The world of yowhatsshakin


A very popular configuration amongst the Nashville session cats is the so-called “Nashville setup”: a marriage of a Telecaster body with Stratocaster electronics: an additional middle pickup, a 5-way switch but only the single tone control. The G&L version is called ASAT III and produced between 1987 and 1991. Judging from the measured DC-impedance values (N:4.43kΩ, M:4.44kΩ, B:4.48kΩ), this guitar seems to have the more common Magnetic Field Design (MFD) S-500 pickups but with less windings. Few have MFD pickups as found on the Nighthawk/Skyhawk and there are also a handful ASAT III HSS models with a HG-2 humbucker in the bridge position. As an aside, when George in “Guitars from George & Leo: How Leo Fender and I Built G&L Guitars” claims that the same Skyhawk MFD’s are used in the “modern day S-500”, he is talking about the 1990-1991 S-500. The true modern day S-500, demoed in this instructive G&L video by Steve Grom, has even more windings of poly-coated wire instead of enamel. The ASAT III usually has a 2-piece swamp ash body, but the guitar below seems to have a soft maple body. Depending on the finish, they either had black wrinkle powder-coated hardware or a white powder-coated aluminum pickguard with chrome Locktight (i.e. Saddle-Lock) bridge, control panel, and knurled knobs, and Sperzel locking tuners. The headstock shows the ‘by Leo Fender’ script logo. This guitar has a hard-rock maple neck with 7½” maple fingerboard, black pearloid markers, and a 1⅝” nut. In contrast to the BBE-era ASAT III’s produced between 1995 and 1998, the Pre-BBE era ASAT III is considered to be a Rarebird and information can be found here.



The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1989

Serial number:    G025054

Neck date:         JAN 21 1989, second stamp NOV 17 1988

Body date:         JAN 25 1989

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

This guitar belonged to Tom Giberson who bought it new in 1990 and gigged it between 1991 and 1995. He put it up on the GbL Marketplace and I could not resist snatching up this beautiful example. The back of this guitar has some nice figuring and the finish is an as beautiful, but darkened, Cherryburst finish as the very first G&L I ever purchased: my Legacy Special. The Tele-shaped body makes the Skyhawk/S-500 electronics appear in a completely different environment. Greg Gagliano claims on his website that the ASAT III sounds neither like a S-500 nor an ASAT, and lets assume here he’s talking about pre-BBE models. I can assure you he is right on both accounts. You hear the quack in the middle positions but with a Tele-twang to it. Sonically, this (heavy) guitar is enormously diverse and one of my absolute faves. Even now owning one, I have to hold myself back time and again whenever a pre-BBE ASAT III comes on the market. It is pretty clear to me now why session musicians would go for a set-up like this!