a maple fretboard, straight up classic sound. Gonna drop some Fralin 54s or Vintage Hots into it. I've seen a handful of decent MIM strats, from the 90s up to early 2000s, and one or two G&L Tributes. Anyone have enough experience with both guitars to compare?
#2
JustRooster is your man.

My lesser experience is this: they're both going to be relatively well made, with a slight nod in quality going to G&L. But their ergonomics are going to differ a bit, with G&Ls feeling a bit more...modern.

Another guitar that might be in your vicinity worthy of consideration would be something like a Godin Progression or Session.

But, good as Fralins, etc. are, unless you know those pickups already and are just looking for an inexpensive chassis for them, I wouldn't commit to the swap until I had given the stock pickups a nice test drive. Heck...I might even look around to see if anyone made a guitar with them stock.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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#3
Yo,

I agree with Danny in that the G&L's have more of a modern feel. The DFV you'll find on the tributes are the exact same as the American stuff. They're generally heavier guitars because of the hardware, but a lot of that will translate into sustain with the ultimately superior bridge on the G&L. The Tribute also has the PTB system, so instead of a pair of tone knobs it is wired as basically a high pass and a low pass filter, so that may be more or less to your liking. The guitar overall feels bigger, oddly. I've owned 3 or 4 of these and I felt throughout on all of them that the sound is boomier, beefier, and overall more modern. The necks are also beefier, so you'll want to work on your endurance if you're doing a lot of single note work down low.

The MIM Strat is a standard. I've owned a couple hundred thousand of these. They're great because you can get them cheap. They're not as consistent as the Tributes. Most are just fine, some are junk, a small handful are complete gems. The key is to play around until you find the right one. The 6-screw is a battle-tested tremolo, but if you're a whammy-bar-abuser I'd say the DFV will probably hold tuning better without investing in locking tuners and a better nut. It also has a bit of a broader, more hollow sound? I hesitate to call it thinner, because that sounds as if it's bad, but most people might say that in comparison. It will definitely sound more vintage, and more like the other Strats you've heard on countless SRV/Jimi/Eric Johnson kind of songs.

Which would I buy? Depends on what music I'm playing. For music the 90's and newer, probably G&L. Anything before the great awakening of flannels and angst I would go with the Fender. Another way to decide is if you like classic Strat sounds regardless of feel, go Fender. If you like the Strat feel/look and enjoy an array of sounds, get the G&L. The G&L is more versatile and more reliable, but the MIM Strat's just irreplaceable. It's a Steinbeck novel; it may not be the best book around, but none of them are like it, even the copycats.

One thing I will tell you, it's a hell of a lot easier to flip an MIM Strat or trade if off if you get tired of it. G&L's sit on Craigslist for a billion years because most people don't know how good they actually are.

EDIT: Whoa, apologies for the wall of text. I have a lot of thoughts on different S-types!
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Last edited by JustRooster at Dec 11, 2016,
#4
dannyalcatraz

I've compared Strat to novels, dresses and cars all in a 24hr period. If anyone's proud of me, I know it's you.
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#5
Since you're here, oh genie of the lamp, how would you sort out the various Stratclones in G&L's product line? Which is the most like a standard Strat, tonally?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#6
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Since you're here, oh genie of the lamp, how would you sort out the various Stratclones in G&L's product line? Which is the most like a standard Strat, tonally?


This counts as your second wish.

Most like a "traditional" Stratocaster is the Legacy. It's oddly the most recent, too. It's the only one of the three that uses Alnico V pickups, and it's specifically designed to get that quack and chime that Strats are known for. They even call the neck profile "Modern Classic." It's a Strat with a better bridge for all intents and purposes.

Second is the surprisingly the Comanche in my opinion. The put brass saddles on it, Modern Classic neck, and the Z-coils sound really vintage despite their looks.

S500 is probably the most modern. MFD's and a it has a 12" radius and wider nut than the other two. Definitely more of a "Shredders Strat." It's also my favorite of the three, but I tend to like more modern Strats than vintage.

