The world of yowhatsshakin


After introduction of the Comanche V, with its revolutionary Z-coil pickups, Dale Hyatt and G&L employee Steve Reed developed the Comanche VI, released in 1988, with similar appointments as the V but entirely unique electronics. This initiative was taken independent from Leo Fender! Instead of the Passive Treble and Bass (PTB) tone stack one finds single volume and tone controls and the 5-way pickup selector is replaced by 6 mini-toggles: a triplet of 2-position switches to turn the separate pups on/off, and a trio of 3-position switches to turn on either of the half-coils or both for a total of 63 different combinations actually producing sound. There is a subtle difference between the Comanche V and VI: the former has the 2 half-coils connected in series, the latter in parallel which leads to a sweeter sounding pickup on the VI. This Comanche VI Signature has a swamp ash body, a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV), white enamel aluminum pickguard, hard-rock maple #2 neck with 7½” radius East Indian rosewood fingerboard, and Sperzel locking tuners. Production of both the Comanche V and VI was halted in 1991 before BBE took over operations. G&L’s Custom Creations Department (CCD) reprised the Comanche VI as the Comanche Studio VI in 2007 in a limited number of 100. Greg Gagliano’s website to find a 1990 Comanche VI Signature and another one from 1992. The pre-BBE Comanche VI has its own page among the Rarebirds.


G&L Comanche VI Signature

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 1989

Serial number:   G024665

Neck date:         MAY 19 1989, marked ‘#’, ‘#2’

Body date:         MAY 10 1989, marked ‘#’

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

After I received the Cavalier-E, I was definitely gunning for a BBE-era Comanche V or VI to finish of all source guitars, i.e. non-ASAT models on which a pickup later found on an ASAT variant was introduced. I found a Comanche V in France, a little far away to be able to get it economically. C’est la vie! So I put out an ad on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website. Lo and behold, I got a response from noted collector Larry Garrett no less. He offered me to pick any of his 3 Comanche VIs. I selected this one not because it was the most beautiful, a BBE-era 1992 employee guitar once owned by Gary Maki earned that distinction, nor was it the oldest, that honor befell a Comanche VI with Interceptor body and teat-less sickle headstock. Rather I picked this rather utilitarian version because it fit the goal of being a “source guitar” best, even knowing this guitar needed some TLC in a whammy bar,  new tuner for the B-string, and affixing the strap button properly. The kicker was that Larry offered it as part of a package deal including the ultra-rare (and that’s an understatement) ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens’ he got from Dale Hyatt a couple of years ago. This guitar was entered in Dale Hyatt’s sales log on 5-26-89 for invoice #4254 and came originally with an all maple neck and board. But it was returned only a couple of weeks later (RR 4584) and was sent out again on 6/13/89 as part of invoice #4260, now with this neck with rosewood board. According to Larry, this is the best sounding though. It is fun to experiment with all of these settings but hard to find some sound that really speak to me. The number of switch combinations is rather overwhelming, and when you also throw in the tone control, keeping track of it all is somewhat of a nightmare. Still a very cool guitar though!