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Old 01.14.11, 5:06 PM
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G&L Leo Fender signature vs. standard USA G&L

I have the opportunity to purchase either a recent-model American G&L ASAT or a 1991 Leo Fender Signature ASAT, both at the same price. I was wondering if anyone knew what the difference was between the two models were. The Leo sig model is in rougher cosmetic condition (which doesn't bother me) which makes me think it might be a more expensive guitar since it's at the same price point as the regular model.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01.14.11, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzhead View Post
I have the opportunity to purchase either a recent-model American G&L ASAT or a 1991 Leo Fender Signature ASAT, both at the same price. I was wondering if anyone knew what the difference was between the two models were. The Leo sig model is in rougher cosmetic condition (which doesn't bother me) which makes me think it might be a more expensive guitar since it's at the same price point as the regular model.

Thanks in advance.
I really don't know a lot about G&L other than they are a great bang fot the buck. If it means anything, I do know that Leo died in 1991. Whether he was still involved or the Signature model is significan to this, I wouldn't know. Every guitar is different. I have played many legendary vintage guitars that were crap and played new cheap instruments that impressed me at times. I would play them both and make your decision accordingly. If the frets aren't worn, the '91 might just be broke in though. IMHO "played" guitars get better with age. Vintage guitars in premo condition are usually not played for a reason.
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Old 01.15.11, 2:25 PM
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Yeah, I was trying out different Fender Telecasters and being sort of underwhelmed (I actually liked some of the upper-tier Squiers more than any of the Fenders that were within my budget), so I turned to G&L. The ones I'm looking at are from out-of-state guitar shops, so I can't really try before I buy, but I'm going to find a G&L dealer in town and try out a couple ASATs to see if I like them. I've heard that their American line guitars are pretty consistent in quality, and I figure if I don't like it, I could probably flip it for around the same amount that I spent on it.

I just can't seem to find any info as to what makes the Leo Fender Signature line any different from their standard line, apart from his signature on the guitar body. What you said about well-played guitars is a good point though. Obviously, *someone* liked playing it a lot. This little number I'm looking at even has cigarette burns on the headstock.
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Old 01.15.11, 9:38 PM
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I know I've beat this drum before, but it is really no longer a secret that early '80s Japanese Squiers are very good guitars. IMHO (and many others) they were better than the MIAs at the time and are at least comparable now. My go to Strat is an '83 Squier. The pickups they come with aren't bad but they usually benefit from a pickup, pot, switch, jack, and wiring upgrade. If you are looking for a nice gig worthy Tele, I would recommend checking pawn shops or whatever for an old Squier if you want an excellent instrument for a reasonable price. They aren't as cheap as they once were because the secret's been out for a while, but definitely worth investigating.
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Old 01.16.11, 3:04 AM
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There really isn't any difference between the Leo Signature model and a regular old ASAT of the same vintage. There are a few differences in the newer model, the biggest being the 4 bolt neck.

BBE bought G&L some time in the late 90's and have done a great job of maintaining the quality of the USA line. I own a USA made Legacy (strat) and love it. IMHO it is far superior to any Fender I've ever played short of custom shop models costing thousands more. I've played a few older ASATs that were down right special, but the newer ones I've played were pretty terrific too.

I'm quite fond of the #2 neck. If you aren't aware, G&L makes several necks, the #1 & #2 being the most common. The #2 has a very narrow nut (1.625") and a vintage 7.25" radius. The #1 has a 12" radius. The necks are very consistent from one guitar to the next, so if you know what neck a guitar has, say on ebay or that out of state dealer, you'll have a very good ideal of how it plays.

I'd be a little apprehensive about buying a used ASAT because people tend to over value them, which sounds like it might be the case here.
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  #6  
Old 01.16.11, 10:35 PM
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olddawg: I'll definitely keep that in mind as I scour the guitar stores coming up in the next few days.

Timoren: Thanks for the info! And it's good to hear that the company is consistent with their product (the Fenders I've tried sure as hell weren't). I was going to try some ASATs out locally before buying; the two I saw online were secondhand for $750 each. Seeing how much they go for new, this seemed like a fair price. I did a quick search of local guitar stores, but none of them seemed to have used USA G&L's, at least at that price point. I'd have to pay for shipping, but it seems worth it to me.
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  #7  
Old 01.17.11, 1:36 PM
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$750 isn't bad at all for a used ASAT. That's pretty much on par with ebay pricing depending on condition. ASAT Specials usually go for a bit more than ASAT Classics.
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