Lawndale California, USA
Posted 18 Jan 2021 2:24 pm
|Tom was a great guy and an unappreciated builder. He's a tremendous loss to the resophonic world, music world, and to me personally. One of the most wonderful things to happen to me in my 50+ years as a musician/tech/overly anal tone freak was folks leading me to Tom 6 years ago when I was looking for a squareneck to be custom built partially to my specs - but with input from the builder.
Tom was immediately receptive - and his pricing was below any of the other "boutique" builders. PPart of the reason was at the time he really wasn't planning on building any more - he'd had cardiac issues and had essentially retired. But I guess we hit it off, because after 15 minutes he was saying "and I could do this, and this...and...
Thereby unretiring himself. But mine would be the LAST one! Or so he said at the time........
Every conversation was an hour or more, and I'd be sore from laughing.He decided on solid broadleaf maple for the body - and as part of MY spec was I wanted a flamed maple top AND back with an aged "Burst" (1958/59/60 Les Paul) lacquer finish it took time to find the right wood - tonally and visually. Tom had never done a flamed maple sunburst before, nor was he very familiar with how they looked - but I let him do the research & take his best shot!
And because it took longer than he thought, he sent me a "project" 30's roundneck Model 27- for nothing!
Plus the final price on the 'Burst - solid maple, carefully placed "tuned" open-well soundpost construction with heat-shaped/tuned soundhole baffles, 4" bound body, bound, flamed-maple neck etc...went DOWN!
For almost 2 years - at my - request - he sent NO pictures, as once he started I didn't want to mess with the process - and being as anal as I am (not about appearance, but about things that affect tone) - I would have been a pain in the ass! So he teased me relentlessly - with hints that weren't really hints, pictures of OTHER guitars with no notes sent - drove me nuts and he loved every minute of it
When I finally received the guitar I was flat stunned! You play it using a strap and it shakes your insides - the tone and projection are otherworldly, and it's extremely touch responsive - the tone and volume each have a huge range based on your hand position and pick attack.
Others have played it, compared it head-to-head with other boutique instruments - and virtually everyone places it equal to anything ever made using modern building techniques. I have my 1936 Model 37 Dobro and a 1932 Model 45 "Double Cyclops" for traditional Dobro playing when I want that sound - but the Appy is my go-to guitar for virtually anything and is always near me!
Additionally, the way mine turned out seem to re-energize Tom, who started building again - as demand for his guitars also increased! Interestingly, it seemed most of his "builds" after #232 were flamed maple with sunburst finishes - and even fancier!
Thank you Tom - for your friendship most of all; for an incredible instrument; and for re-energizing my resonator playing (between 6 & 12 string acoustics & electrics. B-benders, electric & acouatic mandolins, elec & acout. basses, lap, console & pedal steels, a Weissenborn & several similar type guitars by others, and square & roundneck resonators I have roughly 65 guitars...oh, and about 35 ukes and a bunch of specialty string instruments- and the Appy is one of the 4 most-used)!
"The 'Burst" - Appalachian #232, Complete January 2017 - and Tom in his shop
No chops, but great tone
Last edited by Jim Sliff on 18 Jan 2021 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total