Review: Tom Anderson Guitars’ Angel

Tom Anderson Angel

Hey guys, today we are going to be taking a look at The Angel model from Tom Anderson Guitars. Tom Anderson Guitar Works are a company from California that build high end bolt on neck guitars. The company pride themselves on making high end guitars that play, feel and sound amazing, the guitars have been called the best guitars on the planet by some top players.

They achieve this by making a set amount of guitars every year, having some unique design features and master craftsmen. All guitars are made to order including the guitars dealers have as stock, dealers have to spec the guitars they want just like a customer would, this allows them to have the highest level of quality control, it also allows for some very cool and unique guitars to appear at dealers.

The neck join on their guitars features a 2 bolt “A-wedge” design. This join is incredibly strong and allows for maximum transfer of sound between the neck and body as it has a larger contact surface area than traditional neck joins. They make their own pickups in house which are some of the best I have played, they have several different models to accommodate all tastes.  For more information on the “wedgie” neck joint, pickups and some of their other design features including their excellent wiring and electronics check out the Tom Anderson website.

Specs 

  • Quilt Maple Top on Alder
  • Maple Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Satin Back Neck Finish
  • Even Taper Neck Profile
  • Jumbo Frets
  • Floyd Rose
  • H1 SC1 H3 pickups (N-M-B)
  • 5 way add bridge splitter

First Impressions 

This was one of those guitars that as soon as I started playing in the shop I knew it had to come home with me. I was absolutely blown away with every aspect of the guitar. I immediately noticed how comfortable the neck was, the fret work is impeccable just from sitting with this guitar the feel of how well made it is. It is very light weight and resonant acoustically which is always a good sign. I noticed the very straight grain in the neck which helps with stability and the very nice figuring on the quilt maple top.

Feel 

This guitar is all about playability. It is one of the best playing guitars I have ever played, the neck is a little chunkier than you might expect for a 24 fret floyd rose equipped guitar, but for me it makes the neck extremely comfortable for either playing chords or shredding. It has a compound fingerboard radius of 12 to 14, while only a small change as it moves up the neck, it makes chords down the neck comfortable and lead lines higher up a breeze to play. The Satin neck finish isn’t quite as satin as some might be used too, it is slightly different to what is offered by some builders, it still feels like it has a finish on it rather than the natural woody feel I have felt on other satin neck guitars. This being said it does feel very fast, smooth and not sticky at all. The guitar is nice and light and is very comfortable to play standing up, have played a couple with gigs with it and it’s to play it for a whole night and not get tired at all.

Sound 

The pickups in this guitar are awesome. Some floyd rose equipped guitars I have found tend to sound a bit thin and lack bottom end. This guitar has a solid bottom end, well defined mid range and a nice snappy high end. The guitar copes with all styles and tones well, I have recorded a lot with this guitar. I have used it on metal, rock, funk and ambient tracks. The pickups on this are very versatile, well balanced and extremely clear sounding, it also has one of the best coil splits I have ever heard on a guitar, in some scenarios I have found it actually sounds better than some single coil equipped guitars. It always cuts through a mix well either live or in the studio.

Verdict 

Normally I am not a fan of Floyd Rose equipped at all and I have tried several high end guitars from different companies and were never able to get on with them and always moved them on. This guitar is the exception, I love pretty much everything about this guitar so much that the fact it has a floyd rose doesn’t bother me. The quality of this instrument is off the charts, Tom Anderson have exceptional quality control and eyes for detail making them extremely consistent. They really are some of the best guitars on the planet, I now have several Tom Anderson’s and they are now my go to guitars. They play and sound amazing and can stand up to any guitar from any company and builder. The only “negative” I have to say about this guitar is that in my opinion the colour (Sweet and Sour) doesn’t bring out the best in the top. Knowing the quality of the wood they pick and some of the other finishes I have seen I feel like the grain in this top gets slightly lost. Not to say it isn’t a great looking guitar, in person you can pick out the subtleties, it just wouldn’t have been my first choice, but a guitar that plays, feels and sounds this good I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting such a good guitar.

I strongly suggest you check out the Tom Anderson website for more details on these guitars, and why so many top session players choose these guitars.

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