G&L tech resources: Wiring harnesses


Although one might have expected something similar as on the 2nd style SC-2, the wiring harness of the Broadcaster, a model introduced in 1985, contains a mixture of elements in wiring harnesses discussed so far. The volume control is a CTS 250kΩ Audio Taper potentiometer with a 200pF treble bleed capacitor as found on the late-1984 ‘entry level‘ guitars whereas the CTS 250kΩ Audio Taper (treble cut) tone pot has a 100,000pF (.1µF) treble bleed cap from signal to the wiper and is in series with a 6.8kΩ resistor to ground, added to modify the tone taper, as also found on the 2nd style SB-1 basses and pre-BBE Invaders. When the Broadcaster was renamed to ASAT a year later, the wiring harness stayed the same, and did so until about April 1990, as demonstrated by a relevant sample from each year between 1986 and 1990: an ASAT “Poor man’s Broadcaster” w/maple fingerboard (1986), ‘The Rembrandt’ (1988), ASAT (low string tree) (1989), and last but not least, an ASAT Signature from around April 1990. Of course there have to be exceptions. My ASAT “Poor man’s Broadcaster” w/ebony fingerboard and ASAT, both built in the first half of 1987, have a 20pF treble bleed cap and their volume pot! In 1998, Paul Gagon drew up the block diagram for this wiring harness, accessible here in the Gallery of the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website or the archived G&L website but included here for convenience. Note the mention of the (standard) ASAT and ASAT Special as relevant models, even though the ASAT Special was only introduced 1992. By that year, the harness had evolved already and was now identical to the contemporaneous ASAT Classic. This meant the removal of the 6.8kΩ resistor and lowering the value of the treble bleed cap on the treble pot to 22,000pF (.022µF). There is some debate on when this transition exactly took place. It has to be later than April 1990 given a couple of other known ASAT Signatures, both built around the same time period, and both with the resistor still in place. The first is a Cherryburst ASAT Signature with S/N G026690, previously owned by Trevor Midgley (aka Beau) which he bought at the October 1990 Arlington Guitar show in Texas. The neck date is FEB 26 1990, body date SEP 25 1989, both dates (almost) identical to the ASAT Signature shown here, but came with an original hang tag dated 4-10-1990, or April 10, 1990. The other is an iconic ASAT Signature better known as ‘Char’ and is included below. Her date stamps of DEC 4 1989 (body) and MAR 20 1990 (neck) allude to having been completed towards the end of April, maybe early-May. By then, the removal clearly had still not taken place yet. This schematic in the GbL Gallery, drawn by George Fullerton in July 1990, already shows the ASAT Classic wiring harness applied to an ASAT. And it has to be in or before October 1990. Both this ASAT Classic w/gold Leo Fender Vibrato from October 1990, just a couple of months after ‘Char’, as well as Will Ray’s first ASAT, with late-September 1990 pot dates and a December 1990 neck date, have the ASAT Classic harness. What is for sure is that the transition happened well before BBE Sound, Inc. bought G&L at the end of 1991. For the basic version of the ASAT Special, the harness has been like this ever since although the sourcing and brands of pots have varied over time. This 1993 ASAT Special has Japanese pots whereas Guitar Shorty’s ASAT Special, built only a year later, has CTS pots again when these Japanese pots consistently had QA issues. In 2009, G&L released the C.L.F. Centennial ASAT. Although this would have been an opportunity to reintroduce the original harness, (unfortunately) that did not happen. It has the same 250kΩ Audio Taper volume pot with 200pF treble bleed cap and 250kΩ Audio Taper tone pot with 22,000pF (.022µF) treble bleed cap as found on a modern day ASAT Special. The wiring harness for some special versions of the ASAT, especially those with hotter pickups, are discussed in the “Other ASAT harnesses” section.


Broadcaster/ASAT (Special)