This is the most comprehensive review of the G&L Placentia series ASAT bluesboy electric guitar you will find and includes over 20 minutes of video. I had high hopes for this guitar because G&L has never disappointed in the past. But this one? Well, let’s start with the unboxing video so you can see my initial excitement and then I’m sorry, but I’m probably going to disappoint you once I delve deeper into this guitar.
As always with ArtOfShred, I paid for this guitar with my own money. I was not paid by Musician’s Friend or G&L to make this review. This Placentia ASAT Bluesboy was on sale for $269.99 + tax:
The regular price for this guitar is $449.99 (ugh, we’ll talk about that shortly!) and if you want me to tell you when I find great guitar deals (remember the $201.49 Yamaha PAC112V?!) just subscribe to the Riff City newsletter:
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Alright, moving on …
Table of Contents
About The Author
Hey, I’m Karol (like Karl not Carol). I’ve been playing guitar for 20+ years, but I’m still an amateur and learning every day. In my younger years I played in a band, but nowadays it’s for fun.
Why should you listen to this G&L Placentia ASAT review? Because I don’t care about selling you anything and I want to help you make an informed choice about the guitar. I started Art Of Shred because I was unimpressed with the obviously biased guitar and musical equipment reviews online. Keep in mind, of course, that these are just my views. I don’t know everything and my opinions are my opinions.
G&L Placentia ASAT Classic Bluesboy
G&L Placentia Bluesboy in Espresso (brownish-red)
Made in: China
Unique pickup configuration
Nice finish / color
Sounds pretty good!
Not G&L quality
Arrived with crooked neck
Multiple high frets
Placentia ASAT Bluesboy video review
Hey, that gives most of it away, doesn’t it?! But yeah, if you want to get a quick 10 minute overview of why I decided to return this guitar then watch that video.
It’s actually pretty crazy, but this Musician’s Friend / Guitar Center exclusive G&L guitar has almost no product information on either of the three brand’s websites! I’m writing this review more than a month after the guitar was launched and there’s still no information on their websites. WTF!
I actually contacted G&L Guitars before purchasing and this was the response:
I would like to state that it’s great they responded so quickly, but the information left a lot to be desired. It is kind of odd they stated the guitars are made in Asia. They’re made in China. Which is obviously part of Asia, but come on we’re guitar players, we want specifics.
So here are the basics I could gather: 25.5″ scale length, 22 frets, cheap saddles/bridge, humbucker in the neck, single coil in the bridge (neither pickups are the G&L ASAT pickups, but a cheaper variant), poplar body, and maple neck. I also weighed the guitar with a luggage scale and it comes in at 7.8 pounds. The width at the nut was 1 11/16″.
Can we talk about the name? Why is it called the Placentia series?!
OK, everybody is calling this placenta instead of placentia and that’s probably going to stick. I even contacted Musician’s Friend chat prior to purchasing and the customer service rep misspelled it as placenta. So why would they give this guitar such a tragic name? I’m guessing it’s because G&L’s headquarters is just off Placentia Avenue in Fullerton, CA.
OK, if you haven’t watched my unboxing video then I suggest you do that here. The gist of it is this: out of the box the guitar looks nice! It felt nice and played fine as well. So what gives? Why did I ultimately return it and give it a bad review? We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s talk about why the unboxing went well.
The flaws in this guitar were pretty well hidden upon unboxing. There were no obvious flaws. Nice looking finish, nice looking frets and fretboard, it felt good in my hands, and it ultimately sounded good too. It was even triple-boxed so the shipping situation was overkill (but I’ll take it!).
Wow! That’s pretty high praise, huh?
Well, sometimes first impressions can be lacking. Not always, but sometimes. It’s something I’m learning about when doing unboxing videos. And it’s why I like to play a guitar for ~10 hours before releasing a final review. The flaws don’t hide for long.
Cons (the flaws reveal themselves!)
The first flaw presented itself shortly after I posted the unboxing video: the neck was crooked!
Now, this isn’t a difficult fix and it took no more than 5 minutes. You have to loosen the 4 neck screws and, with a little force, straighten the neck and tighten the screws. It’s not an ideal situation but it’s not an unheard of problem on this style of guitar, particularly in the cheap price range.
