The sound came from behind and enveloped me. It was only a “G” chord but it had been played with “the touch.” You know “the touch” when you hear it. It is the feel of the professional. Someone who has the ability to make everything they play sound beautifully rich and commanding. It happened at the NAMM Show in Nashville. The year was 1995. I turned around to meet an extremely nice guy who introduced himself as Will McFarlane. We all knew he was a player’s player, that was clear. And he was enthralled with the Tom Anderson Guitars he was experiencing for the first time. He was gushing with enthusiasm and trying everything in sight. There was tone flowing from every corner of our NAMM Show booth. He fell in love with “The Classic” and ordered one in Translucent Plum with an alder body, maple neck, SD1-, SD1R- and SD2 pickups. It has been his number one guitar since its arrival.
As Will describes it, he was a Navy brat and lived all around but was primarily raised in the southern United States. When he was 12 years old he heard the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and that settled it for him. He got himself a guitar and discovered that it was the most natural thing in the world to play and sing everything he heard. When he was 18 years old he and his band moved to New York City. There he spent long hours wood shedding and playing out everywhere he could. He loved and drew much inspiration from rhythm guitar players such as Steve Cropper, Jesse Ed Davis, Reggie Young, Cornell DuPree and John Hall. In fact he was so into this style of playing that Will did not even play a solo until he was 19 or 20 years old. It was this focus that formed the solid foundation from which he was able to expand and develop his own well-rounded style.
He was 22 years old when Bonnie Raitt walked into the bar his band was playing at in Cambridge, Massachusetts and hired him for her next tour. He played with her for the next six years. He then joined Jackson Browne for his “Late for the Sky” tour. From there it was on to the Pointer Sisters, Little Feat and L.A. session and studio work. He had become a very popular guy but his lifestyle had grown “toxic” and he needed something real. He moved with his wife and his young twins to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It was there that he embraced a Christian based, spiritually centered life. He says it was the best thing he ever did. It changed everything for him and is the reason he is still married and now celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.
While enjoying a more blissful life, he played with “The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.” They are an extremely prestigious group of musicians that have backed up an almost uncountable number of famous artists such as Bob Seager and Paul Simon.
The last time we saw Will was at the 2000 NAMM Show in Nashville. He walked into our booth, took one look at our Sparkle Silver, three Soapbar equipped Cobra, played it and flipped out, announcing that he has been looking for something like this. He instantly ordered a Gold Top, Cobra with a brown back and neck back to match.
He recently received this dazzling Cobra and called to say, “This is the other tone that I have been looking for all my life! It is a fat tone for stage but you can bring it down and have it slap and cluck. It sings like a traditional single coil but drives like classic humbuckings. Will runs it through a Carr, Rambler amplifier with only 2 or 3 pedals—a Tube Screamer, a Thomas Organ Cry Baby and sometimes a Roland Delay. And of course he sounds amazing. What can we say, he’s got “the touch.”
MODEL: – Cobra
FINISH: – Gold Top
BODY WOOD: – Mahogany
BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – Translucent Brown
NECK WOOD: – Mahogany with African Rosewood Fingerboard
HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Black
NECK BACK FINISH: – Translucent Brown Satin
NECK BACKSHAPE: – Cobra Standard
NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16th-inch
SCALE LENGTH: – 24 3/4-inch
FRETS: – Heavy
BRIDGE: – Vintage Tremolo with Powerbridge for Acoustic Sounds
HARDWARE COLOR: – Chrome
PICKGUARD: – n/a
NECK PICKUP: – P1
MIDDLE PICKUP: – P1
BRIDGE PICKUP: – P3
SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Add-Bridge Switch for 7 sounds
PICKUP COVERS: – Cream
PICKUP RINGS: – n/a
STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010