NGD: Not your grandpa's grand am [Anderson Content]

narad

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I'm sad that I'm giving away my long planned joke to do "not your grandpa's tele" NGD and then just have it be some random explorer, but that other guy's thread is long gone so I guess I'll just move on..

So there's always been something about those super old Tom Anderson pro-am/grand-ams from the late 80s when the headstocks looked like slimmed down Fender shapes, but they don't pop up much, and they definitely don't pop up in Japan very much. Had a chance the other week to grab one. It's not free of issues but it's pretty:

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It's a bit dinged up around the edges, there's a decent sized chip in the finish at the bottom of the front, and weird scratches with like finish bulges around the back, but overall pretty minor stuff I suppose. The finish is a beautiful color though. This is the grand am model, which is like a fancy version of the pro-am. Grand ams would have koa, figured maple, or lacewood bodies, and like maple or pau ferro necks. Pro ams were more basswood.

After years of hearing about Anderson playability, I can maybe see it, the neck shape is great, the body is comfy, it feels like it should be a really good playing guitar, but I get some resistance in bending and it's just not particularly smooth. It was advertised as 70% frets remaining, which is ilke, how do I even interpret that? But I think there are sections on the treble side where I might want to refret. It's no real problem with the intonation and there's no buzzing, but just not super smooth. Could also be the relief, but I guess the neck has to come off to adjust, and I'm not sure I've ever done that style before - what a pain!

The switching is also something I'd heard about a bit, but I don't find it so useful. It's basically like each switch can be full-on in series, off, or a choice of split or parallel (there's dip switches in the control panel I guess). Then one toggle switches between bridge full-on, and whatever you have your settings on. It's a cool setup if you only really have 2 things going on, which is usually one more than I need :D But the in-between sounds aren't that interesting TBH. Maybe I should try the other dipswitch setting. But there's also some grounding issues that I'm sure new ones don't ship with, but weren't disclosed. Pretty noisy in a lot of positions if I dont have my hand on the output jack.

The other thing I didn't ilke so much was the fretboard. In the listing it looked like nice rosewood with reddish streaks, but it looks now like it's pau ferro (that's the usual old one, but nothing against that, usually it's darker though) and then maybe someone tried to stain it black instead of giving it some moisture? So not sure if it's going to stay around or if I can work a discount for these undisclosed issues. I feel like I overpaid a bit for the issues, but complaining in Japan is hard to do.

It's interesting trying to reflect on TA then and now. At the time, a lot of these features were super innovative, and the pickups may have been really versatile and good for a variety of the sounds people wanted in the 80s - glassy cleans, a bunch of variety on neck tones for fusion stuff, and good crunch on the HB. They definitely have character, but I'm not getting thaaat metal of a sound from them (despite guys like Kirk Hammett using them). Probably not as many metal sounds as just a fishman fluence setup these days.
 
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narad

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Damn, how did my photos not inline? That sucks.
 

Albake21

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Holy hell, that top (and back) matched with the matching inlays and gold hardware is just perfect. HNGD!

Sounds like the electronics aren't your thing, do you plan on swapping anything out or keeping it stock for preservation reasons?
 

mastapimp

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I've never seen an old Anderson like this. Looks like a mutt of a guitar (in a good way). Vintage style split post tuners w/ a black and gold floyd hardware is unique. Surprised it has non-matching nickel knobs and switches. Love the orange dot inlays.
 

oremus91

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The simple top is proof that beauty need not be ostentatious, really subtly beautiful guitar.

EDIT: Wait a minute is the entire thing flamed?!
 

narad

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Let me try this again not using drag and drop:

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The simple top is proof that beauty need not be ostentatious, really subtly beautiful guitar.

EDIT: Wait a minute is the entire thing flamed?!

You bet. The grand-ams were mostly solid bodies of whatever fancy wood.

Haha, no doubt.

Good lookin axe! When did TA start? I think this might be the oldest one i've seen.

I think 1988 was the first year he was offering full guitars under his brand, but he was doing stuff for a few years before that.
I've never seen an old Anderson like this. Looks like a mutt of a guitar (in a good way). Vintage style split post tuners w/ a black and gold floyd hardware is unique. Surprised it has non-matching nickel knobs and switches. Love the orange dot inlays.

Ha, it's just non-matching because it's been worn down. Originally it's all gold though. Maybe the bridge is a newer replacement because it seems to have held up comparatively pretty well.

Holy hell, that top (and back) matched with the matching inlays and gold hardware is just perfect. HNGD!

Sounds like the electronics aren't your thing, do you plan on swapping anything out or keeping it stock for preservation reasons?
I think it's like sacrilege to replace TA pickups - I don't think I've really seen it before actually. But TA does have the HF2+ and the HF3/HF3+, both might be improvements here. I heard the HF3 is a bit darker / high gain, and that might balance out the brightness of the maple (if you believe in the tone wood stuff).
 

Samark

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Looks great Jas. One of my favourites of yours - and that's saying something.
 

SamSam

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That's a pretty cool looking guitar, it's always nice to see something a little out of the ordinary once in a while and the 80s produced some really cool stuff that we don't get to see all too often.

I've also noticed that you used the word -like - an awful lot in your post :lol:
 

eaeolian

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Man, those are awesome. I played one that I should have bought back then, but at $600 more than the Jacksons, well, the Jackson won.
Nice score - these are killer guitars.
 

tian

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That thing is damn gorgeous and the few dings, imo, make it even better. A stunning guitar that looks like someone actually enjoys playing it.

What year is it? I see the engraved neckplate so it's got to be from a little while back right?
 

narad

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That's a pretty cool looking guitar, it's always nice to see something a little out of the ordinary once in a while and the 80s produced some really cool stuff that we don't get to see all too often.

I've also noticed that you used the word -like - an awful lot in your post :lol:

Hey, I double checked and those were mostly valid lol

Man, those are awesome. I played one that I should have bought back then, but at $600 more than the Jacksons, well, the Jackson won.
Nice score - these are killer guitars.

Yea, another Jackson also came in this week and it's a killer guitar. It'd be hard to choose between them.

That thing is damn gorgeous and the few dings, imo, make it even better. A stunning guitar that looks like someone actually enjoys playing it.

What year is it? I see the engraved neckplate so it's got to be from a little while back right?

It's a 1988, so way back in the history. I think he mostly started around 1986, so pretty early there.
 

ClownShoes

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That has aged beautifully.

Don't clean up the hardware or replace it.
 


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