The world of yowhatsshakin


Going over the specs, at first this guitar may seem quite ordinary. A 2-piece swamp ash body in black finish, white powder-coated aluminum pickguard, hard-rock maple neck with 7½” maple fingerboard, black pearloid markers, and a 1⅝” nut. Pretty standard for an ASAT built around 1990. But there are plenty of additional interesting touches on this instrument. First, for the pickup configuration, it sports G&L Nighthawk/Skyhawk Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups in the neck and middle positions; in contrast to my pre-BBE ASAT III which has the more common S-500 pups. But in the bridge position we find a GHB pickup better known as a HG-2 humbucker. When reading the caption for one of Jeff Byrd’s 2 ASAT II HSS’s, it is stated that Paul Bechtoldt, author of “G&L: Leo’s Legacy”, has recorded the existence of about 5 ASAT III’s with this configuration. But no such explicit statement appears in his book in my possession; the ASAT III is not discussed at all. More likely, the production number can be traced back to the logs still in the possession of BBE and Mike Teepe of Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO, who acquired Dale’s copy from his estate. On top of that, starting in 1988, a Leo Fender signature decal on the upper bass bout was optional on any model available. These guitars are collectively referred to as Signature models. To top it off, all its hardware, i.e. the Locktight (renamed to Saddle-Lock in 1992 to avoid confusion with a popular super glue) bridge, control panel, knurled knobs, and Sperzel locking tuners, even the pole pieces, are all gold plated! So this guitar turns out to be a rare bird among the Rarebirds. On the page for this model only one other ASAT III HSS is found (G027871).



The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1991

Serial number:    G028953

Neck date:         APR 10 1991

Body date:         APR 12 1990

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

After the rare ASAT ’50 and pristine Broadcaster w/maple board, the third instrument I purchased from Gary Maki, who in turn got it from Andrew Campbell, a musician who tested instruments for G&L. And as described above, this is another rarity. The 5-, 3-, and 4-position on the pickup selector are what you expect: nice warm tones from either the neck or middle pickup with some added quack when combining both, respectively. Just the bridge pickup in the 1-position is exactly as described by Greg Gagliano in association with an ASAT III HSS w/DFV on his website: slightly more output than the single coil MFD and brighter than the usual humbucker. Nice sound. But the weirdest is the 2-position on this guitar. Combining the bridge humbucker with the middle pickup is like kicking in an almost floored wah pedal. A sound I have never heard on any guitar unless you would use some filter type effects pedal. Very interesting and intriguing; 1970s funk straight from the guitar!