Modern Builder Vault: Hanson Guitars

It all started with pickups for John and Bo Pirruccello of Hanson Guitars—bass pickups to be specific. In 2005, John—who’s also CEO and co-owner of Lakland Basses— wanted to

It all started with pickups for John and Bo Pirruccello of Hanson Guitars—bass pickups to be specific. In 2005, John—who’s also CEO and co-owner of Lakland Basses— wanted to develop a line of pickups and electronics voiced for Lakland instruments. “My brother Bo expressed that he’d like to take a crack at developing some pickups, so he put his money where his mouth was and headed up the project,” John says. “About a year later, we had developed a 3-band internal preamp and hum-canceling pickup system called the LH3.” Another year later, the Pirruccello brothers had a full line of single-coil, split-coil, and hum-canceling Lakland-Hanson pickups for almost every bass heading out the door.

So the next logical step for the duo was to venture into the copper-coiled frontier of guitar pickups. “My favorite guitar pickup has always been the P-90, because of its tonal qualities and voicings,” John says. “So Bo and I—still thinking along the lines of expanding our pickup business—came up with what we felt was an exceptional-sounding set of P-90s that had a clear, articulate tone and a strong, focused sound. We try to take pickups to the edge, where they start to lose the frequencies we like, and then push the envelope through coil shapes to go a little further—it’s subtle stuff, but plenty of people hear it!”

Soon after their first P-90 creation, the Pirruccellos started pondering which guitar they should put them in. John and Bo compiled some ideas and qualities from their favorite, go-to guitars—like fatter, baseball bat-like neck profiles, Tune-o-matic bridges, Bigsby vibratos, and other appointments that they felt would complement their pickups.

Hanson Guitars made its official launch at the 2009 Summer NAMM Show, and they made a pretty big splash. “The original concept of Hanson Guitars was to build affordable, professional-grade instruments that sound and feel great,” John says. “We don’t mind being a small shop, and we’re happy to spend as much time on an instrument’s setup as necessary to make if feel good during quality-control checks when the assembled guitars arrive in our Chicago shop—just what I personally would hope for from a manufacturer.”

Firenze T-90
Hanson’s newest model—the Firenze T-90—has a solid ash body with a quiltedmaple top and a translucent orange finish. It features a T-style control assembly, pickguard, bridge, and bridge pickup—a Broadcaster Wound Hanson Bridge—while the “90” refers to the Hanson P-90 Neck pickup. The 25.5"-scale T-90 is equipped with a bolt-on maple neck and a rosewood fretboard (maple is also available).

This Italian-influenced guitar—think ’60s-era Ekos or Meazzis—comes with three classic-sounding Hanson P-90s that John Pirruccello describes as “wound for incredible complexity and power that will do creamy distortion with ease, but still offer a full range of clean tones.” The 24.75"-scale Cigno is built with a bound mahogany body, a set and bound mahogany neck topped with a rosewood fretboard, and a Bigsby B50 tailpiece (a fixed bridge is also available). Controls include a Master Volume, Master Tone, and a 5-way pickup selector.

Chicagoan P-90
Hanson’s Chicagoan P-90—their take on an ES-335—has a bound maple top and maple back and sides. It has a 24.75" scale and features a set and bound maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, a Tune-o-matic bridge with gold roller saddles, and a gold Bigsby B70 vibrato.

Gatto Deluxe
The Gatto Deluxe is similar to the Cigno, but is stocked with Hanson Classic Humbuckers (which are available in a coiltappable configuration). This Gatto Deluxe has a 24.75" scale and features a bound mahogany body with a flamed-maple top, a bound and set mahogany neck with an early-’60s slim profile and a rosewood fretboard, and a TonePros Tune-o-matic-style fixed bridge.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for Hanson guitars varies by model and selected options, but standard models can be ordered directly from Hanson’s website. The standard Firenze T-90 starts at $599, the Cigno starts at $675, the Chicagoan starts at $870, and the Gatto Deluxe starts at $599. Regarding customization, John is a yes-man. “I hate to say no,” he says, “so if it’s not impossible, I’ll consider it—I’m definitely open to ideas.”

Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.

Read MoreShow less

This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.

Read MoreShow less

Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.

Read MoreShow less

Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.

Read MoreShow less