1. My heavily hot-rodded, semi-hollow G&L ASAT, complete with branded initials on the upper bout. 2. This spanky guitar has my two favorite G&L pickups: A MFD (Magnetic Field Design) Z-coil at the bridge and an ASAT Special single-coil in the neck position. 3. With a Hipshot B-Bender mounted behind the bridge and a trio of compensated, old-school brass saddles, this guitar is ready for snarling honky-tonk. 4. Branded initials on the headstock, too. 5. The legendary Roy Buchanan peers out from the f-hole.
I’ve always been someone who likes to experiment on guitars. At a Texas Guitar Show in 2002, I met a fellow named Mac Whiteside who also liked to experiment on guitars. I was a little leery of him at first ... after all, he was from Texas, you know? But we soon found common ground talking about guitars, and after a few months, we started collaborating on some of our ideas. This guitar came from some of those ideas.
We took a semi-hollow G&L ASAT Classic, installed an elongated ashtray bridge plate, and stuck a Z-coil pickup in the bridge position and an ASAT Special pickup (minus the cover) at the neck. Then we wired up a 4-way selector switch that allows either pickup alone, both pickups in series, or both pickups in parallel. In addition, there’s a Hipshot B-Bender mounted behind the bridge and three brass saddles that are compensated to vastly improve intonation without sacrificing that old-school twang.
I’d send Mac some guitar parts, he’d buy other parts we needed, and we’d talk on the phone about our plans. Then Mac went to work at his shop in Austin. Before long, he had shipped me the finished product. Mac loves to have fun building guitars, and in addition to burning my WR initials into the hollow upper bout of the guitar with a hot branding iron, he also cut out a picture of one of my heroes, Roy Buchanan, and strategically pasted it inside the f-hole so that Roy’s eyes appear to be peering out at me when I’m playing. Consequently, this guitar is named “Roy.”
So how does it sound? This is a wonderful guitar. It sports my two favorite G&L pickups—they offer killer tone—and it’s very lightweight and just drips attitude. And most important, it’s really fun to play! Thanks, Mac. You’ve done it again.
Bottom Feeder Tip #352: When someone offers to build you a guitar, take ’em up on it. You never know where it might lead.
Will Ray is a founding member of the Hellecasters guitar-twang trio. He also does guitar clinics promoting his namesake G&L signature model 6-string, and produces artists and bands at his studio in Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.