The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

Another unique prototype produced by G&L in the pre-BBE days, entered as such in Dale Hyatt’s sales log on 10-9-87 under invoice #3944. The appearance of this one-off is rather spartan: 2-piece swamp ash body in Natural finish, single-ply black plastic pickguard, black powder-coated Saddle-Lock aluminum bridge and control panel, black chromed single volume and tone control, 3-way pickup selector, flamed hard-rock maple neck with 7½” radius maple fingerboard, and black anodized closed G&L stamped Schaller machines. Everything a “Poor man’s Broadcaster” would look like even including the rectangular string retainer on the headstock. So what makes this prototype so special? It is not the neck pickup which is the standard wide-bobbin Magnetic Field Design (MFD) single-coil pickup. The magic is all in the bridge pup: a Cavalier humbucker as introduced shortly before on that eponymous model, adding the highs and clarity Mr. Fender loved so dearly. This prototype also has unique electronics Leo was experimenting with around that time wiring the pickups out-of-phase when used together. I know of no other instrument that has this as a factory provided feature. As expected, no other webpage exists for the ‘CavSAT’.

 

G&L ‘CavSat’ prototype

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 1987

Serial number:    G021821 (prototype)

Neck date:         OCT 01 1987, marked ‘3’, ‘5’, another illegible stamp, ‘2’ written on butt.

Body date:         none

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

As stated in the text for the HG-2, Jon Chaikin had sent me a list of instruments he wanted to sell. Strangely enough, the ‘CavSAT’ is not part of it. Still, when Jon was about to move to a different house in May 2014, he dropped me an email offering this guitar. He had gotten it a number of years earlier from Tim Page who ran Buffalo Brothers at the time. Tim had gotten it from John Paul Daniel, guitar player in the Eddie Rabbit Hare Trigger Band, who either bought it from Dale Hyatt (version 1) or received it as a gift from Leo (version 2) while the band toured the factory in the day. According to Tim, both stories may be true. Dale Hyatt would be the man they would be dealing with. And of course a meet-and-greet with Leo would be another highlight. John Paul told Tim the ‘CavSAT’ had been in Leo’s lab and Dale showed it to him. Leo said he could have it, Dale wrote it up! Two things stick out right away when you pick up and play this guitar. First off, the finish is extremely thin and always was that way as evidenced when looking under the pickguard. Turns out it is not a finish at all; only sealant has been applied, which explains why you can feel the wonderful grain of the ash. Secondly, each pickup by itself sounds great as expected. That bell like quality of a good MFD neck pickup and the Cavalier bucker with more highs than you might expect from a bucker. But together? Together they create magic! The sound is something entirely unique and beautiful. Must be some of Leo’s magic he put into that out-of-phase circuitry. One would seriously wish other G&Ls would have received a similar treatment.