Guitars Of The Week:
The Week of December, 6 1999 through December, 13 1999
Steve is my friend. He is one of the wonderful people that work here with me at Tom Anderson Guitarworks. I’m lucky. He says I’m a bit too silly though. He’s probably right but to me excellence and silly go together quite well. Silly without excellence is not good because it is out of control and excellence without a bit of silly is ulcers in the making. So to align correctly with the creative flow, both are needed.
Okay, so there we are, I’m playing the guitars. Steve and I are both listening to them and he’s wrapping them up for shipping. They’re all just killing me. I mean really amazing me. You would think that after 16 years of hanging around Tom, it would be no big deal, but it is—a really big deal. These guitars play so well, so smooth, so easy and sound so unbelievably good, both acoustically and plugged-in, that picking a “Guitar of the Week” is almost impossible. I guess I’ll never get over being completely thrilled by playing a Tom Anderson guitar. In fact I was so moved that I felt I had to stop and stick my head into the paint booth where, Tom was busy mixing paint, just to say, “Have I ever mentioned that you make the best electric guitars on the planet?” He just smiled. He’s a very nice guy.
So, I picked up this Pro Am and strummed it. Oh my! Due to its styling, a Pro Am equipped like this was our best selling guitar a few years back. But the tone of this guitar is beautiful, every bit as wonderful and as usable today as any other guitar you might fancy for yourself.
This beautiful solid black Pro Am is on its way to Player’s Choice in Mystic, CT. These nice guys ordered it especially for Mike. I know this one will change Mike’s life. And why shouldn’t it? Its tone begins at its solid basswood body and maple/Indian rosewood neck. Right off the bat this wood combination produces a thick, rich, soft, full-middle tone. There is still a beautiful clarity with this combination due to the “Tom Anderson extended band width” and the 25 ½-inch scale length.
You have probably noticed that this particular Pro Am was ordered with a Floyd Rose tremolo. Now before you yell out allegiance to the electric-guitar-fashion-experts of the late 90’s, let’s take a real look at what this bridge’s characteristics are. It locks the string at both the nut and bridge ends. This allows for the most tuning-stable tremolo-bridge on the planet. The bridge is so stable that, with the strings on, it can be removed and reinstalled on the guitar and remain in tune. Now that is stable! In fact Buzz Feiten chose this style of bridge for his Anderson and we all know how precise he is about his tuning. It has a silky smooth feel and subtle vibrato is executed easily.
You have probably heard it said that this bridge hurts tone but not so. The results of repeated controlled testing on identical guitars equipped with a traditional bridge and a Floyd Rose tremolo showed this bridge to produce fullness of tone in all registers and as much, if not more, bass response than the traditional bridge. Where they differ is that the Floyd also produces a “brand-new-string crispness. So they do sound different from one another but both good. The choice is yours.
Mike chose two humbuckers controlled by Cobra-style switching. The neck humbucker is an Anderson H1-. It is a perfect foil for the high-output HN3+ in the bridge position. These pickups are sonically balanced with each other. Although the HN3+ absolutely rips, it is remarkable how musical its tone is—very beautiful, not squashed and nasally. (Thank you Dave and Lenny at Tom Anderson Pickupworks.)
As I held it in my arms and listened to the lush tones issue forth from this perfectly balanced instrument, I knew this should be “Guitar of the Week.” I said, “Steve, this could be Guitar of the Week, would you take a picture of it.” Steve is our picture expert. He replied, “No.” That is very uncharacteristic of Steve so I asked again and his reply was, “No.” I offered him candy but he wouldn’t take it. He explained that black is a hard color for the digital camera to define. We decided that what we needed was a different type of background. Well, when it was done, I loved the whole look of the picture so much that we opted to leave the background just as it was originally shot so you could enjoy it too.
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