Price paid: $ 489
Purchased from: www.music123.com
Sound — 10
I play mostly blues and classic rock, which suits this guitar perfectly, but it can put out a strong variety of tones. The combination of the tone knobs and both pickup toggle switches allow you more freedom than any other guitar I've played. I won't list every tone you can get but for what I play it works the whole range from sharp distorted tones to mellow cleans. If you want a ridiculously heavy tone for metal then of course there's better, but you could still do worse and as I said it's very flexible as far as sound goes.
Overall Impression — 10
I'm 18 and have been playing for over two years. My other guitar is a Takamine acoustic and my first guitar, which I still have, is a Squier Strat. Needless to say, this thing blows the Squire away, and I would put it even or above most Fender Strats I've played, especially considering the price. I play through a little Fender Frontman amp but the guitar still manages to sound good. If this guitar were stolen I would hunt down the guy that stole it and personally see to it that he eats the rest of his meals through a tube. It's built on par with much more expensive guitars and plays and sounds great, I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't play live but I wouldn't hesitate to gig with this guitar. I've been playing it for almost a month and everything's solid. Of course having a backup is always preferable to no backup, but you could definitely depend on this guitar without one. As far as construction goes, although the guitars are made by machine in Korea to cut costs, they are held to the same quality control standards as the normal, upper level G&L guitars, and they use the same electronics, which are installed exactly the same way in the US. G&L cuts costs for these models only by limiting the number of available options and using overseas machine assembly rather than in-country hand assembly.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was well packaged, and definitely tuned from the factory although after shipping it was off by a bit, as is understandable. The pickups were adjusted perfectly, the finish, wood, hardware, and everything else was perfect with no flaws. The neck is smooth and personally fits my playing very well. It's small enough that it doesn't hold me back as far as speed, and thick enough to provide support for bends. It feels very natural to play, there's very little effort. The action of the strings came set high enough that sweep picking might be difficult but for fast runs it's no hindrance and the height makes bends very easy. I know string action is pretty much personal style and preference but it's a good balance and wouldn't take much lowering if you wanted it faster.
Features — 10
The guitar came with a tag saying it was made in May, 2005, and the name of the factory guy who set it up. The Tribute models are mostly assembled in Korea but the electronics are installed in the US. It has 22 frets, a maple neck, the blueburst finish, and a white pearl pickguard. There's an extra pickup toggle Switch for extra pickup combos which aren't featured on Fender strats. It has a dual-fulcrum tremolo, two tone knobs and one volume knob, and three single coil pickups, all the knobs are metal. Comes with only two springs in the trem but it's easy enough to stick more in if you feel like you need to. Also came with tools, a whammy bar, and a G&L logo soft case which is excellent, never detunes the guitar, provides good protection, and has a strap to hold the headstock in place. The blueburst finish is black around the outside of the body and toward the center it fades to a dark blue through which you can see the grain of the wood. It's got a swamp ash Strat body made by G&L.