The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

Empress wood (paulownia tomentosa) has a similar look to swamp ash, but is a bit softer and much, much lighter. As a tonewood, there are subtle differences but the weight difference makes it an interesting material for instruments hung over shoulders for hours on end by gigging musicians. In late-2014, G&L build a limited number of models with this wood, mainly basses and ASAT guitars. Prior to about 2011, such limited production would be part of the CCD Special Build program, but these days G&L just tries new concepts and finds some dealers for distribution. As usual, they always keep the option open to build more with their standard answer that it depends on obtaining a suitable supplier for the tonewood in terms of quantity and quality. I opted to get another ASAT Classic Alnico with this wood in my favorite color: Butterscotch Blonde. But with the rosewood fingerboard it looks different from any of the Butterscotch Blonde ASAT Classic models with MFDs as well as the other ASAT Classic Alnico models in the collection. With two Paul Gagon designed Alnico single coil pickups, single volume and tone controls, and 3-way switch it very much looks like an early-1960s Telecaster. This model can be found on the G&L website at:

http://www.glguitars.com/instruments/USA/guitars/asat-classic-alnico/index.asp.

 

G&L ASAT Classic Alnico (Empress)

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  2015

Serial number:    CLF072774

Neck date:          1/20/15

Body date:          MAR 26 2015

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

This first guitar of 2016 turned out to be something. It was listed on eBay with no reserve and my low-ball offer still beat out the rest of them. When it was received, expecting to pull a much heavier guitar out of the case, it was almost thrown against the ceiling. While still very much looking like ash, the color scheme and rosewood board make this very 6lb 6oz guitar a stunner. The trouble started when looking at the spec sheet. ASAT Classic ‘S’ Alnico in Three-Tone Sunburst?! I don’t think so even though the sticker on the neck heel says likewise. Maybe it was modified between the 2/2/2015 completion data and the 5/2/2015 date on the case; and we certainly can live with this body. Next issue was revealed when plugging in. It clearly had a ground problem but kinda in reverse: it would start humming when you touched the strings not the other way around. The multimeter told me that the bridge was not grounded; rather one would measure the DC-impedance of the pickups between bridge and ground of the output jack. Likely the neck pickup was wired the wrong way around. Not having a soldering iron, I had this fixed by Eric Daw at Emerald City Guitars and do the Bill Kirchen mod while he was at it. This guitar sounds great and more like what one expects from a Fender Telecaster. Swells are easy. I must also say I like its beefy neck.