Well, it certainly was worth the wait!
If you have been following Guitar of the Week lately you know that on October 15, 2000, we unveiled a brand new Drop Top—a walnut topped Hollow Drop Top. It was spectacular! You can check out “Guitar of the Week Archives” for Oct. 15, 2000 to see those impressive guitars and learn their sonic secrets.
Gelb Music, an amazing music store in Redwood City, California, loves koa topped Hollow Cobras. I think it brought a tear to Keith’s eye when I had to tell him that, because of koa’s seasonal availability, the Hollow Koa Cobra S they had on order could not become a guitar at this time. Like two climbers lost in a blinding blizzard we search for an answer. I suggested that he could be the first person on earth to try a walnut topped Hollow Cobra. Being a very brave sort and trusting that we would not let go of the rope, he consented. We began work on the very first Walnut, Hollow Cobra S. The anticipation was high as this special instrument neared completion.
If you read the debut of walnut only 2 weeks ago, you may believe that we decided to add walnut to the list of Anderson options because koa became unavailable…but there is more to it. The real story dates back several centuries to Sir Isaac Anderson, Tom’s Great Great Grandfather. As the story goes he was sitting beneath a large tree, formulating his now famous “3 Laws of Motion” theory, when a walnut fell from the tree hitting him on the head. He was so impressed with the resounding vibrancy that the walnut’s mass-in-motion imparted to his cranial cavity that he made a note of it, which became hidden within his “2nd Law of Motion.” It wasn’t until generations later when Tom was exploring his Grandfather’s original manuscripts that he discovered this concealed sonic observation. Tom immediately went to work investigating the validity of walnut as a topping wood for our guitar bodies. It not only had to be beautiful but it must support and enhance gorgeous tone. As we now already know, it did exactly that with our 25 ½-inch scale length Hollow Drop Tops but the question remained, “How would walnut effect Cobra guitars with their 24 ¾-inch scale length and mahogany backs?”
It was Dave Wakefield, once again, who turned the final screw that brought this very first Walnut, Hollow Cobra S to life. I patiently waited while he test-played it. From across the room it sounded wonderful. The moment he set it down, I snagged it and leaning the lower horn on a padded assembly-bench, strummed it. The guitar was so alive that it rang though the entire structure of the bench. I set it on my knee and bending over the guitar listened very carefully to every subtle nuance. Its mid to upper-midrange frequencies present themselves with a dominant koa-like clarity but are round and full. The marked difference appears in this instruments lower midrange. As with all Cobras, the bandwidth is narrower, more powerful and concentrated than its 25 ½-inch scale length counterpart. It is Cobra’s lower-midrange that most greatly benefits from walnut’s attendance. It breathes power, life and largeness into these frequencies, leaving you wanting for nothing. After playing for 10 minutes, I felt so completely absorbed by its charms, that nothing could have been better in that moment. Plugging-in produced this same enchanting character—only louder. Ultra fast switching allows for 6 versatile sounds from the twin H1- and H2+ Anderson humbuckers.
After completion, every Anderson guitar gets about a week of acclimation time and then another adjustment, if needed, before it ships. I took advantage of every one of those days to play it—a lot. Well, I had to. This first Hollow Cobra S kept calling to me and I wanted us to completely bond before it went to be with Keith and Erik at Gelb Music in Redwood City, California. They will keep it save until you call.
MODEL: – Hollow Cobra S
FINISH: – Cherry Shaded Edge with Binding
BODY WOOD: – Walnut Top with Mahogany Back
BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – Brown
NECK WOOD: – Maple with African Rosewood Fingerboard
HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Matching
NECK BACK FINISH: – Satin
NECK BACKSHAPE: – Cobra Standard
NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16th-inch
SCALE LENGTH: – 24 3/4th-inch
FRETS: – Heavy
BRIDGE: – Vintage Tremolo
HARDWARE COLOR: – Gold
PICKGUARD: – n/a
NECK PICKUP: – H1-
MIDDLE PICKUP: –
BRIDGE PICKUP: – H2+
SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Push/Pull
PICKUP COVERS: – n/a
PICKUP RINGS: – Cream
STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010 to .046