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G&L Detroit Muscle Series Fallout R/T Review

Sonic versatility and showstopping looks from a muscle car-inspired solidbody.

In their days at G&L, Leo Fender and George Fullerton weren’t shy about borrowing designs from their first venture. G&L cornerstones like the ASAT, Legacy, and Comanche were all derived from T- and S-style shapes. To a lesser degree, the SC-2 and the SC-2-based Fallout tip their hats to Leo’s Fender “student” designs, the Duo Sonic, Musicmaster, and Mustang.

The Detroit Muscle Series Fallout R/T evokes the spirit of late-’60s Fender Mustangs. Like those bright, competition-striped models, the Fallout R/T is car-culture inspired. But the Fallout R/T, with its P-90 and split-humbucking pickups, is more than a retro styling exercise—it’s a formidable rock ’n’ roll machine with a contemporary feel.

Hot Rod Heart
Our review Fallout R/T is a showstopper in Sublime Green, a color Dodge used on their Challenger T/A in the early ’70s. There’s a hand-wound G&L P-90 in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JB (TB4) in the bridge. The JB is wired with a coil-tap—pulling up the tone knob splits the humbucker, providing five wiring configurations via a 3-way pickup-selector switch.

The G&L Saddle Lock bridge, which also appears on many ASAT guitars, is particularly stable, thanks in part to a setscrew that pushes all the saddles tightly together. The design provides intonation and setup advantages without extra vibration or sustain loss. The bridge is also designed to transfer vibrations directly to the body.

The C-profile neck is capped with a rosewood fretboard with a 12" radius. The frets are PLEK-dressed, augmenting the guitar’s fast, precise feel. The body is alder. (It’s also available in swamp ash and in other finishes.)

Ratings

Pros:
Expansive sound potential. Bold muscle-car paint job.

Cons:
Potentially awkward pickup-selector location.

Tones:

Playability/Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

Street:
$1125

G&L Guitars
glguitars.com

Performance-Tuned
The P-90 sounds rich, deep, and balanced from treble side to bass. It’s a bit darker and woolier than some P-90s, yet it maintains bite without getting muddy like neck ’buckers sometimes do. Through a Fender Twin Reverb, the P-90 is surprisingly well suited to tone-knob-down jazz moves (even with a little 60-cycle hum).

But Wes Montgomery runs are not the Fallout R/T’s prime directive. When I switched to an Orange OR50 and a 4x12 cabinet with Celestion V30s, the Fallout and P-90 seemed truly in their element. Pete Townsend riffage sounded huge—and made me yearn for another P-90 in the bridge. That said, the Seymour Duncan JB sounds meaty and responsive, and the two pickups balance well.

When you split the coil on the JB, the output drops a little—it’s noticeably quieter than the P-90. Even so, the split coil sounds especially lovely blended with the P-90, and there are shades aplenty to explore in this configuration. The split coil also sounds darker than many traditional single-coils, though treble response remains excellent. It works great in high-gain situations where treblier sounds would be downright shrill, and it sounds mellow and detailed in fingerpicked passages.

The 12" radius enables wide bends high up the neck. In some ways, the G&L feels like a Les Paul with a longer 25 ½" scale. The medium-jumbo frets and relatively flat radius make the neck seem expansive, particularly above the 12th fret (and especially if you have smaller hands). That can make the Fallout more like a cruiser than a fast-lane shredder, though it still feels pretty quick.

One detail I’m not crazy about is the pickup-selector’s location between the volume and tone knobs. For me, the position makes fast pickup changes difficult, though it may not be an issue for some players.

The Verdict
The Fallout’s Mopar-inspired paint job is bound to polarize players, but there’s no question it will get you noticed. The pickups provide abundant sonic options. At $1,125 it’s fairly priced for a high-quality, US-built solidbody that boldly deviates from visual and sonic norms.

Watch the Review Demo:

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