The world of yowhatsshakin


After the name change from Nighthawk to Skyhawk (see the “G&L: The Improved Strat” page), G&L offered the latter with more colors and body woods. But otherwise the two guitars were initially identical. Beyond the more commonly found Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato (DFV), a few Skyhawks appeared with (in increased order of rarity) Kahler™ 2320 flat mount fine-tuner floating vibrato, Leo Fender Vibrato (see e.g. this 1987 Skyhawk on Greg Gagliano’s website), or Locktight (Saddle Lock) bridge. This specimen has a nice swamp ash body in Clear Blue finish with the Kahler vibrato and hard-rock maple #1 neck with 12” radius maple fingerboard and matching headstock. It also has the redesigned circuitry to sonically differentiate the Skyhawk from the S-500 even more. Its 3 narrow-bobbin Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pups have more windings, again placed slightly differently than on the S-500, are surrounded by a plastic pickguard. A separate black wrinkle powder-coated control panel has the single volume control with Passive Treble and Bass (PTB) tone stack and a 5-way pickup selector switch rounds out the electronics. Although none have the Kahler tremolo, Greg also features a slew of 1984 Skyhawks: a Black with ebony board, a Black with maple board, a Clear Red, and a White specimen. Definitely worth checking out to learn more about the history of this model.


G&L Skyhawk w/Kahler

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1986

Serial number:    G017482

Neck date:         APR 23 1986

Body date:         AUG 14 1985 (day and month barely legible)

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

This is one of the few Skyhawks with both a Kahler 2320 vibrato as well as a maple fingerboard. Including this one, there are 9 that can be found in the Guitars by Leo (GbL) Registry, 7 of them with ash body in Clear Blue finish with matching headstock! This Skyhawk appeared on eBay in the summer of 2016 listed in a non-trivial rubric so most people interested in vintage G&Ls likely missed seeing it. Although the seller had zero feedback, it was worth the chance given the description and numerous pictures provided in the auction. Even more so after it became clear this guitar was part of a deceased farther’s collection being liquidated by his son. Although this is a Skyhawk built after the circuit was redesigned, the DC-impedance of the pups are more in the S-500 range than the Nighthawk range: N:4.72kΩ, M:4.52kΩ, B:4.61kΩ. Although you might notice the values seem “scrambled”, i.e. here the highest value is found on the neck pup. It all leads to this guitar sounding incredibly powerful. The mid-positions do not exhibit an enormous amount of “quack” but are very musical nonetheless. Another fine G&L product.