The world of yowhatsshakin


Although G&L had built a Z-coil equipped ASAT prototype for John Jorgenson somewhere around 1994-1995, it took another 2 years or so for it to become available to the general public. Its reintroduction, together with the Comanche, was announced at the January 1997 NAMM Show in Los Angeles and covered in the “G&L Craftsman” in May 1997. What both of these models have in common is the Z-coil, (one of) Leo’s last forays into pickup design, which had until then only been available on the pre-BBE era Comanche V and Comanche VI. These nifty pickups use separate, slightly offset reverse wound Magnetic Field Design coils for the 3 bass strings and 3 treble strings, such that hum is cancelled but still with a lot of the single coil sparkle. This exemplar has a semi-hollow swamp ash body with an f-hole in Tobacco Sunburst finish, wood top binding, and 3-ply crème pickguard nicely contrasting the black pickup covers. The gold hardware (Saddle-Lock bridge, control panel, single volume and tone control, 5-way pickup selector, strap buttons, output jack, and Schaller locking tuners) give it extra cachet and makes this guitar somewhat rare since G&L stopped offering this option around 2005 due to rapidly fluctuating gold prices. The beautifully flamed hard-rock maple #2 neck, with 7½” maple fingerboard, Dunlop Medium Jumbo 6100 frets, and 1⅝” nut, only adds more to it. For the web page on the G&L site see:


G&L ASAT Z-3 Semi-Hollow

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  2000

Serial number:    CLF20851 (2001 Winter NAMM guitar, featured in 2001 G&L catalog p. 10)

Neck date:          2000, marked ‘Neckwork’, ‘tinted glossy’, ‘Z-3’, initials

Body date:          NOV 14 2000

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

The Special Edition ASAT Z-2 had been in my collection for a number of years. Still, I had never come around to get a Z-3 and/or Will Ray Signature model. That is not to say I hadn’t been lusting for fellow G&L collector Darwin Ohman’s Z-3 Semi-Hollow with gold hardware and been tempted to ask him many a time whether he wanted to part with it. And then at the end of March of 2014, right when I got laid-off, this beauty showed up on eBay, also a semi-hollow with gold hardware. Fortunately, I found a great new position within a week and to celebrate the occasion, this guitar was acquired for a very reasonable price. The case it came with had a missing center latch but I replaced it with a period correct G&L tolex hardshell case I had in surplus. The surprises started to roll in when I started documenting this guitar. First look at all the scribbles in the bath tub rout: “Z-3” for the model, “TSN” for Tobacco Sunburst, “MP” for maple fingerboard, “TGN” for ‘Tinted Gun-oil Neck’, “BLK CVRS” for black pick-up covers, “GOLD H. WARE” for gold hardware, the self-explanatory “WOOD BINDING”, “- C” which I cannot place, and “209105” likely for the order number. But there is also “NAMM” in the upper left corner which in this case relates to the Winter NAMM held in Anaheim between January 18-21, 2001. This guitar must have been on display there having been built only a couple of months prior. Then I recalled having seen a particular picture of a Z-3 Semi-Hollow with gold hardware. And indeed, there she is in the 2001 G&L catalog on page 10! In addition, for a while she was used as an example for a Tobacco Sunburst finish on the G&L website. And she sounds as gorgeous as the looks. Although still with the old electronics which doesn’t allow the bridge and neck pickups to be combined (a feature introduced in 2004), there is some serious quack in the in between settings. The high-definition of the Z-coils make the controls very responsive and one can dial in about any sound. Only thing I wonder about is this: why did it take me so long before finally getting a Z-3? But then again, I would not have stumbled over this treasure.