1987 G&L ASAT Electric Guitar

The American-made, Leo Fender-curated, G&L instruments are quality products. While many suffer a small bit from '80s fashion sense, the ASAT models are retro enough to remain classics. This one, while sporting black hardware, remains tres cool. Perhaps it's because that hardware has a textured coating or perhaps because the sunburst finish has weather-checked just-so -- there's a certain something about this guitar that makes it a little more approachable, I think, to a vintage snob like myself.

It may also just be that it sounds good, too. The proprietary G&L pickups have an excellent voice to them. The neck pickup sounds a lot like an early, mids-centric Jaguar pickup while the bridge pickup is a slightly mellowed take on a Telecaster bridge sound. It has plenty of "country twang" for my ears. The neck pickup's extra girth and clarity-of-voice also makes it immediately more usable than a stock Tele-style neck pickup.

Mr. Fender thought of many improvements to his basic designs for the G&L range, and the "locking saddle" bridge design, two-piece maple neck (to avoid twist), and pickups are the most obvious ones. They all help to contribute to a stable, reliable, professional build.

Work included: a fret level/dress, cleaning, replacement a faulty panel jack with a football-style plate and standard Switchcraft jack, and full setup. It play spot-on with hair-over 1/16" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 46w-10 gauges.

Scale length: 25 1/2"
Nut width: 1 5/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/8"
Body length: 16 1/8"
Lower bout width: 12 5/8"
Upper bout width: 10 7/8"
Side depth at endblock: 1 3/4"
Neck profile: ~12" board, slim-C rear
Weight: 9 lb, 0 oz
Body wood: maple
Neck wood: maple
Fretboard: ebony

Condition notes: the pickguard is cracked in two places -- one near the neck joint and one at the "horn" -- the horn crack has a missing piece of pickguard, unfortunately. I also replaced the terrible (they always fail) panel jack with a football-style jack plate and normal Switchcraft jack.  The owner also dressed-up the finish on the back of the neck where its center-seam had a raised portion of finish previously. The guitar is otherwise entirely original and has a great, aged-in look to its body finish. Lastly, I added a leather pad to the reverse of the string tree at the headstock to give better back-angle on the strings at the nut.

It comes with: its original hard shell case with original sales material.

The three-bolt neck features micro-tilt for more major action adjustments.


phogue said…
Hm! Looks gorgeous.
Phillips said…
Legend has it that Leo himself signed the inspection label in the neck pocket of some of these early g&l
Nick R said…
Back in 1992, Guitar Player did a whole issue on all things Telecaster. There was a review of umpteen different Tele style guitars across a whole load of price points- low to high including set neck variants. After all the reviews and tests were done, the participants were asked to pick their favourite guitar- just based on its overall performance and appeal. The guitar that won was the G & L ASAT Classic- which is more retro styled than this one- a classic Telecaster with the G & L refinements- a fabulous instrument- the Tele man's Telecaster! I got mine at Manny's Music(RIP) in 1995 and boy did they do me a great deal!
Gallons of Alan said…
I remember that same Guitar Player article! I was searching for a Tele, read the magazine, then went all over Austin trying every Telecaster in town. The G&L was my favorite by far. I bought it and still own it today.
The G&L ASAT has to be the most under appreciated guitar of all time. I love the ASAT, but anytime I bring it up around guitarists they have no idea who G&L is. I'll always go with them before Fender. Leo himself said they were the best guitars he'd built up to that point. Nice article btw, great pics too.