The world of yowhatsshakin

 
 

Hellecasters member Will Ray’s signature model was introduced at the 2002 Summer NAMM and was a staple in the G&L stable for more than a decade. Although the Will Ray Signature Model could be ordered in about any desired configuration, at the initial release Mr. Ray elected 3 finishes for the solid swamp ash body. The less adventurous could opt for a Clear Orange finish with Pearl pickguard. The “real” thing though came either in Silver Metal Flake or Turquoise Metal Flake (like the one below), both with a mirror pickguard. While Will liked the neck pickup of the Z-3 good enough, the very first WR Sigs had both an overwound middle and bridge Z-coil pups as spec’ed by him. Shortly thereafter however, only the overwound bridge pickup with extended-length pole pieces for a wider bobbin aperture was kept. Since 2004, the volume control was push-pull for additional pickup combinations. The guitar further had a single tone control, 5-way pickup selector, and the Hipshot Will Ray ‘Helle-Bender’ B-bender. The 12” rosewood fingerboard on the hard-rock maple neck had Will’s choice of skull position marker inlays, Dunlop Medium Jumbo 6100 frets, 1⅝” nut, and Schaller chrome locking tuners. This later version has the typical more rounded ASAT headstock shape in contrast to the early version which has a sharper cornered S-500/Comanche headstock like on the ASAT Z-3 protoype for John Jorgenson. Easy to intuit what inspired Will there. My Will Ray came in the standard thermoplastic G&L case but with all the case candy: 2 Will Ray slide rings and 2 of his instructional DVD’s (“B-Bender Mania” and “Stealth Slide”). The US built version of the Will Ray Signature was discontinued at the end of June 2015. But you can still find information at:

http://www.glguitars.com/instruments/USA/guitars/WR_signature/index.asp.

 

G&L Will Ray Signature Model

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  2007

Serial number:    CLF47708

Neck date:          none

Body date:          JUL 31 2007, second stamp JUL 30 2007, UPC has 07/16/07 stamp

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

About a month after I got the Z-3 Semi-Hollow, I received an email from Craig Dewey. Craig has been webmaster of Guitars by Leo (GbL) for many years. In his mail he indicated he wanted to move some guitars and being aware I was still missing a Will Ray Signature, he first wanted to check in with me. After he sent me many pictured, including one of the scratch on the silvered side of the pickguard, the deal was easily made for a guitar with such impeccable provenance. So after years of being without the 2 incarnations of the Z-3 model, both were added to the collection in about 3 weeks (with Z-12 ‘Big Red’ coming on its heels only a week later). And now I own all 3 Signature models (and a prototype) of the steady members of the Hellecasters! This guitar sounds phenomenal. The more powerful bridge pickup adds a lot of grit to the sound. Playing around with the B-Bender is fun (don’t forget to tune the raised note with the set screw). Wonderful instrument with looks and attitude in spades. And no longer in production ...