Guitars Of The Week:
The Week of October, 2 2006 through October, 9 2006

Atom Special

Atom Special

Understanding the import of defenestration and the needs of guitarists everywhere who require an instrument that is impervious, Brian Meader of Washington Music, in Washington DC, was the first to respond to the hallowed message sequestered within the text of last week’s Guitar of the Week. What we are saying is that Brian understood the deeper meaning and as such won a spot in this week’s Guitar of the Week as our Special Series continues.

Okay, not really but… First things first, let us welcome Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center to the happy family of Anderson Guitar dealers. We are sure you will find Brian and all the wonderful people at Washington Music a delight, as the first order of Anderson relations is harmony and helpfulness.

Continuing with our extravagant series on Specials, let’s review what is actually meant by the word Special—in guitar terms. This whole Anderson Special thing began in the August 13, 2006 Guitar of the Week when we stated:

We all know what constitutes something that is special but in the world of guitars, Special has another meaning entirely. For a guitar to be Special it must be the offspring of a model (Atom in this case) that normally has a maple-topped body and a 24 3/4-inch scale length (string length from nut to bridge). When this model is offered sans a maple top it is called Special.

So, in other words, a short-scale, maple-topped instrument without a maple top is Special.

Without the inclusion of a maple top a “Special” is different—in its look and sound—ultra cool to be sure—a traditional kind of thing. Usually seen as an all-mahogany instrument (but not always, more on this in a future Guitar of the Week)…

Oh, did you hear that? … Usually seen as an all-mahogany instrument (but not always, more on this in future Guitar of the Weeks)…

Welcome to the future as we expound on a Primavera, Atom Special. (pronounced: pree-muh-vair-uh)

Primavera not only comprises the body wood of this exclusive Special but is also the neck wood that underlies its opulent Indian Rosewood fingerboard. All-Primavera construction is quite unique as is this particular guitar, for this is the original Primavera, Atom Special that started it all. Yes, this was Tom’s personal guitar for a time—a test-time if you will. Often Tom will build an instrument for himself in order to test a new concept—in this case Primavera was the object of his quest. He just had a deep feeling this remarkable wood would be good to create a very special guitar. Note, even the special serial number: 10-Tom-05.

Similar, but not similar to mahogany, Primavera is a large rainforest canopy tree native to Mexico, Central America and South America. The trees that we use are grown and harvested on plantations where they shade coffee plants, so it is also an ecologically friendly wood. We thought about giving away a free cup of coffee with every Primavera, Atom Special but Tom kept drinking them as he would do the final test-play, and an empty coffee cup in your case doesn’t make a good first impression.

Yes, similar, but not similar to mahogany, we are delighted with the surprising sonic properties Primavera can set free from this style of guitar.

Primavera resounds with a foundational tone relying on a forceful mahogany-like thickness, but is delightfully lightened with the dancing, musical qualities reminiscent of Swamp Ash. So, Primavera could most simply be described as an intermingling of Mahogany and Swamp Ash tones into one sweet sound. Unlike the aggressiveness of all-Mahogany, Primavera leads out each note with a pleasingly percussive bloom when plucked softly but can bring home thick tones when its humbucker is laid into. It is these two contrary contributing tonal traits that give the Primavera, Atom Special its beautiful, never-before-heard expression and extreme versatility. The 24 ¾-inch, “short-scale” Special instrument can enter a whole other realm with Primavera supporting its endeavors.

At Washington Music they are thrilled to have the number one Primavera, Atom Special. Immediately after it arrived they sent along a picture with the following commentary:

“Attached is a photo of a good customer of ours, Mr. Brint Hannay, spanking away on the Atom Special, Primavera, in real time, perched in “Boutique Corner” encircled by all the amazing amps of tonal destruction.”


• MODEL: – Atom Special

• FINISH: – Natural

• BODY WOOD: – Primavera


• NECK WOOD: –Primavera Back with Indian Rosewood Fingerboard

• HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Matching Gloss

• NECK BACK FINISH: – Matching Satin

• NECK BACKSHAPE: – Atom Standard

• NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16-inch

• SCALE LENGTH: – 24 3/4-inch

• FRETS: – Jumbo—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel

• BRIDGE: – Wraparound—Exclusive Anderson/Pigtail


• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft






• SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Push/Pull Switch—for 10 Sounds



• SWITCH TIP: – Cream

• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir® with NANOWEB® Coating

• DESTINATION/LOCATION: Washington Music/Wheaton, Maryland

• 10-TOM-05

Atom Special

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