My guitar collection - G&L

 
 

What a stunning beauty! But is she a true and real G&L? Or another partscaster? We will get to that after reviewing the evidence. What is for sure is that this is a ASAT Classic with a semi-hollow swamp ash body with a gorgeous cocobolo top, without pickguard, but with top binding and an f-hole. The ASAT Classic 6-saddle bridge still has the script “by Leo Fender” on the bridge plate. Hence, it must be from a stash of bridges produced before the FMIC lawsuit forced G&L to halt its use of Leo’s signature on instruments and parts in 1993. The 2 ASAT Classic Magnetic Field Design pickups are legit, as evidenced by by the stamped ’12’ on the bridge pickup bobbin, as are the standard wiring harness (more about that below), hard-rock maple neck and 7½” radiused, the bound, rosewood fingerboard, 1⅝” nut, and G&L branded closed tuning machines.

 

ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow w/cocobolo top

The story behind this guitar

Year:

Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:

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This guitar came all the way from Hamburg, Germany where I bought it from No 1 Guitar Center GmbH after learning about its existence through its listing as an “ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow 1994 rosewood finish with original case” on Reverb. This 100th ASAT joined the other 99 in this collection the Friday before Labor Day weekend in 2020. Before updating the entry for S/N G044428 in the Registry on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website, one of the previous administrators had added a remark in the comment to the extend that “...after viewing photo, body, and/or top is not G&L Factory made ...” thereby casting doubt on its originality. It should not be a surprise that hypothesis was put to the test using inspection and cross referencing usage of different parts and availability of options. There is no doubt about the bridge, ferrule block, pickups, output jack, strap buttons, and neck being the real deal. The body has the tilt adjustment system and shows no trace of being sourced from a 3rd party. Craig Dewey, current GbL administrator and not the source of the above remark, helped me on the body wood; G&L does not use alder for a semi-hollow body because it is too soft. As stated above, the guitar was advertised as having a rosewood top. However, my best guess for the top is cocobolo (dalbergia retusa), still a member of the rosewood family. This assessment is based on comparing grain, figure, and hue for a range of species used for instruments and other wooden items, a 2007/2008 ASAT Deluxe (CLF50106), once listed on eBay and built as a contemporary of the Spalted Maple models, but especially by gleaning information from the spec sheet for a 2017 ASAT HH RMC (CLF1707015) which lists a cocobolo top on a okoumé body. Optional body and/or neck binding had its first appearance on the October 1, 1994 price list, with this “Daddy’s 22nd Anniversary” being one of the first. But that ASAT Classic already lacks the “by Leo Fender” on its bridge plate. Even though the neck date is from April 1994, this guitar is certainly not from that year, the reason being both CTS potentiometers are from June 1995, i.e. week 25 for the volume pot and week 23 for the tone pot, respectively, resulting in a period correct wiring harness. By then G&L had dropped the Japanese sourced pots they used for the couple of years prior. And indeed, around 1995 G&L produced quite a few instruments with exotic woods, most famously a matching set of an ASAT Special and ASAT Bass made of zebrawood. The serial number also jibes well with 1995 especially when comparing it to all the John Jorgenson Signatures in this collection. Service manager at G&L Memo Romero looked in their logs but could not find any other info for this S/N than that it is from late-1995. The thermoplastic case has an intriguing message: “NAMM guitar 199”, missing that crucial last digit. If that statement is true, and given the pot dates and Memo’s information, it could well be the 1996 Winter NAMM which took place January 18-21 in Anaheim, CA. Is this also the reason for using an older “script” bridge and bound neck, i.e. for display purposes? Who knows? What is known is that at that NAMM show G&L introduced and presented their semi-hollow versions of the ASAT (Special), ASAT Classic, and (new) ASAT Deluxe (see the 1996 insert shown on this page). In all, considering all provided evidence, it looks like a genuine G&L. How does it sound? One word, sweet! One of the best in the collection. Of course this assessment may also have been influenced by its low weight making it easy on the back.

The story behind this guitar

1995 (1996 Winter NAMM guitar?)

G044428

APR 09 1994

none

D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)