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  1. #1

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    Please educate me re the various (original/made in USA) ASAT models by G&L :
    - What is the sonic difference between the models with the "fat" MFD pickups and those that look like conventional Tele pups ?
    - Do the the solid models have a "bigger" tone than the semi/thinline ones and how mid-scooped are these (or not) ?
    - Was/Is there a time period like a "Golden Age" where the guitars were markedly better than before or after ?

    I'm getting more and more interested in these ASAT models but they are quite scarce over here and not easy to find and try out.
    I've listened to many clips and like always they all sound very different and depending on the skill and the taste of the player and whether it's a clean (seldom) or a distorted sound the outcome is not very conclusive. I plan on using it as an allrounder player and as a second for my old Warmoth Tele which has most of the typical TELE territory pretty well covered.
    Thanks for your input and shared insights !


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Calling BDLH....

  4. #3

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    I'm on my third American made G&L tele now. In order of purchase:

    • '94 ASAT Classic, solid ash body, maple board neck. 8.5 pounds
    • '06 ASAT Classic, chambered ash body, no f-hole, rosewood fingerboard. 7 pounds
    • '96 ASAT Special, solid ash body, rosewood fingerboard. 7.3 pounds

    IMO, there is something to "earlier is better". I've yet to find an ASAT classic the equal of that '94. Flamey maple neck, crazy tasty neck p/u. Maybe I just got lucky. Hard to generalize. The '06 was a good guitar, but not the equal of the '94. Usually chambering appeals to me. On that one, it didn't seem to add any magic. Or, could have been a difference in the p/us. They all look the same, but there are always differences between individual guitars. My '94 was so fine, a good buddy's wife bought another '94 (with RW board) for my friend. Looked just like my ASAT Classic, but didn't quite match the sound.

    Pickups: Whether the smaller or larger MFDs, these are rather different from traditional tele single coils. The smaller ones are ceramic magnet. The bridge p/u of that type didn't much impress. Different story on the neck. When you get a good one, the sound can be huge, room--filling. Also crunchy, with a beautiful OD character when loud enough. The smaller MFD pickups seem to have a polarizing effect on more traditional tele lovers. (Sort of the way the Heritage headstock looms large in that model's acceptance and resale.) Put simply, if you idealize blackguard teles and that 50's tele sound, you won't find it here. The sounds you do get from MFDs are to me very tasty, a different flavor of tele tone. It completely comes down to personal taste. YMMV.

    The larger MFDs in the ASAT Special look sort of similar to other p/us - P90s, Jazzmaster singles - but are not much like anything else. If I had to describe, I'd say they're a softer, warmer take on the Dyna formula. Bastard child of a dynasonic and P90?? Maybe. As with that '94, the neck p/u on my '96 is the whole show. This green guitar is just as impressive tonally as that '94 was. A different type of drive or edge at higher volume. Very clear. Extended lows and highs. Loads of treble and presence, but not harsh. Rolling off tone changes it up, fattens the sound quite noticeably. This is another guitar on which I rarely if ever switch from the neck only position. And here the RW board seems the perfect choice. On other teles, I always prefer maple. On this '96, I'm guessing RW is the better choice.

    G&L ASAT (US) Models ?-asat-special-15-cropped-jpg

    How are they for jazz? No idea on the ASAT Classic, as my ownership of those pre-dated a couple years of jazz lessons. Now with this ASAT Special ... no way I'm a jazz player. More a bit of jazz, layered on other bluesy, roots sounds. Whatever the mix, this guitar has one of the prettiest sounds I've heard. Favorite amps for it: Magnatone Varsity non reverb, DV Mark Micro 50 CMT/pine 1x12 cab.

    Two things I don't know yet: How a full thinline build changes the sound, and how alder bodies differ tonally from ash.

  5. #4

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    This '99 ASAT "Junior" - sort of a factory special run of 250 units - is a semihollow all-mahogany affair, a true fly-weight at 5.9 pounds and so resonant...
    I have it on loan so I can take my time to check it out.
    Attached Images Attached Images G&L ASAT (US) Models ?-img_4379-jpg 

  6. #5

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    I know you specified US made, but I've got a Korean ASAT Tribute BluesBoy, it's a mighty fine guitar for the cost. Neck humbucker is bassy and the bridge pickup is twangy. Neck was satin finish but I played it smooth quickly. Honestly, I'd recommend the imports to anyone.

  7. #6

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    I'm a big G&L fan. Their quality is consistently excellent.