Again, that's just how I view them. FumbleFingers may weigh in on this one, since he owns like 50 of each.
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#8
That was helpful, and DEFINITELY not what I'd have expected. (I thought it was Legacy, S500 then Comanche.)

And yeah...FumbleFingers, where Y'At?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
i'll throw in my 2 cents. you can't go wrong either way for the most part. now on the MIMs you mentioned 90s-early 2000s which may not be what you want. 2006 on have taller frets and the electronics and tem block are a little better. the ones you mentioned have a crap trem block and the frets are vintage spec. of course some will like the vintage spec frets (I do) but many that are used to playing more modern guitars might not.

personally I don't thing the G&Ls feel the same as a strat and don't really sound exactly the same either. if you want that vintage strat chime then they don't really deliver that (neithr do MIM pups to be fair).
#10
Quote by JustRooster
Yo,


EDIT: Whoa, apologies for the wall of text. I have a lot of thoughts on different S-types!


Thanks! I'm unclear what you mean by "modern" in feel... I should probably just go down to the shop that stocks G&L and try out a few. Last time I played one was years ago, but I do remember the neck being a lot thicker than what I was used to playing.

It's a tough decision because I love versatility, but I do need some guitars that are good at specific sounds. My primary guitar right now is a Yamaha Pacifica USA-II, which is a beautiful and great sounding guitar, but doesn't quite nail the sounds I need on stage (funk/pop/disco wedding stuff). The Yamaha is great as a feature instrument, but in a large ensemble with 3+ vocalists and a horns, it tends to be either too mellow or too up-front. It's running a JB in the bridge, Vintage Rails in the mid, and Lil 57 at the neck, and they all go to single-ish with the coil tap. But it's not true single coil tone, and the humbuckers are a little too harsh in the mix.

The bridge was actually what motivated me to check out the G&Ls. My Yahama has Wilkinson trem bridge and it's nice and solid, so the strat bridges always look a little flimsy. I use the whammy seldom enough that I don't bother to keep the bar in or even around, and just pull up the back end of it. Might do that once or twice an entire gig.

As for the Fralins, I recently put a set of their Twangmasters in another guitar I have (Fender Toronado) and they sound fantastic. Really punchy humbucker tone and they just scream with overdrive - perfect for rock, blues, or Nashville lead stuff. Based on that experience and my need for a more classic Strat-type tone, I wanted to put some singles in my Yamaha, but then decided to just go for the whole package and get actual strat tone while keeping my precious Yamaha the way it is. If I got the G&L of course I'd consider keeping the stock pickups before buying new ones.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 16, 2016,
#11
I do like Wilkinson hardware. The trems on my Fret-Kings are soooooo stable.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
Both guitars are a pretty great value for legit players. Both have some variability in build quality with a nod going to G&L on this. I have played both and if I found one I liked would not hesitate to own and gig with either one. Finding one I liked would be more important than brand at this price point.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#13
Quote by Cajundaddy
Both guitars are a pretty great value for legit players. Both have some variability in build quality with a nod going to G&L on this. I have played both and if I found one I liked would not hesitate to own and gig with either one. Finding one I liked would be more important than brand at this price point.


This. ^^^^^^

I don't think you could go wrong with either of them TBH. Play them both and buy whatever one you like the most.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#15
Quote by Cajundaddy
if you want that vintage strat chime then they don't really deliver that (neithr do MIM pups to be fair).


This is what the Fralins are for. I'm eyeing the Real 54s for extra punch/quack in rhythm playing. Maybe the Vintage Hots. Anyone tried either of those? It's hard to tell just how they all sound from youtube demos.
#16
Well I went and put the G&L I'm thinking of in my hands for a few minutes and it was pretty nice. The Neck is only a touch larger than the Yamaha and about the same as my Fender. I just wish it was matte finish like the Yamah, but it's not like I'm shredding. Unfortunately I wasn't playing through a good enough amp to get a good feel on the pickups, but the guy at the shop plugged it into a "normal" amp for a second and it sounded pretty much like a Strat. I also have no qualms with replacing the pickups, as I had already planned on swapping them in the hypothetical MIM Strat. In fact I actually already ordered Real 54 neck and middle pickups, but it's taken so absurdly long that I'm not certain the shop ever placed my order with Fralin.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 17, 2016,
#18
Quote by Tony Done
I wouldn't think about swapping pickups until I had given it a fair go through my gear.


