For the past 8 years we have presented Guitar of the Week—over 400 installments—each week a tale of a special Anderson guitar. Some ask, “How do you do come up with something new each week?” and I say, “It is easier than it may seem, the guitars are so extraordinary that once you play one it speaks to you and the stories surrounding them seem to flow.”
This week, however, may be one of the hardest Guitar of the Weeks I have ever had to write. I want to…I need to…say the right things and convey the right sentiments. But words can fall short of the real depth of meaning. I will do my very best.
Love! Since the beginning of time it has always been about that. We all seek it—knowingly or not, misguided or not, we yearn for its soul-soothing comfort. It is the real pervading force that runs everything. Beyond words we all know it is true—even if we think it is too good to believe, we know it must be. And it is.
Gelb Music! If you have followed Guitar of the Week, you know this amazing store. Practically speaking, Gelb is a perfect music store—a place where you can stay and explore for hours—a great hang—staffed with the best people who are there year after year offering musical guidance—a place with a heart of gold. Does it sound too good to be true? Many say so until they visit, then it becomes clear.
Spearheading Anderson operations at Gelb, and for the entire Northern California area, for the last 13 years was none other than Keith Shirasawa—such a joyful soul. You are immediately greeted with caring and wit and intelligence in perfect balance. One of those who makes your day a much brighter and more fun experience.
Our beloved Keith made his transition from this earthly plane of existence Saturday, August 4th, 2007. To say he will be greatly missed is such an astronomical understatement—but as I said, words can fall short. I will not go into the details of his passing. You can check out the Gelb Music webpage and sign the guest book if you so choose.
Celebrating this wonderful person’s life seems proper as he brighten all with whom he connected. And all of us here at Anderson Guitarworks loved him very much. If you have ever talked with him, you immediately know why.
In this world you can do no greater thing but to offer yourself and your services to others with caring—and so he did just that. For the past 13 years we spoke several times a week. It was always—without exception—a fun-filled ride of joy, silliness, caring, intelligence and attention to all the important details of business to bring the best guitars on earth to Gelb Music. Gelb always has some of the coolest Andersons ever made, as Keith and Ed would pour over the specs of each and every guitar so as to make sure this was so. One such example is this Natural, Swamp Ash, T-Classic. Nowhere else on earth can one like this be found at this moment—but Gelb has it. Thanks to Keith and Ed.
Jordan, of Gelb Music (trying to carry on as best he can), voiced his opinion when he said, “This solid body guitar is surprisingly lightweight and comfortable to play. We are all loving it! It resonates so well and we were so excited that it got us silly. We literally timed the sustain because we couldn’t believe how long this guitar will ring out. Ed strummed a chord and after 20 seconds it was still going. Wow, Keith really ‘hit it out of the park’ when he specced this one.
Here is another example of their work together.
And yet another.
It is said that, “You can’t take it with you,” but I beg to differ. On the contrary, you do take all that matters with you whenever and wherever you go and you simultaneously leave it here as well. You take with you all that you have become, all that you have learned, all that you have grown to be, all that matters the most and all that defines you—the grace, the ease, the peace, the caring—your entire nature goes with you. Yes, Keith has quite a legacy with him—a job well done and a life well lived.
I could go on for hours sharing the magnificence and the stories but instead, let me offer a couple Keith-isms that were so uniquely him.
Keith almost always had some kind of Anderson guitar on order for himself—at all times. How many he really has stashed away, I can only guess. I tried to show several of these as Guitar of the Week. (You can enjoy some in the hyperlinks below.)
He loved reading Guitar of the Week and confided in me on several occasions that he would wait up for it to switch over to the new installment late Saturday night/early Sunday morning so he could read it immediately—fun, huh?
He did not mind having his guitars featured but he wasn’t really keen on saying they were his, being talked about or having his picture taken—quite a dichotomy for a personality as dynamic as his. Still, he loved it when he and his guitars appeared.
For one of the last Guitar of the Weeks we did with him, we asked Keith to send a picture of himself playing his new Transparent Cherry, Atom Special so we could feature it and him. But full of fun and true to Keith form, instead, he sent a picture of his friend, and Gelb customer, Peter Sawyer playing it—and sent a picture of himself holding another brand of guitar—just to be so funny. In response, we removed his head from the “other guitar picture” and laid it over Peter playing so it looked like a giant-headed Keith playing his Atom Special. From that we spun off a whole Guitar of the Week story to go along with the pictures. This met with lots of laughs at Gelb Music when they all logged onto to the Anderson site first thing Monday morning.
And now the end has come. So, if I may, let me wrap this very special Guitar of the Week the same way Keith ended almost every phone call we ever had together. We would finish our business and our fun and he would say, “I love you,” as though he was ending a call with his mother or his brother, not just a business partner. I would always reply, “I love you too.” So it seems very fitting that we end this the very same way.
“Keith, I love you! All of us at Anderson Guitarworks love you. Thank you for everything you did for us, thank you for the friendship and above all, thanks for just being you. We love you always!”
Burgundy Mist, Classic
Seafoam Green, T Classic
Champagne Sparkle, Cobra
Dakota Red, T Classic
Transparent Cherry, Atom Special
• MODEL: – T Classic
• FINISH: – Natural
• BODY WOOD: – Swamp Ash—with body contours
• BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – same
• NECK WOOD: – Maple
• HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Natural with Aged Vintage Tint
• NECK BACK FINISH: – Satin with Aged Vintage Tint
• NECK BACKSHAPE: – +.050 T/A Standard
• NUT WIDTH: – 1 5/8-inch
• SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2-inch
• FRETS: – Medium—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel
• BRIDGE: – Fixed Bridge
• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft
• HARDWARE COLOR: – Chrome
• PICKGUARD: – Black
• NECK PICKUP: – M1
• MIDDLE PICKUP: – N/A
• BRIDGE PICKUP: –TD3+
• SWITCHING: – 5-Way
• PICKUP COVERS: – Chrome for Neck
• PICKUP RINGS: – N/A
• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir® with NANOWEB® Coating
• DESTINATION/LOCATION: – Gelb Music/Redwood City, California