Guitars Of The Week:
The Week of September, 27 2004 through October, 4 2004

Drop Top Classic
Maple Top on Alder
Desert Sunset with Binding

Well, hello Noah,

We know you thought that we probably weren’t really paying attention when you asked your question to the Anderson Forum as to which Anderson guitar Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts was playing on CMT—but we were.

First, a little background: Rascal Flatts exploded onto the scene only four years ago and has already become one of Country Music’s biggest bands. With two albums to their credit so far and sales exceeding four million copies sold, their brand new album, “Feels Like Today,” is due to hit the stores on September 28th. Rascal Flats is Jay DeMarcus, Gary Levox and their amazing guitar player—Joe Don Rooney. These guys are riding high and we wish them much success. For more on these musical superstars, check ‘em out at the Rascal Flatts website.

Apparently our Anderson/Rascal Flatts adventure all began when Joe Don was hanging out with Chely Wright’s impressive guitarist, Rooster—who was featured in Guitar of the Week for March 28, 2004. Of course, their conversation eventually turned to tone and great amps and pedal boards but when Rooster broke out one of his Hollow Drop Top Classics and laid it in Joe Don’s hands for the first time, everything changed—for the better.

Managing to maintain some sense of composure, Joe Don placed an enthusiastic call to Anderson Guitarworks, where together we designed the perfect guitar for his personal playing style.

The result of our endeavors was the vintage vibe of a Desert Sunset sunburst finish radiating from a Quilted Maple top and relying on a solid Alder back to bestow its traditionally characteristic timbre to every note uttered.

Supportive of Joe Don’s multifaceted playing style, he also requested the ability to perform in-tune tremolo gymnastics while the gorgeous essence of Drop Top tone remains intact. Not a problem with the Anderson application of an original Floyd Rose bridge. Countersunk, it is nestled into the body compelling a traditional feel and string height from the playing surface, while allowing full movement of pitch in both directions. This setup sings with sustain—and stays in tune like no other.

His desired Hum/Single/Hum pickup layout is highlighted by the singingly legato approach of H1 and H3 humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. You can feel the benefit of their gifts in your right hand application, as notes seem to roll freely with only left-handed initiation. Incorporating the middle-position SA1 hum-canceling single coil with the splitting abilities of the afore mentioned humbuckers, brings forth fat and quacky single coil combinations that will serve to amaze from a guitar already blessed with an abundance of other attributes.

But the wait proved to be far too much, even for a professional such as Joe Don. So, in a few short days after ordering his magnificent axe, he had us search the country for another Anderson to keep him company while he patiently anticipated the arrival of his Drop Top Classic. It was a Black, T-Classic, equipped with TV-Series pickups that got the nod. This is what he had to say in a quick note after its arrival:

“Hey Brother, The T Classic got here today and it is absolutely amazing! Rooster and I are jamming on it right now. Rooster says, “Hey,” by the way. I just wanted to thank you for the rush on the guitar and for all you've done.

Thanks again,

Perhaps one of the highlights of Rascal Flatts’ career so far was a once-in-a-lifetime gig in our nation’s capital where they were part of the “American Celebration at Ford Theater.” President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Cheney and Lynne Cheney, members of the cabinet and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were in attendance. When we inquired, this was Joe Don’s impression:

“Meeting the President was absolutely the greatest and most powerful moment thus far in my!”

So Noah, what you spied in Joe Don Rooney’s hands on CMT was his Desert Sunset, Drop Top Classic—and now you know the rest of the story.

Thanks for asking.


• MODEL: – Drop Top Classic

• FINISH: – Desert Sunset with Binding

• BODY WOOD: – Quilted Maple Top with Alder Back


• NECK WOOD: – Maple with Indian Rosewood Fingerboard



• NECK BACKSHAPE: – T/A Standard

• NUT WIDTH: – 1 11/16ths with Locking Nut

• SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2-inch

• FRETS: – Heavy—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel

• BRIDGE: – Sunken Floyd Rose

• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft


• PICKGUARD: – Tortoise




• SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Master Split and Add-Bridge—for 14 sonic combinations



• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir Nanoweb—tuned ½ step down

• DESTINATION/LOCATION: – Joe Don Rooney/Rascal Flatts

• 03-03-04P

Drop Top Classic
Maple Top on Alder
Desert Sunset with Binding

Drop Top Classic
Maple Top on Alder
Desert Sunset with Binding

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