The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

A year after G&L introduced narrow-bobbin Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pups on the S-500, it issued a second model which at first glance looked very similar. The Nighthawk, with mahogany, swamp ash, or soft maple body had a similar shape and similar controls: a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV) with old-style arm, single volume control, and separate treble and bass tone controls. But as the picture below and the side-by-side comparison on the “G&L: The Improved Strat” page show, the layout of the pickups is very different. One would also find the Nighthawk pups to have a lower DC-resistance, e.g. N:4.30kΩ, M:4.29kΩ, B:4.25kΩ and N:4.48kΩ, M:4.66kΩ, B:4.89kΩ for this guitar compared to my S-500, respectively. Additionally, the magnets have lower strength, all leading to a different, mellower sound. These pickups were expressly designed to be potential drop-in replacements for Stratocaster pups and hence have round corners instead of the square ones found on the S-500. Finally, the hard-rock maple neck with 7½” radiused fingerboard, on this guitar ebony, has a slightly smaller headstock. Due to a legal threat, the name was changed to Skyhawk late 1983. In all, only 269 Nighthawks exist giving it the Rarebird status. On its page one can find the exact distribution of color finishes as gleaned from the Dale Hyatt sales logs.

 

G&L Nighthawk

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1983

Serial number:    G011949

Neck date:          SEP 3 1983

Body date:          JUL 11 1983

Strings:               D’Addario EXL120 Nickel Wound Super Light (9-42)

In January 2014, Greg Gagliano put up this Nighthawk for sale in the Marketplace of the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website. Greg is one of the premier experts of all things G&L with a wonderful website. As it happens, this guitar is featured there. It being a Rarebird certainly helped in the decision to purchase it but the raves of other GbL members about the Nighthawk/Skyhawk was a big factor too. And this model is the originator of the pups used on the SC-3 as well as on the ASAT III three years later. This guitar comes with the original vibrato arm and OHSC, although with one broken latch. But what a sweet guitar this is. Less output compared to the S-500 but still that hi-fi character. Couldn’t put her down when she came in. The maple body might have some influence on all, but comparisons with both my ash Skyhawk and Skyhawk Signature are inconclusive. The weather checking of the nitro finish just gives that extra character to this beauty.