Tom Anderson Vintage Strat Reviews 4

Brand new model: Paid $2700(CAD) + tax at Steves Music, Toronto. I was dissatisfied with the thin, shrill tone I was getting from my Fender American Strat, and was looking for an alternative. I have mixed feelings about this guitar, as I love some features, and dislike others. It is okay for rhythm (which is all I do), but lousy for leads. I got fed up and sold it, found that I missed it, and bought it back again!

Stability. After 3 years in Toronto, with high summer humidity and cold dry winters this guitar survived this yearly traumatic experience with nary a cold! Fantastic! The guitar has great, easy intonation, and has never needed a setup. All my other guitars had their necks kinda trashed by the harsh Toronto climatic changes. Quality: The woods/hardware are all first rate! The Sound: Now this is where it gets hairy. I have discovered that the Anderson pickups are anything but typical. They don't appear to have a sound of their own, but instead are chameleon in nature. Plug into a Fender tube amp and the guitar reflects the tube warmth. Plug into the Roland jazz chorus, and you get sublime richness. The neck is a solid citizen; the guitar imparts a feeling of quality, making me feel that I can rely on it. I don't get that kinda sour Fender Strat glitch on the 1st and 6th strings. I use alot of open chording, and the Anderson keeps the vibe going. The tone is thicker than the Fender Strat, and has great cluck. The 5 way switch has a different twist in the 4 position ( the one beside the bridge) in that by pulling the tone control up the sound gets more fenderish, lighter, more transparent, though at the the cost of a slight decrease in volume. This is the position I use the most. The tone pots are more sensitive then what the the typical Fender Strats deliver, in that there is more range from low to high, and the volume pot interaction lets me have much more control in adjusting my sound. This is essential as the Anderson has definite 'sweet spots' that spike up at different settings on different amps. I have learned to hunt for this by tweaking the amp/guitar tone and volume setting, as the initial sound you get when you just flick the amp on could easily be sterile sounding. Unlike the Fender Strats, they do not sound shrill and harsh when you play loud, and in a live setting you get sufficient headroom to cut through the bass and drums without having to crank up the gain.

The price for starters. Over $3000 CAD is just riduculous. It feels like a 'Richy Rich' guitar. I feel like a phony sometimes, as though I am going to a blues club dressed in some tuxedo with tails, playing for the homeless in thousand dollar duds...The guitar has little overtones, and does not sustain well. Two of my guitarist friends expressed mild to strong dislike for it, especially in the distortion mode, where the guitar cannot sing, sounds stiff. The action is stiff as well. However for slow leads you can get reasonably expressive. The sound is somewhat thin and trebly, and is not at all 'airy'.

Excellent in all regards. Solid maple neck, great fixed bridge, average whammy bar ( I never use it). Wood, bridge, nut, volume/tone controls are all terrific! No slippage on strings, easy to tune, stays in tune, great volume/tone controls. Neat push/pull feature for another tone.

I respect this guitar, but I would not buy it again, mostly because of the price. I am constantly comparing it to Fender Strats. I think the Fender Strats have a higher 'fun factor', but a much lower 'quality' rating. I prefer the Fender neck for comfort, but I have yet to find one I can 'trust'...

Jimfre Bacal rated this unit 4 on 2001-07-06.

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