My guitar collection - G&L


The one Buck Owens did not pick! This specimen is one of 3 famous guitars G&L Vice-President of Marketing and Sales Dale Hyatt had built at what turned out to be the very end of Leo Fender’s life. The ASAT Classic Signature had been introduced in 1990 and when Buck and his popular Buckaroos had an engagement at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Santa Ana, CA on February 27, 1991, Dale saw his change to showcase the new model. There was some hurry so although 3 builds were initiated, only 2 were completed before the gig. Buck was known to have some of his guitars painted in (patriotic) Red, White, and Blue (see e.g. this Harmony H169 Buck Owens). The same R/W/B color scheme is present on the soft maple body (rare for an ASAT Classic) as well as the hard-rock maple Bi-Cut neck with rosewood fingerboard and bound headstock, a rarity for an G&L. The guitars further have all gold hardware including the pickguard, gold Leo Fender signature on the upper bass bout, 2 slightly overwound ASAT Classic Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups, volume control, tone control, and 3-position pickup selector. The first has a #2 neck (i.e. 7½” fingerboard radius, 1⅝” nut width), the second a (pre-BBE) #4 neck (25”, 1¾”) to give Buck, known to have big hand, a choice. With these 2 guitars in hand and George and Leo in tow, Dale paid Buck a visit before the gig. Story has it Buck was brought to tears when Leo handed him the guitar Buck liked the most which he then played all night. Dale himself kept the other ‘Buck Owens’ with the #4 neck, i.e. this very guitar. In the Guitars by Leo (GbL) Gallery, a picture shows Dale holding this guitar in front of the Crazy Horse Saloon. The pictures in “Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars” (pp. 62-63) show Buck holding his guitar, with its distinctive engraved pickguard, when George and his wife Lucille visited Buck’s Crystal Palace Museum & Theater in Bakersfield, CA some years later. This pickguard was also made by G&L together with a spare. Unfortunately, the latter got lost after Dale passed away. When one visited the pre-2020 Buck Owens site, scrolled down the page to the Museum section, and hovered over Buck’s Red, White, and Blue electric, the following blurb appeared: “The Fender company designed and released a limited edition Buck Owens Signature Telecaster in 1997-1998. Buck was involved in the design personally, and played one regularly at the Crystal Palace until his death in 2006.” The text refers to the Fender ‘Buck Owens’, which were built in Japan no less than 6 years later and limited to 250, although rumor has it they were produced until 2001. But not to that pictured guitar which, with its unmistakable G&L hook, is Buck’s ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens’. The Museum section of the current Buck Owens site has 2 beautiful pictures of his guitar which is rumored to be currently owned by Marty Stuart. The 3rd ‘Buck Owens’, completed in April of 1991, has a (pre-BBE) #3 neck (12”, 1¾”) and resides in Norway after Odd Erik Lauritsen purchased it from famed collector Paul Lombardo in 2015. Odd plays in Bakersfield, his Buckaroos Tribute Band. And finally, there is another ‘Buck Owens’ neck out there with a date stamp of 2/7/1991, possibly a test mule, currently in the possession of G&L researcher Gabe Dellevigne. The ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens’ is so rare, it is not even a Rarebird on the GbL site!


ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens

The story behind this guitar


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I was actually looking for either a pre-BBE Comanche V or Comanche VI. And look what I got in the same deal! My friend and G&L historian Gabe Dellevigne, provider of much (and more) of the info on this page, was surprised noted collector Larry Garrett, who bought it directly from Dale, was willing to part with it. But here we are, with no arm twisting involved. One of the most famous and rare G&Ls in my collection; only the ‘The Rembrandt’ outshines it. And yes, between 2011 and 2014 G&L build at least one ‘Buck Owens’ Legacy, ASAT, ASAT Classic, and ASAT Deluxe with Blue, Silver, and Red metal flake finish (aka USA Metal). But that demand was only driven by the original ‘Buck Owens’ Classics. I am so stoked. Gabe says it is the best ASAT Classic he has ever played. Oh my, do I agree! The #4 neck with its relative flat board is indeed something to behold. But what touched me most was unexpectedly finding a personal note left behind by the late great Gene Engelhart when checking out the wiring. Thanks Gene. Your attention to detail has made many of my guitars the treasured pieces they are and will embody your spirit for years to come.

The story behind this guitar


G029004 (from Dale Hyatt collection, first of 3 ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens’ built)

FEB 20 1991

OCT 31 1990

D’Addario EXL120 Nickel Wound Super Light (9-42)