The customized version of the 1959 ES-335 Anderson bought in 2002 and uses to perform in the Paul McCartney band made its debut at an exclusive launch party at the Gibson Beverly Hills Showroom.
“The main reason I chose this guitar to customize is because it maintains its tone at any level which is important when playing large stadiums to hundreds of thousands of fans,” said Rusty, who played the instrument with his band, Rusty Anderson Afternoon for an exclusive group of friends, fans and celebrities.
Another reason selected this model was its light weight. According to Rusty, the center block is made of the lightest wood available. “That was a big deal to me,” he explained. “It sounds better if you have a lighter center block because it makes the guitar resonate more. You want them to hear every note. It’s also not as heavy to hold. We play four-hour gigs and a heavier guitar can give you shoulder damage.”
In addition to working as Paul McCartney’s touring lead guitarist since 2001, Anderson has worked with a number of well-known artists. You can hear his signature riffs on the recordings of Elton John, Joe Cocker, The Bangles, Neil Diamond, the Wallflowers, Sinéad O’Connor, Ricky Martin, Willie Nelson and dozens of others.
Still, it is his association with McCartney that has brought Anderson the most attention. “We’ve been together longer than the Beatles were together,” he noted. As for what the band is called, Rusty said, “we lovingly call it ‘Things,’” which sounds like homage to McCartney’s previous band, Wings.
Today, when Rusty isn’t touring with McCartney, he’s working on original material. His single, “Effortless,” went to number one on Sirius Radio, and was well received when he sang it at the launch party Thursday night.
“The experience of connecting with an audience with your own music is amazing, and very important to me,” said Rusty. “I also love working with Paul, but it is a little tricky trying to do all of it, especially since I now have a two-year old daughter. You constantly have to pick priorities.”
Background: About the Rusty Anderson Signature ES-335
Gibson Memphis patterned the body and neck on the original vintage 1959 ES-335. The Rusty Anderson ES-335’s body is made from laminated maple with a solid, lightweight maple center block, spruce braces, and cedar rim liners. The neck is carved from solid quarter-sawn mahogany to a superbly comfortable rounded ’59 profile. The hand-selected dark rosewood fingerboard has dot position markers and vintage-correct binding, topped with a period-correct nylon nut. Its nitrocellulose Vintage Natural VOS finish, with aniline dye grain filler on the neck, recreates the look, feel, and sound of a prized vintage ES-335 built nearly 55 years ago.
“This helps the guitar maintain its tone,” said Rusty. “Furthermore Jim Lillard, the resident electronics guru in Memphis, balanced the pickups to be hot enough to have some serious oomph, yet they also articulate extremely well.”
The Rusty Anderson ES-335’s two specially designed Custom Bucker humbucking pickups have been recreated from painstaking study of prized vintage PAF humbuckers. Made with Alnico II and Alnico V magnets, they also incorporate slightly mismatched, unspotted coils that are scatter-wound with 42 AWG wire. Matched CTS™ potentiometers with “Bumblebee” tone caps ensure an authentically vintage signal path all the way to the output.
Single-ring Kluson™ tuners, a nylon nut, original “no wire” ABR-1 Bridge, and a lightweight aluminum stop-bar tailpiece with old-style long-anchor studs all contribute to superb resonance and sustain, as well as preserve the original’s traditional looks. All hardware is nickel-plated, and gently aged using Gibson’s exclusive VOS process. Finishing touches include a period-correct ’59 pickguard, truss rod and cover, and historically accurate binding sizes and colors.
Anderson also points out that like the original 1959 guitar, “The anchor points at the bridge are at their full depth, and the unobstructed truss rod is really good because it resonates better. The neck is solid but not too big. This guitar has great tone, especially at the low end—and that’s the most difficult element to get right.”
Every Rusty Anderson ES-335 comes protected in a tan hard-shell case with plush charcoal lining, includes a Gibson Memphis Certificate of Authenticity, and is backed by Gibson’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 customer service.