John Bohlinger from Premier Guitar met with award-winning guitarist/artist/producer Pete Anderson before his March 19th, 2014, gig at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville. Pete provided details on the genesis of his signature Reverend guitars and his no-amp, no-pedalboard rig.
After practically inventing neo-country twang in the ‘80s with Dwight Yoakam, Pete Anderson will probably always be associated with Telecasters. For years he played Fender Teles and Tom Anderson Tele-style models.
But when it came time for a signature guitar, Pete had turned a page in his career, and was getting back to playing blues on a hollowbody. Several guitar companies courted Anderson in hopes of making a signature model. Pete eventually went with Reverend, who worked from Pete’s sketch to build the sexy-shaped, Bigsby-equipped, hollowbody Pete Anderson PA-1. This unique guitar features locking tuners, a dual-action truss rod, a compensating nut, uni-bracing, and tons of mojo.
Pete has made a few changes on his personal instrument: Maricela “MJ” Juarez of the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop wound the pickups. (Pete, who has a 30-year history with Duncan, claims that MJ is absolutely the best.) They went through 10 pickup prototypes before arriving at the final noise-canceling version, which features alnico 2 magnets and blades instead of pole pieces. MJ calls these “P-90 Blades.”
After a successful run with the PA-1, Reverend collaborated with Pete again to build the Pete Anderson Eastsider T, a lightweight, Korina Tele-style model with a chambered body, pin-lock tuners, stainless steel saddles, a compound radius fretboard (10" to 14"), and a push/pull phase switch. This sunburst Eastsider also features Duncan Custom Shop pickups: a stacked, noise-canceling Tele-style pickup in the neck, and a Billy Gibbons BG 1400 Esquire Lead in the bridge. This road guitar has also been upgraded with CTS Pots and staggered Gotoh locking tuners.
Pete’s guitars are strung with D’Addarios (.011.5 through .054), tuned down a whole-step. All his guitars feature Dunlop 6105 Tall/Skinny frets and Earvana Nuts. LA-based tech Gil Chavez maintains the instruments. Pete’s guitars have a vintage look, but they’re built with modern parts that can handle the rigors of touring.
Amps and Effects
When Pete plays, you hear vintage Fender Deluxes and Twins. But what you see are two first-generation Line 6 Pods (the old, kidney-shaped ones that many of us have buried in our gear graveyards). Pete worked with Line 6 early in the development of the Pod, and the company recorded and modeled Pete’s actual amps.
Pete’s signal flows from his guitars through a Nady W-1KU dual-rack system into a Lehle P-Split II splitter box, which routes the signal to his two Pods, one wet with reverb and delay, and the other dry save for a whisper of ’verb. From there the signal feeds a Fryette Two/Fifty/Two Stereo Power Amplifier plugged into two Weber Deluxe open-back cabinets, each with a 12" Patriot Cannabis Rex speaker by Eminence (for that smoking tone). These cabs provide the stage volume and vibe, but most of the house sound comes straight from the Pods. A Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 provides the AC.
Pete does not use any pedals with his rig. However, a MIDI cable connects his wet signal with the drummers’ click to keep delays in sync with the band. All other sound variation comes from Pete’s hands and pickup selection.