The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

The ASAT Classic is the last production model where George Fullerton and Leo Fender, the original G&L, were both actively involved in for its design. To some extend, Leo took “revenge” on Dale Hyatt for introducing the Broadcaster/ASAT model. He had never been really comfortable with the success of the ASAT, mainly because it was not his idea. In the meantime, Dale was still constantly being asked by dealers and players alike to deliver more traditional looking and sounding instruments. It cannot be denied that with its introduction at the July 1990 Summer NAMM in Chicago, G&L delivered with the ASAT Classic: a Tele-style guitar with vintage styled, hand-wound Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups adding the twang missing from the ordinary ASAT. Like the Telecaster, it has a string through body design with the bridge pickup mounted in a box steel bridge plate but with 6 adjustable saddles (instead of 3 on a Tele) for improved intonation, single volume and tone control, and 3-way pickup selector. One of the guitars built for the NAMM show (S/N G026896) was even more special. Dale had given it a Black finish with a (rare) gold Leo Fender signature on the upper bass bout and all gold hardware, including the very rare 3rd generation Leo Fender Vibrato requiring a special modification to the box steel bridge. It never was on display, however, since collector Paul Lombardo was able to convince Dale to sell it to him before the show. But that guitar inspired George and only a few months later he had an identical one made for himself with a #2 (7½” radius, 1⅜” nut) Bi-Cut maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. His guitar, finished 10/25/1990, is featured in both of his books: “Guitar Legends, The evolution of the guitar from Fender to G&L”, in the color section on p. 78, and Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars, on p. 116 in black and white. There is some controversy whether this guitar was shown at Leo’s funeral. George has the honor going to his other all-gold hardware ASAT Classic (S/N G029273, found in the same color section on p. 76), but that guitar was finished only shortly before Leo’s passing. With all relevant people no longer among us it will be hard to verify which guitar it exactly was.  Anyway, whatever the case may be, a “George”-ious guitar is it!

 

G&L ASAT Classic Signature w/gold Leo Fender vibrato

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 1990

Serial number:   G027826 (from the George Fullerton collection)

Neck date:        SEP 26 1990

Body date:        APR 15 1990

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

From the moment I started collecting, this guitar was on the list. After George passed away July 4th, 2009, many of the guitars in his estate ended up at Buffalo Brothers Guitars in Carlsbad, CA. Tim Page always made sure impeccable pictures were taken of any guitars and the ones for George’s very special ASAT Classic were no exception. In my naiveté, and given its price tag at the time, I thought this would be the last ASAT I would buy to finish my initial list of 20 or so. That list became considerably longer when I started to understand the variety within the ASAT model a lot better. But the guitar disappeared after Tim and Bob sold the store. Then in the summer of 2015 it showed up on Reverb. John Nelson at Vintage Gear America was a willing negotiator and we settled on only a fraction of the 2009 price. Amazing sound in this guitar with a wonderful whammy to boot. Not your typical model for dive bombing. You can if you want to, but using it moderately suits me better. Fender historian Greg Gagliano asked me to check whether this guitar had a 6.8kΩ resistor on the tone pot. Initially, similar electronics as for the ASAT (see the picture for my Broadcaster w/maple board) was used. But whereas the resistor, which was added to modify the tone taper, did not color the sound of the ASAT much, the ASAT Classic was robbed of some spank by it. Around October 1990, i.e. the time this guitar was assembled, the resistor had already been removed (see the story behind my ASAT Signature w/Dual Fulcrum Vibrato). The cap on the tone pot is .022μF instead of .100μF found on my Broadcasters and early ASATs. So this one has all the snarl and spank you’d expect from a Classic.