Guitars Of The Week:
The Week of October, 15 2000 through October, 16 2000


Hollow Drop Top
Walnut Top on Basswood
Light Shaded Edge with Binding

I assume that we can safely say that Drop Tops are spectacular! Are we in agreement here? Players seem to love their beauty as much as they love their perfect playability and outstanding tone. Maple is the traditional light colored wood with the prominent and irregular grain pattern that adorns the top of most of these instruments. It can be stained almost any color and yields dramatic results. Koa, on the other hand, has always been the “other wood” offered on Hollow Drop Tops. This exotic wood is indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. Its natural color is dark-reddish to a golden-orange, brown—and it is beautiful! Its tonal contribution is unique as well, very rich but with a present koa-clarity that allows the upper mids to step forward with a sweet pronunciation. Due to its look and tone the Koa, Hollow Drop Top is a favorite guitar of many players. However, don’t let looks fool you. These superb instruments are not Koa!

This is a whole new Drop Top!

To insure that Koa will always be with us, the Hawaiian government only allows the harvesting of trees from private land or trees that have died. We support this thoughtful control but it does yield an uneven supply. Right now is one of those times when the wood has become hard to acquire.

Look closely at the pictures once again. Walnut is the wood that you are seeing. It does have a somewhat similar look to Koa and Tom has always wanted to try it. We are not sure why he has been especially enthusiastic to explore walnut’s sonic offerings? Is it perhaps that the nut of the walnut tree was considered the food of the gods in the early days of Rome or maybe it’s Michelangelo’s use of its oil to mix the paints with which he painted the Sistine Chapel. There are even some recent health studies out that suggest that adding walnuts to your diet can lower your levels of LDL cholesterol. Of course it could be that he just likes the way it looks and wanted to hear what it sounds like.

We all were eagerly anticipating the completion of these special instruments. Well one great night it happened. Dave Wakefield turned the final screw and the first Walnut, Hollow Drop Top was ready. We looked around but it was late and no one else was here. Should we wait until morning to hear what this walnut top/basswood back combination sounds like? Wait to hear the very first Walnut Drop Top? I don’t think so! He played it. He loved it. Then I picked it up. The precisely sculpted body contours allowed the guitar to practically mold itself to me in flawless comfort. Not a bad start and with the perfectly playing Anderson neck there was nothing holding it back.

The unplugged sound leaped from the guitar as though it was an acoustic instrument. Its timbre was quite different from that of a Hollow Drop Top with maple. It very definitely possesses a Koa-like presence in which the mids to upper-mids stand forth and sweetly, richly and with a touch of hardwood fundamental, announce its dominance. That we expected to hear but the big surprise came when we heard what the walnut top adds to the lower register of this spectacular instrument. Oh my gosh! Dave and I both looked at each other and laughed. The low strings are giant sounding. We quickly checked to see if the guitar was drop-tuned a bit to generate that kind of thunderous bottom but it was accurately tuned to pitch.

When Tom arrived the next morning we casually suggested that he might want to plug in the Walnut, Drop Top that Dave finished last night and see what he thinks. The anticipation, while he picked up the cord, plugged it in and flipped on the amp was almost too much to bear. The koa-like clarity accompanied by the thunderous walnut-generated bottom gushed from the speakers and we all knew—this guitar totally rocks! But it is more than that, much more. The total richness of the sound lends itself to many styles of music—anywhere caressing clarity and lush warm low-end is needed.

Due to walnut’s naturally dark coloration, only a few select finishes can be used that will allow all of this wood’s natural beauty to continue to flourish. These two wonderful instruments were both finished with a color we call “Light Shaded Edge.” The perimeter of the body is lightly dusted with a tobacco or brown hue leaving the unaltered wood highlights to shine throughout the rest of the body.

Yes, these guitars have left an indelible impression upon us and earned their place as yet another wonderful sonic and visual option for the Hollow Drop Top. The next logical question has to be, which dealers had the foresight and wisdom to say, “If you will build them we will offer them to the world.” Well, Johnny, Jimbo and Michael at the Mesa/Boogie Factory Store in Hollywood, CA said yes to the guitar with the Single/Single/Humbucking pickup configuration while Brian and Jeff at Brook Mays in Dallas, TX gave the nod to the Hum/Single/Hum.

Gelb Music is another outstanding Tom Anderson dealer. They have a walnut topped Hollow Cobra S in the works as we speak. It will be finished with the color “Cherry Shade.” We can’t wait!

MESA/BOOGIE GUITAR SPECIFICATIONS:

 MODEL: – Hollow Drop Top

 FINISH: – Light Shaded Edge with Binding

 BODY WOOD: – Walnut Top/Basswood Back

 BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – Dark Brown

 NECK WOOD: – Maple with Madagascar Rosewood Fingerboard

 HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Matching

 NECK BACK FINISH: – Satin

 NECK BACKSHAPE: – T/A Standard

 NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16th-inch

 SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2th-inch

 FRETS: – Heavy

 BRIDGE: – Vintage Tremolo

 HARDWARE COLOR: – Gold

 PICKGUARD: – n/a

 NECK PICKUP: – SO1R

 MIDDLE PICKUP: – SO1

 BRIDGE PICKUP: – H2+

 SWITCHING: – Switcheroo

 PICKUP COVERS: – n/a

 PICKUP RINGS: – Black

STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010 to .046

BROOK MAYS GUITAR SPECIFICATIONS:

 MODEL: – Hollow Drop Top

 FINISH: – Light Shaded Edge with Binding

 BODY WOOD: – Walnut Top/Basswood Back

 BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – Dark Brown

 NECK WOOD: – Maple with Madagascar Rosewood Fingerboard

 HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Matching

 NECK BACK FINISH: – Satin

 NECK BACKSHAPE: – T/A Standard +.030 Oversized

 NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16th-inch

 SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2th-inch

 FRETS: – Heavy

 BRIDGE: – Vintage Tremolo

 HARDWARE COLOR: – Gold

 PICKGUARD: – n/a

 NECK PICKUP: – H1-

 MIDDLE PICKUP: – SA1

 BRIDGE PICKUP: – H2+

 SWITCHING: – Switcheroo

 PICKUP COVERS: – n/a

 PICKUP RINGS: – Black

 STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010 to .046






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