In 1986, Pete Anderson’s guitar work with Dwight Yoakam, together with Richard Bennett’s playing on Steve Earle’s Guitar Town record, was ground zero for the twang revival that followed. Anderson recently decided to extend his range with a vibrato-equipped baritone. Having built a relationship with Reverend Guitars that spans two signature models, he worked with the company to create a baritone version of his Eastsider S, a Tele-style guitar with a three-pickup configuration.
Like the Eastsider S, the new signature Pete Anderson Eastsider Baritone sports a chambered korina body and three alnico pickups: one T-type in the bridge and two S-types in the middle and neck. Unlike that model, the new guitar has a 28 5/8–inch-scale full-length baritone neck and a traditional-style Wilkinson WV6 SB bridge with stamped-steel saddles, a steel block and adjustable arm tension.
The review model body came finished in Satin Tobacco Burst, which, combined with the roasted maple neck, enhanced its vintage visual appeal. (The guitar is also available in Satin Black.) Korina, a.k.a. white limba, is already a medium-light wood, and combined with the chambering, it makes for an instrument that’s easy on the shoulder. The placement of the chambers reduced, but did not entirely eliminate, a tendency toward neck heaviness.
The fret finish work was excellent, as was the setup, save for a low E saddle that may have simply dropped during shipping. The buzzing was quickly and easily alleviated by using the included wrench to raise the saddle. With the SIT custom .0115–.056 strings tuned to C standard, the Eastsider was as easy to play and bend on as a standard instrument strung with .010s. The scale length gave the guitar a thicker-than-standard sound even in the higher registers.
Anderson designed the instrument for maximum twang, and the baritone delivered. Whether played through a Supro Comet or a 1966 Fender Bandmaster, every pickup position put out plenty of high end without ever getting harsh. Kudos to the push/pull function that allows you to have the neck and bridge pickups on together, and the well-voiced tone control that warms up the sound, should you need to. The vibrato bridge was set up to float, allowing me gently warble notes and chords, while the locking tuners and friction-reducing synthetic “Boneite” nut helped keep kept the guitar in tune. The Eastsider is touted as a “twang machine” and is perfect for spaghetti-western soundtracks, vintage country and surf sounds. Adding some spring reverb and amp or pedal tremolo put me right into Sergio Leone/Duane Eddy territory.
But it would be a disservice to this fine instrument to imply that its utility stops there. Throwing on some distortion and fuzz proved that the pickups had plenty of punch for harder-edged rock or metal uses. Running the guitar through long delays and lush reverbs revealed a plethora of ambient tones. I especially liked how the middle pickup sounded when processed for maximum atmosphere.
As a utility instrument for the professional studio musician or sideman, the Pete Anderson Eastsider Baritone delivers the kind of quality needed to consistently do the job. But more than that, this guitar is a vibe wizard, capable of becoming the centerpiece of an artist’s sound. Its excellence as an inspirational tool alone earns it an Editors’ Pick Award.
Pete Anderson Eastsider Baritone
PRICE $1,199 Street
NUT WIDTH 43mm
NECK Medium oval roasted maple
FRETBOARD Pau Ferro, 28 5/8" scale, 10–14" Radius
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
TUNERS Reverend Pin-Lock
BODY Chambered korina
BRIDGE Wilkinson WV6 SB (Steel Block) tremolo
PICKUPS T-alnico bridge, S-alnico middle/neck
CONTROLS Volume, tone (pull neck+bridge) 5-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS SIT Custom .0115–.056 set tuned to C standard
WEIGHT Approximately 8 lbs
KUDOS Tons of inspiring tones. Well built. Easy to play