The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

There are some wild stories out there on what all happened at G&L in the old days. Since I cannot vouch for their veracity I won’t dwell too much on them except to say that not all guitars that left the factory are necessarily accounted for. This is not to say that employees weren’t allowed to come up with their own instruments. This guitar is a prime example of the latter, since it would take until 2007 before an instrument with this pick-up configuration would see a limited, dealer initiated run: the ASAT™Cat. This particular instrument has some enticing features. Its swamp ash body, the wood also used for the 1st run of ASAT™Cats, is adorned with Leo’s signature only available between 1988 and 1992. In addition, it has a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV) but of a special kind. Leo Fender started development of his eponymous Vibrato w/Fine Tuners in 1984. It went through 2 earlier iterations before is ended up like this and was available as an upgrade on any ASAT from 1986 until 1991. Third, the faux-tortoise pickguard and control panel are nice personal touches. Fourth, whoever built this guitar added a late-1980s S-500 MFD pickup just like some of the ASAT IIIs no longer in production, in the middle to the ASAT’s wide-bobbin Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pups. The electronics are filled out by a single volume and tone control and a 5-way switch for more sonic options. Finally, even the hard-rock maple #1 neck with 12” radiused rosewood fingerboard is interesting. It has a 1987 script logo on the headstock but the truss rod and string tree position are commensurate with a post 1990 neck. Of course there is no other information on this one-off. But a beauty it is.

 

G&L ASAT Signature ‘500’ (employee guitar)

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 1991

Serial number:   G019537 (employee guitar)

Neck date:         APR 02 1991, marked ‘CS/B’, ‘body’, ‘2HB’, ‘1S/C’, ‘S/S’, ‘400/2’

Body date:         MAR 20 1991, marked ‘400’, ‘S/B’

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

It took me about half a year, starting in late summer 2014, to finally get this one. At the time, the 2 wide-bobbin MFD’s with an S-500 in the middle was still one of the few pickup combinations missing in the collection. And as stated on the page for my ASAT™Cat, it was hard to find one. I made an offer when it appeared on Reverb but got no response. Made another offer, same thing. And this went on for a couple of weeks. Turned out the seller was on vacation. However, upon return he decided to take it off the market while generously granting me right of first refusal. And he kept his promise when in early-2015 he put it back on the market. You can read a similar story with respect of the Z-coil models in my collection: so you have none, so you have several within the span of just a few weeks. Same here, within a month both the ASAT™Cat prototype as well as this much older employee guitar were added. The body date is the day before Leo Fender passed away with the neck finished shortly thereafter. Impeccable craftsmanship throughout this guitar; it is clear is was made with a lot of attention. Judging from the markings on the neck heel, it was intended to be H/S/H but these pups sound killer. Less hot than on the ASAT™Cat, the in-between sounds have pronounced quack very much like my ASAT III. The missing vibrato arm has been replaced.