‘The Real Ones’ - A history of G&L


What about building an ASAT closer to a Les Paul which, in its most popular form, famously pairs a mahogany body with maple top with some humbuckers? And so the ASAT Deluxe, the second new model introduced in 1996, came to be. Initially it still had a 3-bolt neck but soon got caught up in the transition to the 4-bolt neck attachment. The ASAT Deluxe line was expanded with the ASAT Deluxe Semi-Hollow the next year as evidenced by the July 1, 1997 price list. The script ASAT model decal was reintroduced on this model but unlike the pre-BBE variant it misses the “by Leo Fender” for legal reason.

Many not familiar with the G&L brand consistently mistake the Jumbo MFD with the more familiar P-90 pickup. When G&L started its Custom Creations Department in 1998, Executive VP Dave McLaren ran with that idea and created the ASAT ‘Junior’ merging a Kalamazoo esthetic with the ASAT, including using TonePros Tune-o-matic (TOM) bridge instead of G&L’s proprietary Saddle-Lock bridge. The reason the ASAT ‘Junior’ is discussed separate from the Broadcaster/ASAT (Special), with which it shared the Jumbo Magnetic Field Design pickups, is that the idea of using a TOM bridge on some ASAT models really became serious with the Korina Collection released in 2011 and repeated in the Savannah Collection 2 years later. Both the Junior and Deluxe in these collections received a TOM bridge and were relabeled to ASAT Junior II and ASAT Deluxe II, respectively, to avoid confusion. Hence, the ASAT Deluxe II is even closer to the Les Paul sharing another characteristic with that model. And beyond the TOM bridge, the ASAT Junior II also has a pair of (G&L designed) P-90 pickups for real this time. The irony ...

Incidentally, the headstocks on a Korina ASAT Deluxe II, Korina Junior II, the ASAT Deluxe Korina and ASAT Deluxe Semi-Hollow TV Jones prototypes, a Savannah ASAT Deluxe II, Savannah Junior II, and Black Ice Collection ASAT Deluxe II are almost the same as found on the ASAT Signature introduced in late-1988, 23 years earlier. Now, a BBE-era script ASAT model decal is combined with a gold G&L block logo displaying the same “MADE IN USA PAT PEND” and “FULLERTON CA” phrases underneath. “PAT PEND” was otherwise only used on instruments built during the first 5 years, say prior to 1985.

In 2017, the ASAT Deluxe got a partner: the ASAT HH RMC. ‘HH’ stands for 2 humbuckers; ’RMC’ is shorthand for Rear-Mounted Controls’, the same as what is referred to as rear-loaded controls in this text. Both specs are already found on the ASAT Deluxe. So why the different name then? The difference is in the woods used for the body. Until it discontinued the model on the April 2021 price list, G&L opted to use the Deluxe qualifier exclusively for the combo of a mahogany body with a (figured) maple top and premium finish. Meanwhile, the ASAT HH RMC is treated as any other ASAT, i.e. with choice of alder or swamp ash body in either premium or standard finish. Also those with other tonewood combinations, e.g. an okoumé or basswood body with (optional) top, are also labeled as ASAT HH RMC. This is particularly relevant to Custom Shop builds. By 2017, G&L had also started to default to their own Alnico humbuckers on all models requiring any, including the ASAT Deluxe and the ASAT HH RMC. This 2021 Custom Shop ASAT HSH RMC is a good example. However, Seymour Duncan humbuckers are still an available option. From 2009 until 2015 one could even opt for EMG humbuckers, mimicking what was available for the F-100, Invader XL, and Legacy HB2 of that era.

Again, relevant advertisements and pages in catalogs present in the collection are included below. And check out the 110 ASAT guitars covered in the ASAT Gallery where many group shots are found.


ASAT Deluxe, ASAT Junior