2015 Island Istruments Fancy Anzol

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headshot

Nic Delisle built this one-off guitar for the 2015 Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin. It’s Anzol #0005. I’d been admiring it during the build and inquired when he put it up for sale after the show. He made it too easy, and I’m so happy he did.

It’s a pine, maple, and ebony guitar, dressed to the nines and fitted with MOJO Foil Sonic pickups and a Ferro Full Contact bridge:

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matchy-matchy

Nic had just built a pistachio green Anzol (#ooo4) using the same palette of materials, and he clearly knew he had something special, so he upped the visual ante with #0005.

The bridge http://www.ferroguitars.com/ferro-wrap-around-bridge.html is machined from a block of aircraft aluminum, mounts flush to the body to improve energy transfer, and has individually intonatable three piece brass saddles. It does the job very well and weighs very little. I wonder how a steel one might sound.

The pickups are MOJO Foil Sonics, a custom gold foil cross bred with a Burns Tri Sonic http://www.mojopickups.co.uk/product/foil-sonic/. They are absolutely beautiful and intensely expressive: warm, low output, and full of chime, with a ton of headroom. That headroom lets them soak up the character of pedals one after another without square-waving into the ceiling, and it lets you hear a wonderfully unfamiliar range of sounds from your amp. Low output is awfully underprized. Set away from the strings as they are here, the pickups are gorgeously open and articulate, and married to the pine, maple, and ebony in Nic’s design, they have an impossible, shimmering, acoustic character that I haven’t heard before.

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grained ivoroid binding and guard

The Anzol, at least the fancy one, is fretted with 43080 Jescar evo gold wire https://www.jescar.com/product-category/fretwire/wirealloy/evo-gold/. Small frets, without the worry of wear. I can’t imagine ever choosing this stuff, given my general if still incomplete antipathy toward gold hardware, but I’ll certainly consider it now (I am). This fretwire is warm, slick, hard, and not glittery enough to look out of place alongside nickel. Nic caps the neck with a custom cut brass nut, which also sounds great, whatever it does or doesn’t do for sustain, and the design aesthetic is unified here by perfectly undersized brass dot fret markers on the dreadnought sized ebony board. There’s also a slick repetition of the foil and nickel motif in the headstock logo:

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oiled maple

All of the work is sterling and idiosyncratic, the set-up was truly immaculate, and the guitar has a unique, bracingly natural, and sharply compelling voice. The neck is substantial, broad, and still comfortable. The fretwork is super smooth and polished, with literally perfect fret ends. The neck pocket perfectly relates the neck to the flush mounted bridge. It plays effortlessly and has a feel that impresses itself on you as a dimension of its sound–a woody, acoustic clarity and a classical ease and delicacy of expression with all the sacred-to-profane range of a telecaster . It’s difference is inspiring.

I guess I wish it were a touch bigger. I’m tall, and it looks dainty next to a junior.

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