The problem was because of the crooked neck sitting for so long the bridge saddles ultimately wanted to stay in a crooked position. I think this is because the saddle adjustment screws created divots in the bridge plate and they wanted to keep sliding back into those divots. Ultimately this didn’t affect playability all that much, but it’s still annoying and not something I’d prefer to see on my guitar.
Next: the guitar came with high action, which hid major fret flaws
It’s almost like this was set up for slide playing. If you can’t see that image well, the strings were sitting at over 2.25mm off the fretboard. High action hides the fret buzz of a bad fret job.
I like my guitars under 2mm, 1.5mm – 1.75mm depending. This is personal preference but I’ve never met somebody who loves high action.
Which brings us to the next flaw revealed: multiple high frets
Anyway, once I adjusted the action to 2mm (still high for my liking, but not too bad) the fret buzz started to present itself up and down the neck.
Now listen, high frets are not unheard of. It happens all of the time. Temperature changes, wear, humidity. Over time all of this can cause certain frets to cause fret buzz and require a fret level. But still, getting a brand new guitar with a bunch of high frets is a bummer.
This was the last straw for me. Oh, also, the saddles felt cheap. Adjustment was not smooth. This is one of those things that once you’ve adjusted enough guitars you can just feel.
Anyway, so I decided to return the guitar. Which, oddly enough, brings us to the pros …
Pros (it wasn’t all bad!)
Assuming you don’t get a shoddy guitar like I got this is a respectable telecaster-style guitar for $270. (Let me be clear, I mean it’s respectable at the sale price.)
- The espresso (reddish-brown) finish looks really nice.
- Although some people have commented that they don’t like the pickups I do. Yeah, they’re cheap pickups and their clarity is not sublime, but I could get good sounds out of them.
- I love the unique pickup configuration of a humbucker in the neck and a single coil in the bridge.
And another bonus: I was able to return the guitar to my local Guitar Center instead of having to package it all back up and taking it to UPS or Fedex. They made it really easy and as much hate as Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend gets I’ve had only positive experiences with their customer service.
What Kind of Setup Did I Do?
As mentioned already I returned this guitar so I did not complete a setup.
This is the setup that was necessary:
- Fix crooked neck: ~5 minutes (I did this)
- Complete fret level, crown, and polish: well over an hour (I didn’t do this)
Because an extensive fret level was necessary and takes so much time I didn’t feel like this guitar was worth the price. Fixing a few flaws on a new guitar doesn’t bother me all that much because most flaws are either easy to fix or are cosmetic (like the fretboard glue on my Classic Vide 60s Jazzmaster) and don’t affect playability. Considerable fret buzz affects playability to a high degree.
How Does The G&L Placentia ASAT Bluesboy Sound?
I did not record an extensive sound demo although you can hear a few minutes of sounds in the unboxing video. I did play this guitar for quite a few hours and I liked both the neck humbucker and the bridge single coil pickups on their own. I liked the pickups a little less in the middle position.
What Would I Upgrade?
Assuming I had received a better guitar I don’t think the Placentia ASAT Bluesboy requires all that many upgrades, but if I wanted something I loved playing daily there are upgrades I would want.
- The tuners are cheap so I’d probably add locking tuners.
- The nut is plastic so I’d probably add a TUSQ nut.
- The bridge and saddles are cheap so I’d replace those.
- And I would probably mess with the pickups, definitely if I was playing live.
G&L Placentia ASAT Classic Bluesbody photo gallery
Final Thoughts On The Placenta, I Mean Placentia
I can sum it up like this: over promise, under deliver.
I’d say that’s death for a business’s reputation, but we’ll see if it affects G&L. At $269.99 I’d say these are comparable to Squier Affinity series guitars, but at the full $449.99 price? It’s a hard pass. Also, I don’t want to support G&L’s race to the bottom.
Overall: 5.6/10. If you get a good one at the sale price I think you’ll like it. Otherwise? Nope.
Do you own a G&L Placentia ASAT Bluesboy? Let me know what you think about it via email or the comments below.