The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

The role Dale Hyatt (December 10, 1926 - March 28, 2013) has played in the success of Leo Fender has never been stressed enough. Dale was a hard-edged WW II veteran with a can-do attitude, a trait essential to become successful in sales. He was on the road for Fender starting in 1955, as he tells himself in his NAMM Oral History contribution. And through his contacts with dealers (and players), he had his ear close to the ground and was able to provide feedback of what was good or bad. It is no coincidence Leo sought him out to become a partner in G&L Music Sales Inc. The work was divvied up pretty simple: while Leo focussed more on developing new pickups, George took care of manufacturing, and Dale sales. However, after George took on a more advisory role when Leo bought out his stake in G&L Musical Products Inc. in 1985, Dale effectively ran the daily operations of both subdivisions. He meticulously kept the famed sales logs referenced frequently in these pages, with separate logs for basses and guitars, to make sure “he would get exactly what he ordered from manufacturing”. And if this is not enough, his contributions to G&L went far beyond that: he is (co-)designer many of the models G&L released in the 1980s, most notably the 1st X-body and 2nd X-body Interceptors, Broadcaster, Comanche VI, and the Commemorative. To honor Leo Fender, this guitar is what Dale Hyatt originally envisioned the whole Commemorative run to look like: a triple bound ASAT Classic with Honduran mahogany body sandwiched between lacewood veneer sourced from Exotic Wood in Sicklerville, NJ, highly figured maple neck, and gold plated hardware including a Commemorative neck plate with engraved serial number. Each instrument would be treated specially in manufacturing and hence the series had its separate sales log. They would be the best G&L could produce. And this is HIS guitar as evidenced by the letters of provenance signed by his son Ken below. Instead of the more common Bird’s Eye maple neck, #1 has a beautifully, highly flamed curly maple #2 (7½” radius) neck and fingerboard, the only one made this way. However, it turned out to be too cost prohibitive to built 1000 of these instruments in this wood configuration leading to the limitation of a total of 7 Lacewood Commemoratives. Not that any Cherryburst Commemoratives would lack similar special attention though! Lacewood Commemorative #1 was completed and inspected by Gene Engelhart on “10-17-91” and entered in the sales log without an invoice number the same day with “DALE” in the “PO#” column.


To learn more about the Lacewood Commemoratives one has to consult the Registry on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website or any of the printed books cited on my “G&L: What has been written before ...” page. I am happy to know Mike Teepe, Larry Garrett, and Gabe Dellevigne who have provided me with a lot, if not almost all, of the information on the G&L Commemorative series, and the Lacewoods in particular, through private communication.

 

G&L Lacewood Commemorative Edition #1

The story behind this guitar

Year:                 1991

Serial number:    1 (#1 of 1000, built for Dale Hyatt, first of 7 Lacewood Commemoratives)

Neck date:          OCT 09 1991, marked ‘#’, ‘CL’, ‘426’

Body date:          OCT 07 1991, marked ‘Dale’, ‘# 1’, ’10-17-91’

Strings:               Optima/Maxima Gold Strings Electric Guitar Roundwound 2028 EL (9-42)

This is the second Lacewood I acquired. But getting these “holy grails of G&L guitars” and definite crown jewels in my ASAT collection was quite the struggle. Lacewood #26 has it’s own story, but both were highly intertwined during the summer of 2013. Lacewood Commemoratives are hardly ever seen in the marketplace. You’ll need to know an owner or somebody who can bring you into contact with an owner after which the negotiations can start. That is how e.g. George’s Lacewood #3 has ended up with its current owner whom I know too. Or they are offered in estate sales, as was the case for #1. After having missed out on #26 at the end of 2012, I was ecstatic when I received an email from G&L connoisseur Gabe Dellevigne early May 2013 seeking me out whether I was interested in purchasing one or more instruments from the Hyatt estate. He sent me a bunch of links to a hosting site with pictures of about 10 instruments. And needless to say Lacewood #1 was part of it. After an affirmative answer he put me in contact with Ken Hyatt, Dale’s son. I happened to be in the Netherlands again so it took some time to get back to him. At that time some weird stuff had happened with the result that the complete collection was purchased by Mike Teepe, proprietor of Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO, as I found out a couple of weeks after the fact while browsing the web. When Gary Maki offered me #26 right about the same time, that could (and maybe should?) have been the end of it. Were it not that I had this vision of being able to take a picture of a particular group of Commemoratives, with this one being a prominent part of it. So when Lacewood #1 became available a year later for a better price that I would have paid Mr. Hyatt, I decided that this was the opportunity I had waited for. And look at that beauty! Upon arrival, the truss rod needed to be loosened about a ¼ turn to allow a bit more back bow to avoid buzzing but that was about it. A wonderful sounding guitar with nice tones, even more so when at slightly lower volume when the pure, undistorted richness of the pups comes to the fore.