    The Z-coils are hum-free and have a rich single coil sound, pretty close anyway.

    The MFDs are excellent.

    G&L ASAT (US) Models ?-51357378721_c1ffaed30e_c-jpgG&L ASAT (US) Models ?-37522670041_fb0d62c9c4_c-jpgG&L ASAT (US) Models ?-51392869751_779e5c00db_c-jpg

  8. #7

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    I have a lot of ASATs of all varieties (you can check them out at the website in my signature). Starting with the ASAT you have to look at a few things based on the time period in which it was made. The earliest ones, beginning with the 1985 Broadcaster (ASAT precursor), had maple bodies and ebony or maple fingerboards. Ash bodies were an option a year later. In late 1987, rosewood and maple were standard for fingerboards and ebony was dropped. The MFD pickups were handwound with plain enamel wire. The DC resistance varied (handwound by humans) anywhere from 4.2K to 5.0K ohm for the neck pickup and 4.4K to 5.3 ohm for the bridge pickup (exceptions exist). The circuit changed as well. From 1985 to about 1990, there was a bootstrapping resistor and .1 uF cap on the tone pot. In 1990, a brass ground plate was fitted to the bottom of the control cavity, the resistor was removed and the cap value lowered to .022 uf. This remained until the new owners of G&L tweaked things further with slightly hotter pickups, alder bodies replacing maple, formvar pickup wire and, eventually, machine wound pickups, change to 4 bolt neck. The semi-hollow or "thinline" version appeared at the same time as the change from 3-bolt neck to 4-bolt. Some versions of the ASAT like the ASAT Special Deluxe and ASAT Jr had a different circuit that reduced some of the bite and growl.

    The ASATs from 1985 to about 1993 are bright, chimey and hot. They have more clarity than typical alnico P-90s and sound "harder" when pushing an amp into overdrive. The later ASATs have more growl. I play a lot of power pop and indie pop and I prefer the earlier versions for more chime and the later versions for a bit more drive. Ash bodies provide more snap and stress the fundamental, while maple and alder sound a little richer to my ears. The semi-hollow versions scoop the mids a bit.

    The ASAT Classic showed up around 1989 and had the same circuit as concurrent ASAT. The early versions of the handwound pickups ran around 4.0K ohms for the neck pickup and 4.8K ohms for the bridge pickup. I don't like the way these sounded very much. Not enough spank and twang. In 1991 they were wound hotter (4.1K to 4.5K ohm for the neck pu, 4.8K to 5.0K ohms for the bridge pu). Like a Tele, these have a lot of ear-piercing twang. The neck pickup is hotter than a Tele and has more clarity, but is still dark sounding. The early ASAT Classics had maple or ash bodies and rosewood or maple fingerboards. To me, the only body that works well for this model is ash. Alder and maple don't have enough snap with the pick attack. I also don't like the semi-hollow versions either, though I'll bet they'd be great for jazz.

    This is just a thumbnail sketch. There's a lot more to it, but then I'd have to write a book. Hope this helps.

  9. #8

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    Ten days of twiddling, dialing in, re-stringing and playing playing playing ... never had a guitar with pickups that were this sensitive and dynamic ! The guitars responds to the slightest change in pick pressure, pick angle, type of pick, the smallest move of the volume and tone pot, amazing ! Fully open it's a beast that will cut through the densest storm on stage and with a quarter turn of the tone pot it's Smooth Jazz City. The hum of the (true) single coils is manageable with a properly dialed-in noise gate. So it's decided, this one will stay for the time being , passed the test.

    I have not played any other ASAT model yet so I cannot comment on how different this all-mahogany/semi-hollowbody is compared to a "regular"
    ASAT with a solid alder/ash body and a maple neck. I assume that with these pickups it will be quite similar.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Calling BDLH....
    I'm on the spot! I don't know if I can compare them, but I have a US ASAT Special which has the "jumbo" pickups. I call them P90s with a college degree. They stay clean, don't compress much, are rather hifi (extended highs and lows) and are high output for single coils. I find they work well for a clean jazz sound when you roll off the treble.

  11. #10

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    I've owned several U.S. G&L ASAT models over the years and enjoyed all of them. Their big MFD's sound great with their uniquely bold P90-ish tones. Yes, they're fine for jazz.

    My current stable of G&L's include an S500, Bluesboy and ASAT Jr. II.

    All can get pretty good jazz tones and more with a little knob twisting...and a good tube amp.