That was my first thought when I saw the spalted maple top on the ASAT Classic Bluesboy from G&L Custom Creations.
As it turns out, my question wasn’t off the mark. Those caramel-and-rust streaks and ink-black scribbles — the blotchy wood’s peculiar signature — are caused by fungi that discolor the pigment and create mottled patterns. The look is, understandably, alarming to players accustomed to tops with elegant bookmatched grain and gorgeous flame patterns. Like veined cheeses and stonewashed jeans — both of which owe their appearance to interactions with fungi—spalted maple is an acquired taste.
Which is just as well, given the wood’s scarcity. When G&L located a small supply of spalted maple, the guitarmaker snapped up the timber and earmarked it for a limited run of the company's popular ASAT Bluesboy model.
The maple top is mated to a solid alder body, and a clear natural finish is applied. The 25 1/2–inch-scale neck has a clear gloss finish and a rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets.
Electronics consist of a nickel-plated Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbucker in the neck position and a G&L Magnetic Field Design ASAT Classic single-coil pickup in the bridge position, both activated by a three-way switch and volume and tone controls. Other features include Sperzel nonlocking tuners and a traditional “boxed steel” bridge with six individual saddles. The guitar ships with a G&L molded hardshell case.
G&L’s Custom Creations shop built just 60 copies of this guitar over January and February 2008, and the price is a reasonable $2,500.00, so if you want one, snap it up soon. For more information, visit G&L online and click on the Custom Creations link in the side navigation.