When I spotted the review of Music PRO Media’s documentary about Tom Anderson Guitarworks over at The Fifth Fret I let out a little squeal of excitement before immediately following Pappy’s link to the Music PRO Media website to purchase a copy for myself and I was certainly not disappointed.
First of all just in case you haven’t heard of Tom Anderson he is, and has been for about 20 years, one of the best boutique guitar luthiers in the world and I first heard of him in the early 90′s when I read an interview with Steve Vai who used one of his guitars before the Ibanez endorsement. If you look at his artist list there are a lot of session guitar players but also some big names such as Keith Richards, Kirk Hammett, Brad Whitford and David Grissom. Tom has always kept his operation pretty small only making 700 guitars a year which is why you don’t see as many guitar players using his guitars as say Fender who probably turn out that many guitars in a month, also because these guitars are all handmade using the highest quality materials they are a little more expensive than a factory produced guitar but you can see the value in this workmanship as soon as you pick up a guitar like this.
What makes this documentary so amazing is that Tom Anderson walks you through every step of building one of his guitars, from wood selection for the body, neck and fretboards to his special neck joint and custom pickups. Tom also shows how his CNC machine is used to create consistent results and then shows how the sanding, staining, spraying booth and UV curing process bring these instruments to life.
There are a few interviews throughout with a number of guitarists such as Jeff King, Time Pierce and Pete Anderson who show off their guitars and also explain how Tom’s guitars are so much easier to play than the vintage guitars that they have played over the years.
Tom demonstrates a number of his guitars at the end of the film including how his kickback circuit works so you can hear the amazing tones that you get from his various models, he also shows how he tests every guitar before it leaves the workshop. I have to say having been a fan of Tom Anderson guitars for years I have bad G.A.S. for one of his Telecasters and this film has made my G.A.S. even worse, that’s if I can get over my Suhr addiction of course…
You don’t have to be a Tom Anderson guitar owner to enjoy this film, it is a great insight into how one of the best guitar builders in the world creates each masterpiece. Head over to www.musicpromedia.com/ to order a copy ($39.95 + S&H) and while you are there you might want to check out their film about Dr Z amps (review coming soon!)