The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

Looking back, the year 2012 turned out to have a theme: prototypes. In all, 4 were added to the collection that year. As stated on the referenced page, prototypes were frequently produced at G&L and many of them are still around. This ASAT Classic Signature is also a prototype in some respect whereas it is just another production guitar in another. As far as the latter goes: a Tele-style body with hand-wound Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups, string through body design, with the bridge pickup mounted in a box steel bridge plate but with 6 adjustable brass saddles. What it has in common with the ASAT of that era is the maple or ash body, white powder coated aluminum pickguard, single volume and tone control, 3-way pickup selector, Bi-Cut maple neck with choice of rosewood or maple fingerboard, and 1⅝” nut. Incidentally, all pre-BBE ASAT Classics were Signature models. The ASAT Classic only appeared as such on the January 1, 1992 price list, after the transition of ownership and when Signature models were no longer part of the lineup with exception of the Commemoratives. For more information on the early ASAT Classic (Signature) one should consult Greg Gagliano’s ggjaguar.com website which features Classic Signature from 1990 and 1991, including this triple bound version (follow the embedded links to even more guitars). For the modern day Classic see the factory page at:

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

 

G&L ASAT Classic Signature

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1991

Serial number:    G029382

Neck date:         OCT 07 1991, marked ‘433’, ‘#’, ‘CL’

Body date:         OCT 16 1991, marked ‘433’, ‘#’, ‘S/B’, ‘5 ¼lb’

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

So far, the “just another production guitar” part has been discussed. So what about the prototype  aspect? After Leo passed away in early-1991, Dale Hyatt came up with idea to create the ASAT Classic Commemorative. In the run-up to that project, several field prototypes were built in early October 1991: about 10 triple-bound and only a few (5?) top-bound Classics, as Greg Gagliano wrote me. My top-bound Classic has a gorgeous 2-piece swamp ash body in Cherryburst and a #2 neck with maple fingerboard. The grain of the body outshines both my ebony and maple board Commemoratives in my opinion. Instead of the more elaborate decal for the Commemorative, it just has Leo’s signature on the upper bout, still giving it a certain cachet. It is said that Dale Hyatt introduced bound ASAT bodies and necks starting early-1991, but these field prototypes are still some of the earliest production guitars with this feature. Beyond the Commemoratives, only a few, if any, bound ASAT Classics were produced until body and/or neck binding were officially offered as an option starting in 1995. My interest piqued by what Greg Gagliano had written about them, I’d always been on the lookout for any bound ASAT Classics with an October 1991 birth date. And early November 2012 one showed up on eBay offered by Olivia’s Vintage. They clearly were aware of what they had so it didn’t come cheap. But alas. It is still one of the last instruments of the pre-BBE era which ended when Dale Hyatt retired from G&L on November 4, 1991, shortly after this guitar was finished. The guitar is incredibly light and absolutely sounds as fantastic as it looks!