‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L

 
 

The 1999 ASAT ‘Junior’ was the first all mahogany guitar G&L released and their second Custom Creations Department (CCD) Limited Edition model. Five years later, the ‘Junior’ was followed by the ASAT ‘Super’ as a less exclusive Special Build model. But that was not the only all-mahogany guitar built during 2004-2005. A slew of other models were produced as well, including the Comanche Mahogany, Legacy Special Mahogany, and S-500 Mahogany, with a production of less than 25 each, a single Invader XL, as well as less than 35 each of the ASAT HB and Legacy HB Mahogany. Each came in a beautiful brown tolex case; quite the treatment in the era of the thermoplastic molded case. Still, they were never listed as a CCD Limited Edition nor a Special Build on the G&L website retired at the end of 2017, nor as a Rarebird on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website. Nor do they have the markings of a Special Build model, e.g. neither an “# of x” decal on the back of the headstock nor a Silver Certificate of Authenticity. However, the ASAT HB is listed as a Special Build in the GbL “Special Editions and Non-Production ASAT style guitars” section. And with the exception of the Invader XL, all the others are listed as a “Mahogany Special Build” in the model dropdown on the GbL Registry, although clearly not as first rank citizens of that program. Hence there is still a lot of mystery around these models and the intriguing question remains: what were G&L’s intentions, especially about the hows and whys? Given the time period, was each a candidate to become the 25th Anniversary model? Possibly. But then why release them a year prior? Were the ASAT HB and the Legacy HB Mahogany a test platform for the newly developed, proprietary AW4370B humbucker? This thesis cannot be rejected outright because until 2015 they were the only USA models with such a bridge pickup instead of the more customary Seymour Duncan JB (TB-4) Trembucker. And how can they have serial numbers dating it closer to 1998? My theory is that G&L had ordered a batch of white decals for better contrast on the headstock of the ‘Junior’. Leftover decals must have been used on these all-mahogany models. This is consistent with my findings that all but 10 instruments registered in the GbL Registry with serial numbers between CLF10000–CLF10500, CLF11001–CLF11200, and CLF11301–CLF11340 is an aforementioned model. The exceptions are an S-500 Deluxe, a Legacy 2HB/HH, another Invader XL, 2 Legacies, an L-2500, an ASAT Special SH, an ASAT S-3 (!?, completely the wrong era), and an ASAT Z-3, with an unused neck plate thrown in for good measure. Not one instrument has been registered so far with a serial number between CLF10501–CLF11000 and CLF11201–CLF11300.


The purpose of the 28 ASAT Classic ‘Blues Boy’ Mahogany guitars the CCD built in May-June 2005 is a little clearer. What is colloquially referred as the ‘hog Bluesboy’ also appears in “Special Editions and Non-Production ASAT style guitars” section cited above. Its limited production run was used to work out the kinks with the new CDC machines purchased by G&L around that time. The body outline, pickup rout, control cavity, and neck pocket were all done by CDC with the arm contour done by hand, as it is still today, as well as a lot of finishing and set-up work. But beyond the standard thermoplastic case it came in, the most interesting other difference with the other mahogany models listed above is the use of a black lettering serial number decal, a mere 5 month after the Legacy HB Mahogany on this site.


But basically all these extra hog models have been promptly delegated to the proverbial dust bin.


2004-2005 CCD Special Build mahogany models (L-to-R):

2004 ASAT ‘Super’, 2004 ASAT HB, 2005 Legacy HB Mahogany, 2005 ASAT Classic ‘Blues Boy’ Mahogany.

 

2004-2005 mahogany guitars