G&L ASAT, 1986

1986 G&L ASAT - Blonde Finish - First Year

Here's a very special G&L - this is a first-year ASAT, in blonde finish with a maple neck and board. The body is Swamp Ash, with a single-ply black pickguard and black hardware throughout. This guitar is equipped with dual MFD pickups, a saddlelock bridge, black G&L tuners, and the three-string metal string tree.

I am a huge fan of early G&Ls, and have been picking up interesting guitars at a steady pace over the previous year. In fact, I have another '86 ASAT that is almost identical to this one - the only difference is that the other has an ebony fingerboard. They sound almost identical, and I actually think that this one is the better player of the two, but the other is in near-mint condition, while this one has obviously been loved in its almost twenty years on this earth. I've decided to keep the other one, since I got it first, and I am irrationally attached to it.

As I said above, this guitar has been well-loved, and shows signs of honest playwear up and down the neck, It starts with a nicely worn-in thumbspot in first position, and repeats to a lesser extent at the 3rd, 5th and 7th and 12th frets. This is the sort of "relicing" that the Fender Custom Shop wishes they could reproduce! There are also wear marks on the fretboard, again mostly in first position, at the spot where your second and third fingers would go when making an E. An index finger has made smaller marks in E and A minor formation. There are also a few marks on the back of the neck toward the body, likely the result of repeatedly leaning the guitar against things like amps and chairs. Otherwise, the neck is in great shape, and it feels truly wonderful up and down - played-in to a lovely degree, comfy and familiar. The body shows some nicks and scrapes, all pictured below. The biggest is on the tail, on the bass side. The most noticable paint damage is actually on the back - a belt buckle has done its work over the years and created one larger bare spot on the back, and some smaller ones. When I got the instrument, this was the major source of concern for me in terms of condition - not because I feared the buckle rash, but because the paint was loose at the boundary edges, and I feared that continued playing would enlarge the area. Enter my trusty tech/luthier, Peter H. of Bend Instrument Repair. Peter performed a "jet-fix" on the back, sealing the edges of the bare area and the other smaller areas with cyanoacrylate adhesive, creating a clear, tough-as-nails solution that will arrest further advancement of the bare area under normal use, while avoiding the perils of a refinish.

A refret was performed on this guitar right before I got it. It was done nicely, but I don't think the tech spent much time setting the instrument up properly following the fret job. Peter again worked his magic with a fresh set-up and fret dress, and the guitar now plays beautifully. It's an awesome ASAT, with a really crisp and articulate tone, but it dirties up really nicely. I've played it through a Bad Cat Black Cat, Dr Z Carmen Ghia and Prescription, and a '66 Fender BFDR, and it has sounded great through all of them. Of course, none of those amps are slouches, but this guitar is up to the challenge.

I do not have the original case for this guitar. It will ship in a gig bag, although I do also have a Fender molded hardshell that will fit - you can upgrade to that case for a small fee if you so desire. Bottom line: an awesome ASAT, and a guitar that's about to start climbing in value. These first year ASATs are easily spotted due to the plain black script of the headstock logo, and these are going to be highly desirable instruments. This one already feels like a vintage tele! Snap it up, enjoy it now, and watch it grow in value as you continue to give it the love it deserves.

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