My guitar collection - G&L

 
 

What the heck is this? Well, just another ASAT Classic with a good story. A really good story. The technical details are pretty mundane. A modified ASAT Classic with a soft maple body, finished with just sanding sealer as was commonly the case for prototypes, white enamel aluminum pickguard, ASAT Classic Magnetic Field Design (MFD) bridge pickup in the ASAT Classic 6-saddle bridge, Schaller humbucker in the neck position, chromed control panel with the 3-position pickup selector, volume control, and tone control, hard-rock maple (pre-BBE) #3 neck with 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, 1¾” nut width, and Sperzel closed tuning machines. This prototype has no webpage but is prominently displayed in this post by its previous owner on he Guitars by Leo (GbL) website. Now stick around for that story ...

 

ASAT Classic ‘Keef’ prototype

The story behind this guitar

Year:

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Believe it not, this prototype was built by G&L for the one and only Keith Richards. Mr. Richards is of course famous for wielding 5-string Telecasters with illustrious names like ‘Micawber‘ and ‘Malcolm’, each of them with the neck single-coil pickup swapped out for a humbucker. After Pete Townsend so memorably inducted The Rolling Stones into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, Keith made headlines by thanking Leo Fender first in his acceptance speech since without Leo there would be no tools for a rocking guitar player. What most do not know is that Leo had a guitar waiting for him which Keith was supposed to collect around the time of the ceremony. But for reasons unknown this never happened. So this guitar, aptly nicknamed ‘Keef’, became part of the G&L fire sale which took place just after Leo had passed away. Not as part of the initial inventory, but Chris Neel, who goes by the handle fezz parka on the Telecaster Discussion Page Reissue (TDPRI) forum and is famous for the Fezz Parka mod, asked soon to be retiring Director of Sales Dale Hyatt whether any one-offs or prototypes were available. Dale showed him this guitar in a back room and it promptly changed owners. At that occasion the buyer also heard the story Leo rather would have used an F-100 or G-200 MFD humbucker in the neck position instead of the Schaller. But alas! Still, the neck humbucker technically makes this an ASAT Classic Bluesboy about a decade before that model was introduced by Tim Page! I bought ‘Keef’ from Jason Hieb (aka Katefan on GbL) who had bought it from Harry Spila on eBay in 2012. Jason provided me with all the info, in part using his original correspondence with Chris. According to Jason, there have been some modifications to this guitar. Firstly, Chris had replaced the original tuners with Schaller closed tuning machines filling the hole for the location pins with wood putty. By digging out the holes, Jason put closed Sperzel tuning machines on it just as on the first picture he had seen of this guitar in Chris’ post on TDPRI. One of the pictures in Gabe Dellevigne’s review of this guitar in this GbL thread shows the difference in pin location between Schaller and Sperzel tuning machines. Also note Gabe’s reservations and critical remarks on certain issues. Secondly, the wiring harness originally was similar to the ASAT ’50, i.e. with a capacitor connecting the 2 potentiometers. However, that didn’t give the bridge pickup a lot of spunk and hence it was modified although not in a traditional way. Jason also mentioned the neck pickup was wired in as a single coil which is supported by a measured DC-R value of 4.09kΩ, about half of the Schaller neck pickup on either Interceptor HH or Superhawk w/LFV. So not a true Bluesboy after all? Yes, but it can be easily changed back. It is just that she sounds great now, with a beautiful balance between the 2 pickups especially in the middle position. It should be noted that while staying with Jason, ‘Keef’ spent a lot of time with another rather famous pre-BBE ASAT nicknamed ‘Char’. She has her own fascinating story, hints of which can be found in this section.

The story behind this guitar

1990

G026677

FEB 21 1990

JAN 03 1990

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