Anderson Guitarworks Icon Classic
We didn’t know what to expect on unzipping the Super Deluxe gigbag. After all, this is a reliced guitar built by a maker that wasn’t around when the models we mostly see given the treatment were built. So it’s either going to be bonkers or totally brilliant. What we do know is that, whatever Tom Anderson does, he does with panache.
The Icon Classic is patterned after Leo’s most famous creation. This one comes in aged Arctic White over an alder body with a solid Indian rosewood neck inspired by that of a favourite 1962 Strat. Rosewood is the fingerboard material, with a 648mm (25.5-inch) scale length, 43mm (1.6875-inch) nut width and 22 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets, and like all Andersons it features the Buzz Feiten Tuning System. The body is distressed gloss; the neck is friction-free satin.
Pickup-wise, things are a bit OTT as if someone has spent years thinking about how to get the max out of their guitar. So we see a trio of wildly different-looking pickups: in the neck sits a PH1, P-90-style single coil in an aged nickel surround; there’s an SA2 Strat-style unit in the middle; and a nickel covered HC3 + humbucker is at the bridge. The outside pickups are split by a push-push pot on the far tone control, while, with the switch in the middle position, another push-push selects middle pickup or neck and bridge – Strat or Tele, if you like. Almost every sonic option is here.
The rest of the hardware comprises Anderson’s own vibrato system with push-in arm, top-mounted jack, and a set of locking tuners with chunky ‘bean’ buttons. A torty-style pickguard and matching Arctic White headstock complete the cosmetic picture. Everything about the guitar is top-notch, and plugging into our Blues Junior test amp doesn’t disappoint.
The bridge humbucker is hot and fat, and becomes slimmer and sweeter when you split it. Positions 2 and 4 both remain split, so you get those funky, vowel-like sounds. Meanwhile, the P-90-style single coil in the neck is big and fat when unsplit, and Tele-like and articulate with its push-push pot up.
Whether reliced guitars are your thing, or you prefer to string a garland of garlic around your neck to fend them off, the fact is that many owners would be terrified of pranging a pristine Anderson. Therefore this distressed version is an eminently usable guitar that offers all the tones you’d ever need. That aged patina somehow feels right, and – like all Andersons – it plays like a peach. Job done!