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G&L Tribute Ascari GTS and Fiorano GTS

August 15, 2012
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Just imagine the look on the face of Steve Grom, G&L’s Director of Manufacturing, when, while poking through old documents in Leo Fender’s old laboratory two years ago, the drawing of a previously undiscovered G&L prototype fell out in front of him. The blueprint, for a guitar conceived by G&L founder Leo Fender in 1980 and drawn up by co-founder George Fullerton, outlines a model to be called the G-100, a dual-humbucker rocker with a 24¾" scale and a three-a-side headstock. In short, the kind of guitar G&L has never offered, until now. G&L’s current Executive Vice President, David McLaren, and VP of Engineering, Paul Gagon, decided to run with it, and with design collaboration from Grover Jackson of Jackson Guitars, the results are two new members of the G&L Tribute series: the Ascari GTS and Fiorano GTS.

Ascari GTS

Not only is the Ascari GTS one of G&Ls first two set-neck guitars, it’s also the company’s first—and so far, only—model with a 24¾" scale. Add to these specs its mahogany neck and body with carved maple top, a brace of humbucking pickups, the rosewood ’board’s 22 medium-jumbo frets and trapezoid inlays, and a locking TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece, and you have to concede a nod toward Kalamazoo—although the narrow- horned asymmetrical double-cutaway design throws the ball back into Fender and Fullerton’s court. There are plenty of elegant details here, from the neatly applied trans red polyurethane finish on the beautifully flamed top, to the bound body and fretboard, to the abalone “G&L” and fan inlays on the headstock.

 
Fiorano GTS
The Ascari GTS’s humbuckers, which were designed by Paul Gagon, measure 8.22kΩ in the neck and a hefty 13.24kΩ in the bridge, with coil splitting courtesy of a push-pull switch on the lone Tone control. The intentions of this heat are backed up by the neck’s slim-C profile, all of which nudges the Ascari more toward speedy modern rock than chunky, classic grind. I needed to adjust the trussrod a quarter turn (necessitated by the test guitar’s travels, perhaps) to take some relief out of the neck and get the action down into the low zone, but once dialed in, the Ascari was a smooth, easy player.

Plugged in to a variety of amps, the Ascari GTS dished out a range of gutsy to fiery tones. The bridge ’bucker puts some bite into even an amp set for clean tones, but you can dial that down effectively at the guitar, or pop up the tone control to twang it up further. As with most splittable humbuckers, neither pickup sounds exactly like a genuine single-coil when split, but the facility yields useful tonal variety. Through either a Blackout Musket fuzz or a TopHat Emplexador’s Overdrive channel, the bridge position achieves easy grind and singing lead tones, while the neck ’bucker is smoother and bluesier, with easy sustain from either. Through all settings the Ascari GTS easily gets you where a guitarist seeking a contemporary yet classic-leaning hot-rod of the breed is likely to want to go, and it looks great and plays effortlessly while doing so.

 
Ascari GTS
Fiorano GTS

Another set-neck design, the Fiorano GTS takes the rediscovered George and Leo prototype in a slightly different direction by molding it into a 25½"-scale shred machine. Also, while they are clearly siblings, this model’s body lines lean more toward the super-Strat camp populated by many similar offerings from Ibanez, Kramer, Charvel, Yamaha, and Jackson. The extra scale length affords the opportunity of making this a 24-fretter, although the neck profile and the guitar’s overall feel are otherwise extremely similar, aside from the hair of added string tension the longer scale creates. Other than these specs, the abalone dot position markers, black graphite nut, and uncovered black coils of the humbuckers, the Fiorano’s woods, construction, and components are identical to the Ascari’s. The variability of wood stocks, however, makes this one a heavier guitar, and it is dressed in a sleek trans black finish, the second of the standard options available on both models.

Given the similarities, the Fiorano GTS affords a great lesson in the effects of scale length on playing feel and tone when compared to the Ascari GTS. Although their core voices are allied, the Fiorano has a slightly tauter low end, and a tad more clarity amid heavy distortion versus the Ascari’s warm, airy vibe. Though a subtle twist, it makes for a significant difference where eviscerating cutting power and thumping dropped-D tunings are desired, and gives the Fiorano GTS more of its own soul than the guitars’ similarities might first imply. All in all, the Fiorano is a fun and affordable option for the scorched-earth brigade, or any “Fender scale” player seeking big double-bucker power.

Specifications

CONTACT G&L Guitars, (714) 895-6728; glguitars.com

Ascari GTS

PRICE $499 street
NUT WIDTH 111/16"
NECK Mahogany, slim C profile
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 243/4" scale, 12" radius
FRETS 22 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Enclosed die-cast, chrome
BODY Mahogany with carved flamemaple top
BRIDGE Tone Pros Tune-o-matic style with stopbar tailpiece
PICKUPS G&L AS4255C neck and AW4368C bridge humbuckers with chrome covers
CONTROLS Single Volume and Tone, 3-way selector, push-pull coil-split switch on Tone pot
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario XL110, .010-.046
WEIGHT 7.6 lbs
BUILT Indonesia
KUDOS Versatile contemporary rock tones in an affordable and well-crafted guitar.
CONCERNS None.

Fiorano GTS

PRICE $499 street
NUT WIDTH 111/16"
NECK Mahogany, slim C profile
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 251/12" scale, 12" radius
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Enclosed die-cast, chrome
BODY Mahogany with carved flamemaple top
BRIDGE Tone Pros Tune-o-matic style with stopbar tailpiece
PICKUPS G&L AS4255B neck and AW4368B bridge humbuckers, uncovered
CONTROLS Single Volume and Tone, 3-way selector, push-pull coil-split switch on Tone pot
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario XL110, .010-.046
WEIGHT 8.4 lbs
BUILT Indonesia
KUDOS Good power, articulation and playability for the shredmeister. Impressive build quality for the price.
CONCERNS None.

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