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G&L ASAT Guitars

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About the G&L ASAT

The release of the ASAT in 1986 helped to cement G&L’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the world of electric guitars. An obvious descendant of Leo Fender’s earliest solid-body design, it incorporated many new features its designer had been working on over the decades. These features included Leo’s Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups, and sustain-enhancing Saddle-Lock bridge. Overall, the ASAT was an incredibly versatile instrument, at home in virtually any musical genre, just like its ancestor.

ASAT History

Leo Fender never stopped thinking about how he could improve on his original guitar designs. His original intent when teaming up with George Fullerton and Dale Hyatt in 1980 to form G&L had been to create instruments that didn’t resemble his previous efforts. Most of his new work focused on developing and refining improvements to the technology he’d pioneered in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Dale Hyatt, the sales and marketing brain at G&L, developed other ideas. Hyatt noticed that many players who bought the SC-1 and SC-2 models said, “It sounds like a Telecaster, only fatter.” He began working with a designer at G&L on an instrument that bore a closer resemblance to Leo’s classic single-cutaway bolt-on design.

Featuring a wide-bobbin version of the MFD single-coil pickup and the new Saddle-Lock bridge, the new guitar was originally called the Broadcaster, as the Gretsch trademark on their Broadkaster drums had recently expired. The name was changed to ASAT after certain friction from both Gretsch and Leo’s original company.

There have been persistent rumors about the origins of the name. In simple fact, G&L has tradition of naming instruments after military hardware, in tribute the the local aerospace plants. The guitar was named the Anti-SATellite missile that was then in the news. Over the next several years, the different variations we know today began to appear. Some of these looked more closely to the historic design and others, like the ASAT Z3, adopting more of the new technology that Leo Fender never stopped developing.

ASAT Models

There are three levels of ASAT, with multiple model variations at each level: Tribute, Fullerton Standard and Fullerton Deluxe. The basic ASAT models are the ASAT Classic, ASAT Classic Bluesboy, and ASAT Special. Other variants are also available, either as part of the Tribute series or as optional builds from the Fullerton factory: the ASAT Deluxe, ASAT Junior and ASAT Z3. G&L also has a very active Custom Shop at their Fullerton, California location, so if you desire a fully tricked-out ASAT, built to your personal specs, we can help you make that happen.

Tribute Models

G&L’s Tribute series are their most affordable line, manufactured to strict quality standards overseas, using the identical designs and primary specs as their Fullerton-built siblings. A number of the regular Tribute models — the Bluesboy, Deluxe and Junior —stand apart, as those variations are only available as part of the Fullerton Deluxe series or “option-built” from the Fullerton factory.

Fullerton-built Models

Still located in the factory on Fender Avenue in Fullerton, California that Leo Fender built for CLF Research (CLF for Clarence Leo Fender), G&L’s U.S. production facility turns out the Fullerton Standard, Fullerton Deluxe, Option Built and G&L Custom Shop instruments.

The Fullerton Standard ASAT Classic is one of the most affordable U.S.A.-built guitars available today, with impeccable build quality and finish. Limited to the ASAT Classic design in a handful of finishes, this model offers tremendous value for what is, essentially, a hand-built instrument.

Stepping up to the Fullerton Deluxe series, the ASAT range expands to the ASAT Special, the current version of the original guitar launched in 1986 and the neck-humbucker-loaded ASAT Classic Bluesboy.

If you desire one of the other variants, like the ASAT Z3, equipped with Leo’s unique split-coil MFD pickups, or a semi-hollow version, G&L’s Option-Built program offers semi-custom variants. Plus, of course, the G&L Custom Shop can build you an ASAT with whatever pickup variation, finish, or other individual touch you may desire.