Guitars Of The Week:
The Week of September, 25 2000 through October, 2 2000

The Classic
Baby Blue

I was sitting with my good friend in one of the practice rooms when I first heard him play. He had his back to us quietly playing his guitar unplugged. My friend nudged me and whispered, “That is Nick Nolan. He is a great player. He was the winner of the Eddie Van Halen scholarship.” I turned and focused my attention on his playing. He was flawlessly executing Randy Rhoades licks at blinding speed. The year was 1985 and the place was the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California. We had come there to expand our musical knowledge but we came away with far more than that. We came away as good friends.

During the time we spent at G.I.T. we shared a lot of music and humor. It made that intense year of study much more fun and productive. Nick can really play! He is one of those rare musicians who can play anything he hears, immediately and flawlessly—usually making it sound better than the original. He taught me a lot and it was payback time. So, I let him play my home built guitar. It was a Strat-style instrument with a natural finished swamp ash body, a maple neck and a single bridge humbucking pickup that had mysteriously larger than normal pole pieces. Nick was totally floored, laughing in delight as he played. This humble instrument played effortlessly and sounded incredible. “How can this garage-built guitar sound and play so great,” was his next question? “Well”, I explained, “it just so happens that the garage of its creation belongs to Tom Anderson.” Of course at that time he did not know who Tom was but now he wanted to—really wanted to.

As soon as possible, we took Nick to visit Tom at his newly opened shop. Nick did not hesitate for a heartbeat. He ordered a Purple, “Pro Am T” with full body contours, a maple neck and Floyd Rose locking tremolo bridge, which he still owns and plays to this day. He loves that guitar! He has played it on so many projects. Nick and “Purple” have played on films such as “Mr. Magoo,” “Land Before Time II, III, IV & V,” “Once Upon a Forest,” and “Angeles in the Attic.” Their T.V. credits include “Melrose Place,” “Penn and Teller’s Sin City Spectacular,” “Holiday of the Heart,” “Sightings,” “Inside Out,” “Star Search” (house guitarist), “High Tide,” “Touched By An Angel” and cartoons including “Casper,” “Hercules” and “Back to the Future.” Anyway you get the idea; they’ve been busy together.

Now let’s flash-forward to the year 2000, Nick has continues to develop and has become a musician who can play it all but enjoys and chooses to play music that appeals to the masses. These are the ingredients of which Super Stars are made. He says he is now working with the best original band of his career. They are called “Jet Pack Heroes.” For this project and his evolving musical personality he needed a more vintage-style instrument. So he found himself standing in line at a large music store with a vintage-style instrument in hand when he mentally exclaimed, “What am I doing?!” I have to assume it was very similar to Bugs Bunny’s utterance of that very same phrase in so many of those classic Warner Bros. cartoons.

He raced from the store and called us from his cell phone. Like so many, Nick had automatically thought of us as a high tech guitar company. He asked, “Can you make me an amazing vintage guitar with vintage pickups and great vintage tone?” We asked him a few questions, pinpointed his exact sonic needs and invited him out to experience The Classic.

When he walked through the door he knew that he wanted it to be painted Baby Blue, which is reminiscent of the old Sonic Blue color. We had him play and swamp ash bodied Classic and an alder Classic. He loved the stronger, fuller tone that the alder body produced. Next, we discussed how the maple neck would tighten the top and bottom frequencies of his tone allowing the remaining frequencies to step forward.

The next trial was pickups. He quickly chose the miraculously beautiful sounding, vintage-timbred, traditional-output VA1s for the neck and middle positions. The choice for the bridge was between our VA2 and VA12 pickups. He favored the VA12 for its unique ability to deliver pure VA1 tone when the 5-way switch is set to its 4th position, while position 5 delivers the hotter, rich-vintage tones of our VA2. Opting for the add-bridge push/pull switch extends the usual 5 tonal offerings to 7 with the addition of neck + bridge and neck + middle + bridge pickup combinations.

When he picked up his masterpiece he was in awe but the real test comes when a player of this caliber puts The Classic through it paces in the real world. After playing it for several weeks this is what Nick had to say: “This guitar is just what I wanted. It is wonderful, absolutely the best guitar I have ever owned or played. The VA12 is just awesome. The Jet Pack Heroes are playing very modern rock and sometimes I really have to lay it out and sometimes I have to lay back and with that pickup the guitar will do it all without giving up any of the lush vintage tones. I am at rehearsal and have to get back to it but I have to tell you one more thing. I never imagined that there could be so much difference between brands of guitars. I knew Tom was the best but this is beyond. I expected it to be 20% better than any other guitar but it is 50% or more. You know what I am trying to say? Even the tone unplugged is amazing and the sustain…I can sustain any note for at least 3 bars anytime I want to. I should have done this a long time ago. The next thing I have to get is a T Classic.

Thanks Nick. We are elated that you are so pleased and we will all be watching for you.


 MODEL: – The Classic

 FINISH: – Baby Blue

 BODY WOOD: – Alder


 NECK WOOD: – Solid Maple



 NECK BACKSHAPE: – T/A Standard -.020

 NUT WIDTH: – 1 5/8th-inch

 SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2th-inch

 FRETS: – Heavy

 BRIDGE: – Vintage Tremolo


 PICKGUARD: – White




 SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Add Bridge Push/Pull Switch

 PICKUP COVERS: – Coffee Dipped


 STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010 to .046

The Classic
Baby Blue

The Classic
Baby Blue

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