Anthology stands on one fundamental principle: build the best or don’t bother.
Curse, blessing, or both, I was born a stubborn perfectionist to the core. For some reason or another, I’m just wired that way. I’d like to think perhaps God decided to wire me like a great amp designer wires an amp: handmade, using true point-to-point wiring, mounting all components directly to tube sockets, jacks, and pots, to ensure the purest signal path, maximum touch sensitivity, and the least amount of tonal degradation.
See, I’m even a gear-head perfectionist when it comes to introspective musings.
Whatever the source of my obsessive attention to detail, I have applied it fully to the design and construction of all Anthology Gear Wear’s products, including a steadfast commitment to working exclusively with the finest materials on the planet.
Don Grosh builds guitars that play like butter and drip with tone by starting with the most resonant tone woods then finessing them by hand. Josh Scott at JHS Pedals builds little tone freaks-of-nature that pierce the sonic spectrum by starting with the highest-grade circuits then hand-wiring them to perfection. Jimmy Somma at Sommatone Amps builds the most lush, fat, and exceptionally responsive amps by starting with the best tubes, transformers, and capacitors then soldering all points by hand.
If there is a formula to transcending the formulaic in quality gear it is clearly this: begin with the absolute highest-grade materials, build by hand, and do so with a passion for perfection.
Those masters work with wood, tubes, and circuits. We work with leather.
Leather Selection: It Matters.
The difference between high-grade and low-grade leather is like the difference between a $4500 Don Grosh Custom and a $200 assembly line Squire. Just close your eyes for a comparison test and start playing. You’ll immediately know which axe is the real deal.
With leather there are many variables that separate the cheap from the choice.
The Tanning Process
The process of tanning leather is crucial to getting really high-grade leather.
When a hide first enters the tannery, the hair is removed then it’s drained of its natural oils and preservatives. After that process, it’s put into a huge drum for tumbling the hide and infusing it with new oils and preservatives. That stage is called tanning.
It can take up to ten hours for the oils and preservatives to penetrate all the way through to the core of the hide. Finally, the leather is heat-pressed and sprayed with finishes and sealers, then hung to dry and pressed again.
Where You Can Get Cut Short
To save time and money, tanneries can cut quite a few corners, giving you lower quality leather as a result. By cutting the tumbling time down, so the hides are not fully tanned, tanneries can pump out more leather while saving money on the quantity of oils and preservatives used.
And if the hides aren’t fully tanned, they can easily crack and fade with time. It’s sad to say, but some tanneries will tan only about 10% of the leather. Another way tanneries like to save money is by using cheap oils and preservatives. In order to cover-up this shortcut, the sides of the leather will typically be painted so you’re not even aware you’re buying such a low quality product.
To completely avoid any such lapses, Anthology works closely with only ethical, top shelf tanneries. We make sure our leather is fully tanned with the highest-grade natural oils and preservatives.
A Lesson In Leather
There are four grades of leather you can get out of one hide.
1. Full-grain: the best leather money can buy. The closer we get to the surface of the hide, the more dense the fibers and grain. The further you get away from the surface the more likely the leather will weaken and pull apart. Full-grain leather is the strongest, most durable and, best yet, helps distribute the weight of your guitar far better than any other type of leather.
Beyond the attributes of strength and durability, full-grain leather also retains the oils and preservatives, causing the leather to burnish and beautify with age. Over time, our leather will develop real, distinguishing character. We never spray paint our leather to look aged or give it personality. Fake distressing is like lip-syncing at a live performance. We don’t do fake.
Sure, full-grain is much more expensive, but it’s well worth it.
Now, if you’re curious, our list continues with the three other types of leather we don’t use:
2. Top-grain: not as strong and durable as full-grain and doesn’t age as well. Top-grain has the very top of the hide shaved off to eliminate aesthetic imperfections. But see, at Anthology Gear Wear, we like these imperfections; they add character to the leather. Top-grain is like digital, auto-tuned vocals. We’re about analog.
3. Genuine leather: genuinely worse than top-grain. When I was younger, I always assumed genuine leather must be good. Hey, it’s “genuine”. Well, so is acne. Next!
4. Bonded leather: the hot dog of the leather world. In other words, leftover scraps are ground up and glued together kind of like particleboard. Now you know.
Indeed. People don’t often think about the threads, but they make a significant difference. Hence, at Anthology Gear Wear we use stout, thick, industrial marine-grade UV-resistant thread — the same thread used in airbags and parachutes.
We never use cotton or nylon. Why? They're just not as good. Consequently, our thread is 3 times more expensive than nylon thread, but it’s also 4 times as strong — and we use the thickest version available.
That's strength you can trust.
Protection Is A Virtue — And A Necessity
When it comes to our prized gear, we want a bag we can count on to protect the goods.
Unless you're playing exclusively in your garage, you're hauling that cherished equipment all over and accidents are as inevitable as death, taxes, and terrible teen pop. At Anthology, our commitment to protection goes beyond just selecting the strongest, most durable materials. Our gear is an extension of who we are as dedicated musicians, and we protect our own.
Passion For Perfection.
Great gear builders answer to a higher calling than profit margins, just as great musicians are motivated by much more than mere accolades.
There is a shared passion to leave a lasting legacy.
When these masters leave this earth, will their work be remembered? Will new generations still be blown away when the plug in that guitar or play that record? Will their life’s work leave a mark?
At Anthology Gear Wear, we fervently share this larger drive to create something of lasting value. And beyond our legacy, we hope to create pieces that become a significant part of yours.