A headstock, just a picture of a headstock?
Last week, while we were away seeking the finest woods from hidden forests of the Pacific Northwest, a picture appeared on the Anderson website depicting the image of a headstock only.
The brief caption below read:
If this is something new, something longed for, something hoped to appear, something wanting to be seen, and something expected—then it could really only be one thing…
Editors Note: Don’t let the headings mislead you; they have been purposely selected to give no clues. Have fun
A clue to a guitar mystery of some kind no doubt! But what kind of clue is that? What could it mean? It’s all geek…I mean Greek, to me. And…to make matters worse, whoever commandeered the Anderson website and posted the picture is refusing to reveal any answers until someone guesses correctly.
Rather pushy, I’d say.
Stumped beyond reason, we had no choice but to call in the famous detective, Surlock Nutclamp, an expert at unraveling guitar mysteries of all kinds from all around the globe. His power of deduction and reason are legendary and impressive—not to mention that he has perfect pitch. Working quickly to unmask the identity of the guitar in question is mere child’s play for him.
We will leave the rest to Mr. Nutclamp.
Speaking in some kind of European accent, “Let’s see now,” he said. Drawing a puff from his pipe, he gazing toward the ceiling as he artfully exhaled off-white rings of smoke in perfect sequence. A pretty masterful trick in itself as he doesn’t smoke and the pipe wasn’t lit.
He began with such clarity and simplicity of thought, it was understandable why he is considered a master in matters such as these. “The printed message from above makes it rather plain that what we seek is not something odd or completely different at all. The verbiage tells us it is ‘something expected,’ indicating it to be already familiar—perhaps quite familiar—in someway. That is a very important point to not be overlooked. This is a guitar hidden in plain sight.”
“Also, there has been a lot of speculation concerning possible indicators hidden in the heading of the picture—maybe alluding to a 7-string or some such thing. And yet, it is as plainly written as is the nose on my face—no nose jokes now—in the editor’s note stating: ‘they have been purposely selected to give no clues.’ No clues means, no clues. So, to search there is to be misled. Probably what this devious and cunningly clever adversary had in mind, but I’m not falling for it.”
He continued, “I think we can conclude that this is more than just a random picture but one which does have indications of deeper connotations embedded within. If that is so, a black headstock can only have one of two distinct meanings of any significance in the guitar world. One, the black headstock first appeared as a sign of adornment on 24 ¾-inch, scale-length, mahogany-based guitars beginning in the early 1950’s. Two, the black headstock emerged again in the late 1980’s and early 90’s to crown a full-out, Floyd Rose-loaded rock machine with mondo-output humbuckers that would easily rip and shred as speed became the name of the game and legato riffs flowed freely.”
“But there is more to it than just the obvious here,” he stated with a thoughtful gleam in his eye. “These people who posted this picture are clearly masters…masters in their understanding of guitars and how all the pieces fit together perfectly—sly they are. It is a good thing you called me in on this one.”
Silently he paced the length of the room as though contemplating the greatest riddle on earth. Perhaps he was. Abruptly stopping and turning toward us he smiled a wily grin. Slowly, he raised an index finger as if to signify the treeing the proverbial fox. He had it.
“Notice the edging around the border of the black headstock. Now look at the sides. They are not actually natural wood, are they? No, they are not! He excitedly exclaimed. “They are yellow! Too yellow to be natural wood and yet not a bright yellow! Oh my gosh, this guitar has a painted neck and headstock back! That is clearly apparent once one looks closely—clearly apparent!”
Man, this Surlock Nutclamp guy is good.
On a roll, he enthusiastically shared more, “Over here!” He pointed at the picture. “On the tip of the headstock you can make out wood grain—mahogany wood grain, if I’m not mistaken—and I really never am. This soft yellow color is translucent!”
“ 80’s ‘War Machines’ had nothing like this—not the mahogany neck and not the painted neck back. The guitar in question has to be a mahogany-based, 24 ¾-inch scale-length ‘Crusher’ with roots planted much farther back.”
“In the 1950’s there was one and only one light yellow translucent color traditionally used—that was TV Yellow—and it was never painted on anything but all mahogany—never! What does that mean to us? I don’t know! No, wait…yes, I do!”
He whirled about with such energy that it sent his hat spinning atop his head. “This guitar has to have an all-mahogany body because that is the only way traditional TV Yellow was done and again don’t forget, the text said, ‘something expected’.”
“Now, what do we know about Anderson?” he paused and peeled off his detective-type sweater (or pullover as they call it at Scotland Yard) to reveal a black Anderson T-Shirt. Apparently, he knew a lot and he knew how to dress.
Jumping back in, “Anderson has two models that are comprised of all-Mahogany bodies—Cobra Special—in all its permutations—and Atom Special—that’s it. Now, let’s see, normally guitars of the Cobra genera do not have a painted neck back—unless specifically requested—and a TV Yellow Cobra Special has been seen before, but…”
He paused, perhaps to collect the last of his thoughts or perhaps only for dramatic effect before administering the masterstroke that would finally bring an end to this utter madness of a mystery guitar.
“Atom Special in TV Yellow, of course!”
“Right under our noses the whole time. Something so natural and so normal one would think it had been seen before—but not. Many have spoken of it and many have desired to see it, but no one has—until now.”
It took the yearning of Matt at Guitar Man in New York City, to bring this one into actual physical form. Matt, after having several TV Yellow Cobra Specials in his shop and witnessing firsthand the fervor they created, knew Atom Special in TV Yellow was calling to him—haunting him day and night is more like it.
It would be far more than too cool.
Loaded with twin M-Series pickups and 5-Way switching with the first Kickback to visit Guitar Man, Matt was immediately wowed into a land of sonic bliss by its six superlative and completely usable sounds. Matt planned for this TV Yellow, Atom Special to go home with him. But this wasn’t to be either, for as he shared with some of his closest customers what Anderson magnificence was coming, they clamored to possess it themselves.
Finally, Andrew won out and took this magnificent Atom Special away to live with him. Does Matt want another? “The answer is so obvious,” Nutclamp exclaimed, “of course he does. He cannot live without a TV Yellow, Atom Special of his very own. Who could?”
• MODEL: – Atom Special
• FINISH: – TV Yellow
• BODY WOOD: – Mahogany
• BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – same
• NECK WOOD: –Mahogany with Indian Rosewood Fingerboard
• HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Black Gloss
• NECK BACK FINISH: – Matching Satin
• NECK BACKSHAPE: – Happy Medium
• NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16-inch
• SCALE LENGTH: – 24 3/4-inch
• FRETS: – Medium—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel
• BRIDGE: – Wraparound—Exclusive Anderson/Pigtail
• TAILPIECE: – N/A
• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft
• HARDWARE COLOR: – Chrome
• PICKGUARD: – N/A
• NECK PICKUP: – M1
• MIDDLE PICKUP: – N/A
• BRIDGE PICKUP: – M2
• SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Kickback & Push/Pull Switch—for 6 Sounds
• PICKUP COVERS: – N/A
• PICKUP RINGS: – N/A
• SWITCH TIP: – Black
• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir® with NANOWEB® Coating
• DESTINATION/LOCATION: Guitar Man/New York, New York