Guitars to a guitarist are like friends, tools, children, wives, mistresses, and girlfriends. They can be soothsayers, they can allow you to express your innermost emotions in the most subtle to rude manner… and they never complain. The guitars we guitarists own and use are essentially extensions of our personality and we put a lot of time and effort to personalize them to our own unique uses.
My main guitars are all very special to me. My ‘favorite’ or “#1” can change from day to day and I am a strong believer in ‘horses for courses.
Tom Anderson Cobra S
I bought this on a lark, and it needed a lot of TLC found used in a Guitar Center of all places. I played it and immediately knew I had to have this guitar. After considerable work on it, it’s impossible to put it down. Restored to all Tom Anderson electronics and pickups it has so much character. At first, I was not drawn to the Purple Surf finish but I’ve grown to love it. I call it Darth Barney and it is the one I reach for first on most gigs.
Tom Anderson Drop Top
I was looking for a backup to my Melancon Custom (described below). I was stunned by the looks of it and it’s perhaps the best sounding guitar I’ve ever owned. It’s my Ferrari of a guitar and I love playing it.
PRS Custom 22
The PRS Custom 22 has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered PRS guitars in the early 90s. I’ve owned over 30+ PRS guitars over the years; yes that’s excessive. The feel, the tone, and the quality are all right in my wheelhouse. This is the GO guitar for every gig, if you see me out there playing, chances are 99.999% you’ll see me with this guitar.
My Custom 22 is from 1995; as for aesthetics, it is as plain Jane as you can go with a PRS. It’s a beat-up player; it’s not some pristine collector guitar. It was beat-up when I got it; I’ve played the snot out of it since I’ve owned it.
This is a monster player, a killer tone machine of a guitar. She is featherweight – it’s just over 7lbs. Plays like a dream. I had it re-fretted by my luthier Tom Pellerito and he did a fantastic job. I’ve dropped Motorcity Afwayu and Black Belt II pickups into it and added Tone-Pro’s locking studs to the bridge. The headstock features the gorgeous Ron Thorn PRS Forum 5th Anniversary truss rod cover.
Melancon Custom Artist
I custom ordered this direct from Gerard Melancon in 2004. It’s been a constant companion since and one of my all-time favorite guitars. Its top is Koa; I chose the wood used.. and I love it. It’s chambered Swamp Ash and Gerard gets the best swamp ash on the planet. I have WCR Custom Pickups (Goodwood/SRV/SRV) in it and it sings like a dream and rings like a bell.
This is the pinnacle of acoustic guitars for me – Koa side and back with a Sitka Spruce top – it’s gorgeous beyond belief; it’s a tone MACHINE, it drips character. It’s like angels singing when you play it, but dig in and it’ll blow Martin guitars out of the water. You can make this guitar really ring…. and oh yea… it is gorgeous. It’s been an extraordinary honor to own and play over the years. Taylor Guitars did themselves proud with this one.