The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

Clearly, this model is inspired by the Fender Esquire. First produced in 1950, sporting a lone pickup in the bridge position, it predates the Broadcaster/NoCaster/Telecaster, and was the first electric guitar sold by Fender. After having designed the Blues Boy, Tim Page with brother Bob as collaborator, decided to create the G&L version of this model: the ASAT ’50, again to be sold exclusive through their Buffalo Brothers store. With some major help from Tony Petrilla, who had been working with George & Leo since 1980 and dug up the original schematic of a 1950s Esquire electronics (hence the name), the design is finalized in early-1999, with the factory order placed in May and shipment starting in June of the same year. In effect, it is an ASAT Classic with a single traditional sized, Tele style Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickup in the bridge, mounted in a modern chrome plated boxed-steel 6-saddle bridge. The body is a light-weight piece of swamp ash, finished in Butterscotch Blonde, with a 1-ply bakelite pickguard. Beyond the usual volume and tone controls, the 3-way pickup selector is hooked up to a set of capacitors to provide tonal variations. In the forward position, a lot of highs are drained off and the tone control is bypassed. The same is true in the backward position, but in this case no highs are drained off. The tone control only has an influence in the middle position: when on “10”, it sounds like the switch in the bridge position; when on “0” it is similar to the switch in the neck position, but with slightly more highs. (It would take 14 years before this mouse-trap was improved on by the Solamente.) This guitar also has my favorite neck, a gun-oil stained Bird’s Eye maple, Bi-Cut neck with a 7½” radiused fingerboard, vintage Dunlop 6230 frets, and 1⅝” nut. Furthermore, it comes with a special “G&L Special Edition” engraved neck plate, a Certificate of Authenticity with the specifications and number in the series, and a TKL faux-tweed hardshell case. According to Tim’s original plans, the latter was supposed to be a reproduction of a thermometer case to make the whole package even more vintage. But the intended manufacturer dragged its heels too long for the case to be ready in time (and it was pretty expensive too)! Fortunately, the guitar  does have a vintage looking string tree, manufactured by a company specialized in reproduction parts for old Esquire’s. The history of this model is based on personal communication with Tim himself. But also check out the G&L Rarebirds section of the Guitars by Leo Registry:

http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/AUTOREG/Rarebirds/ASAT50.php3.

 

G&L ASAT ‘50

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1999

Serial number:     CLF12070 (#1 of 10)

Neck date:          none, marked 'NECKWORK', 'TINT SHINY', 'Esq', 'VF', 'BE', 'CC'

Body date:          15 JUN 1999

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

Pinch me! Do I really own an ASAT ’50? Tim Page’s Blues Boy #9? Check! Bob Page’s red Trinity? Yup! Oh, and on top of that Tim’s 20th Anniversary #1. But each of them were produced in a considerable larger quantity than the mere 10 for the ASAT ’50. Looking around for a number of years, I have never seen any offered for sale, unlike the aforementioned models. So what to do? The Guitars by Leo site does have a Marketplace and that’s where I put out a Wanted ad at the end of July, 2010. Much to my surprise, renowned collector Gary Maki responded the same day, offering #1 of all! The very guitar shown in black and white on page 132 of George Fullerton’s “Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars”. Too good to pass up on. So thanks Gary! This guitar was built in the exact same year as its brethren, my ASAT Classic. Not only that, they have the exact same color scheme providing a literal 1-2 punch. As described above, the electronics is very interesting. But the thing just sound absolutely fantastic. And in the end, that’s all that counts...