G&L tech resources: Pickups


Humbucker were the standard in the mid-1980s. Eddie’s “Frankenstrat” had a single pickup and it was a humbucker. “Original” Strats and Teles were hardly seen. When Dale wanted to have 2 humbuckers in the models G&L released in 1985-1986, G&L only had the MFD guitar humbucker available. Evidenced by the commercial success, or lack thereof, of the F-100 and/or G-200, clearly that was not was not what the market was looking for. Seymour Duncan was one of the possible sources but, for reasons no longer completely retrievable, Leo was against using a PAF pickup. One can only posit this had to do with them being too ‘Gibson’. Now we know Dale went with Helmut Schaller’s company and their humbucker. But Seymour Duncan pickups became much used pickups in the BBE-era, when Leo had passed away and Dale was no longer at G&L.

The Legacy, introduced in 1992, later had G&L’s own CLF-100 pickups but started out with a set of Vintage Flat Strat (SSL-2) pickups, only differing from the more vintage-correct SSL-1 set by not having staggered pole pieces. But then again, most guitarists were using thinner string gauges that staggering was no longer necessary for a balanced sound. Between 1992 and 1996, Gotoh buckers were used on the Climax models. These buckers were based on the Seymour Duncan Distortion (SH-6N) neck pickup and Distortion Trembucker (TB-6) bridge pickup. Rumor has it a few Climaxes left the factory with the latter pickups. But after 1996 Seymour Duncan humbuckers became the standard. The JB Trembucker (TB-4) bridge humbucker and, where appropriate, the ‘59 (SH-1N) neck humbucker were used on all Invader models, e.g. the Invader Plus, as well as the ASAT Deluxe. The latter pickup was also tested when Tim Page developed the ASAT BB (Blues Boy) Special Edition in 1999 but Seymour himself advised to use the Seth Lover (SH-55N) neck humbucker for a better balance with the ASAT Classic MFD neck pickup. This pickup is also used on the ASAT Classic Bluesboy when it became a production model by 2001, even when the bridge pickup is an Alnico pickup as illustrated by this 2014 ASAT Classic Bluesboy Alnico Semi-Hollow. Still, the ’59 (SH-1N) appeared on some of the 28 ASAT Classic ‘Blues Boy’ Mahogany guitars built in 2005 because it supposedly matches better with the hog body. Unfortunately, even in this configuration this pickup is no saving grace. Hence, the remainder are among the first to have a (hand-wound) G&L AS4250B neck humbucker instead. The year 2004 had seen another failed experiment in the very short lived ASAT JD-5, intended to become Jerry Donahue’s Signature model. In providing the specs, Jerry requested his trusty bridge pickup: the Jerry Donahue Lead Tele (APTL-3JD). That same year, also the ‘RampASAT’ was built; a prototype with a Screamin’ Demon (SH-12) bridge humbucker, a pickup designed for George Lynch. Unfortunately, the standard spacing on this pickup does not match the spacing typical for a Fender model, and hence one should have used the Screamin’ Demon Trembucker (TB-12). Finally, for the limited run ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow okoumé w/Port Orford cedar top, the Jazz (SH-2N) neck humbucker was used. As always, any Seymour Duncan humbuckers can be ordered with a variety of colored bobbins, with or without a cover, and are still a valid option on many G&L guitars as per this list of G&L US Specifications and Options dated January 15, 2020.


Other OEM: Seymour Duncan