My guitar collection - G&L


Among G&L aficionados, it has always been puzzling why the SC-3 had Nighthawk/Skyhawk pickups instead of 3 Jumbo Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups as a logical extension of the SC-1 and SC-2 ‘entry level’ models. Same is true for the next step in the evolution of the SC-2: the ASAT. The pre-BBE, three pickup ASAT III had either Skyhawk or S-500 pups and the 1996-1998 ASAT III had a contemporaneous set of the latter. Small footprint pups once more. So again, why? Leo never provided an answer. And after his death, it took another 7-years before players finally could do the experiment and start figuring it out themselves. The ASAT S-3 was first introduced on the November 1, 1998 price list and displayed at the January 1999 Winter NAMM, with some built as early as mid-1998. As Greg Gagliano states on his ASAT S-3 page, apparently players thought the middle pickup was a hindrance. Hence this model never became popular and production was ceased in early-spring 2001. The ASAT S-3 had a swamp ash body, Saddle-Lock bridge, 3 pickup wiring harness (5-position selector, volume, and tone), hard-rock maple Bi-Cut neck with either 7½” maple or rosewood fingerboard, and Schaller Locking tuning machines. Still, not all could have been bad. Later in 2006, a similar configuration would (re)appear in the guise of the ASAT Trinity Special Edition, followed in May 2011 with a Special Build run of the ASAT S-3 produced for Midlothian School of Music. While in production, this model even had a page on the G&L website which was taken down in December 2013, but an archived snapshot from 2001 can still be accessed.



The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


Dating this guitar is fairly simple, even before taking off the neck. As one can read on the “Serial Number Significance” page on the Guitars by Leo website, the “CL” prefix was introduced in late-1997 and changed (fully) to “CLF” as early as February 1999. And indeed, the body and neck dates show this one to be one of these earlier one-off 1998 ASAT S-3s. Finding one, on the other hand, is not so simple. All in all not many were produced. This ASAT S-3 was bought in the last week of 2012 at Elite Music Sales in Montgomery, AL, after I missed out on one in mid-2011. It is interesting to compare this model with either ASAT Trinity Special Edition in this collection. Although not stated on the webpage cited above, the middle pickup is Reverse Wound/Reverse Polarity like on the ASAT Trinity Special Edition; only the ASAT S-3 prototype (S/N CL07011) had an “ordinary” middle pickup. But without the expansion switch and the different body wood, one should experience some sonic differences. The ASAT S-3 has way more bite than the ASAT Trinity Special Edition; the guitar is fairly loud. But when you dial down the volume, some delectable clean tones come to the foreground, especially in the in-between settings adding noticeable (but not overwhelming) quack to the mix. Personally, I have no problem with the placement of such a large pup in the middle whether playing a Trinity or this ASAT S-3. So no complaints here (yet).

The story behind this guitar



NOV 29(?) 1998, marked ‘Locking Keys!’, ‘ASAT’

NOV 19 1998

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