G&L ASAT Semi-Hollow

20th Century Guitar (USA)

By Ray Matuza

What looks like a Tele, acts like a Tele, but isnít a Tele?

Born of the loins of Leo Fenderís original Telecaster design, the G&L ASAT Semi Hollow features that oh-so-well known body style and construction with a few off-the-Tele trick innovations. Throw in a few twists from the semi hollow family of guitars and youíre there. The result is not so much a Tele with an identity crisis, but more of an instrument that speaks with a new voice.

Featuring a center block running through itís hollow swamp ash body, the ASAT features a bass side ďfĒ hole which allows for a more acoustically vibrant tone. Play a few licks and chords unplugged and youíll hear a nice open bright snappiness with a hint of wooden vibe. Thereís an equal balance of frequencies and a little more volume in your pocket as well.

The ASATís chunky maple four-bolt neck sports a vintage shape with a 7 ĹĒ radius hand-rubbed in a gun-oil tint topped with a high-gloss finish. Real smooth.

Fit and finish among the twenty-two jumbo frets is clean and accurate with nicely beveled edges along the 1 5/8" neck widthís 25 Ĺ" scale length. Six fully adjustable saddles allow action and intonation to be set for each string within the patented saddle-lock bridge. To help increase the notes to keep on a-singiní, the treble side allen screw presses all the saddles together so they resonate as one. The bottom side of the bridge has a protrusion which fits into a routed slot in the body allowing for a more solid transfer of string vibration energy to the body. Leave it to olí Leo.

Plugged into my trusty Peavey Classic 30, the ASAT Semi Hollow exhibited an overall tone which is clean and pure. The G&L Magnetic field single coil pickups bring a little bit of P-90 meat into the mix while retaining a Tele-like twang, albeit with a slightly softer high-end. Going solo in the neck position is surprisingly beefy, almost approaching an SG Special type tone - especially when over-driving the amp. Combined pickups are sweet and twangy with bell-like upper frequencies while the bridge coil alone brings you into Tele-ville with a fatter bottom. Thanks to the aforementioned bridge design, notes and chords have a very open ring with a healthy dose of sustain.

With itís immaculate high-gloss cherryburst finish and white pearloid pickguard, itís easy to see and hear why G&Lís ASAT Semi Hollow goes beyond the normal boundaries of what one might expect from a Tele style instrument. And rightly so. Isnít that part of the genius that was Leo Fender?