I'm all but decided for the G&L, in which case I would definitely hold off the pickup replacement. Now I'm just waiting for another blueburst maple fretboard Legacy to show up on eBay. Or maybe a cherry/red one. There's also a really gorgeous orange ASAT Bluesboy semi hollow...
#19
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#20
Those are real nice, but unfortunately I'm a used guitar budget. But I've got my eye on this one: https://reverb.com/item/1792520-g-l-legacy-blueburst-mint and this one https://reverb.com/item/3283049-g-l-legacy-tribute-black

and I was sorely tempted by this one, but it's just not the tone I need: https://reverb.com/item/3609011-2014-g-l-asat-classic-bluesboy-semi-hollow-tribute-orange-w-tweed-hard-case
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 18, 2016,
#21
cdgraves

Hey, Tributes are worthy guitars. Those look great- I'd go for that blueburst, personally.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#23
I'm narrowing in on that blueburst for sure. The black looks really slick, but I've already got a very sexy black/tortoise Fender Toronado. And the blue matches the dark navy suit I wear at most of my gigs.

Although I did find a black/white paisley patterned pickguard for G&L bodies, and it would look totally awesome on the black one.


UPDATE: got the blue one. Paid a little more than I wanted to, but it's supposed to still have the plastic on the pickguard. I did go out and play a couple of Tributes today, though they had rosewood necks, and decided I might swap out the bridge pickup for something a little thicker, maybe a noiseless single.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 18, 2016,
#24
There are several sites that will make custom pickguards, so that's not an issue.

As for the pickups...

Wait until you've given it a good tryout & posted your NGD here (following all the rules, of course). They might sound better- or worse- when played with your own rig.

And as you will probably find out, there are all kinds of suggestions you'll get on pickups around here, depending on your budget.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#25
They are $500 new. 420 seems too much for a used one.
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#26
Quote by romeozdistress
They are $500 new. 420 seems too much for a used one.


420 is never too much...

Yes, in my market they go "new" at the local shops for $539, so $450 was a bit more than I had hoped to pay, but I am assured that it's basically untouched (plastic film still on the pickguard etc). As long as the condition is as "mint" as advertised, I guess I can consider it a really cheap new instrument. I was also very specific in that I wanted a maple fretboard strat-style G&L, so options were limited and I didn't want to wait for weeks. I could have had one for less, however, this being in part a christmas gift, I decided to get exactly what I wanted, which was professional quality instrument that is also beautiful and distinctive. Despite it being $50 or so more than I could have gotten away with, I'm extremely pleased with my acquisition and can't wait to take on stage.

Quote by dannyalcatraz

As for the pickups...


I played a similar model at the store prior to buying, and I actually thought the pickups sounded really nice. Part of the motivation and expense to get a G&L was knowing that I likely wouldn't have to upgrade the pickups immediately. My main concern right now is how it works with the ensemble.

Edit: and speaking of prices, there were some really gorgeous ASAT Tributes on there for $350-$400. If I had the spare cash I'd get one in a heartbeat
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 20, 2016,
#27
its $500 everywhere, not a great deal imo.
Ibanez Rg 321mh
Squier Classic Vibe 1970s Precision Bass
Guitar Rig 5
Presonus Audiobox
Behringer Truth B2030A
#28
Quote by romeozdistress
its $500 everywhere, not a great deal imo.


If you can find new blueburst maple fretboard G&L Legacy Tribute for under $450 in the Denver area, hats off to you, but a consistent week of searching turned up no such guitar. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra to get what you want when you want it.