My guitar collection - G&L


Until the end of his life, Leo Fender loved to work on pickups. His G&L office/lab can still be found in (almost) the same condition as when he left it for the last time on the evening of March 19, 1991. The workbench has a Music Man amp and a Conn/Peterson Strobe tuner. Another table is full of jigs, fixtures, and parts he used for his research. One of the last pickups he developed was the Z-coil Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickup, introduced on the Comanche V in 1988 and Comanche VI shortly thereafter, combining the clarity and highs of a single-coil pup with the noise cancellation of humbucker. After production of the Comanche was stopped at the end of 1991, this pickup disappeared from any production model. That is not to say it was not in use by some up-and-coming guitar player by the name of John Jorgenson, who had been gigging several G&Ls for a number of years. He really liked them on his unique prototype Comanche and was curious how well they would sound in an ASAT. It would also provide John with a backup guitar on stage. Hence G&L built him this prototype following John’s specs, basically copying his Comanche for all but the body shape and tone stack: 3 Z-coil MFD pickups mounted on a soft maple, originally Black, ASAT III body, experimental Z-3 wiring harness (5-position pickup selector, volume, tone), Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV), and hard-rock maple (S-500) neck with rosewood fingerboard. The factory routed “bathtub” provides space for the pups. Marty Bell refinished the body in Silver Flake. It would take until 1997 before Z-coils reappeared on the (reintroduced) Comanche and the ASAT Z-3. This exact guitar is further discussed in this post on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website.


ASAT Z-3 prototype (for John Jorgenson)

The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


The age of this guitar is somewhat in dispute. According to Greg Gagliano on his website, John had it built “In the late 1980, ...”, in line with the 1990 date stamps for both body and neck. However, notice the headstock still has a (skinny) script “by Leo Fender” decal, a feature not seen after May 1989, a year and a half prior to the neck date stamp! But in an 2012 email he sent to Craig Dewey, John Jorgenson himself thinks he received this guitar in the 1995 timeframe when G&L paid him off with a whole bunch of guitars as collateral to the endorsement deal for the John Jorgenson Signature going south. John also talks about this time period in a 2010 Rick Landers interview referenced in the The Hellecaster section. At least he recalls he played it extensively during the 1995 The Hellecasters tour as well as with the Elton John Band later on. The S/N also places it in the 1994/1995 time frame; later than 1990 at the least. With Dean Coy in attendance, GbL webmaster Craig Dewey bought this guitar from John after attending a The Hellecasters’ reunion concert at Deke Dickerson’s Guitar Geek Festival in January 2012. John and Craig knew each other from an earlier transaction where Craig’s maple board JJ Sig was traded for John’s rosewood board JJ Sig. Some emails were exchanged by Dean and John in 1998 and Craig and John in 2012, which are part of the provenance. Due to the nature of the correspondence, I have elected not to show these emails here. This is a quintessential source guitar for the Z-coil pickups with a rare DFV to boot. The guitar sounds quiet and extremely well balanced. From bark to jazz; just adjust the volume and/or change the selected pickup(s). From the height of the pole pieces, it looks that either John and/or his guitar tech played around a bit balancing the strings. Clearly a guitar set up for a professional.

The story behind this guitar

1990 (as per the date stamps, but likely assembled in 1994-1995)

G036433 (prototype)

DEC 7 1990

APR 16 1990

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