#13: Stoney Anderson
This is a story that really should be equal parts about a guitar and about its former owner. First, I want to clarify that this is not John writing. I say that because It’s hard to make sure to do proper justice when telling a story second-hand. I didn’t become involved with Redneck guitars until after the events laid out here, and sadly, I never got to meet the infamous Stoney. That said, I will do my best to tell the tale.
When John started Redneck Guitars in 2004, it was very much a word-of-mouth enterprise. This is fancy speak for “friends and family.” The first couple of guitars were made with some trial and error, and John sought feedback from players of all levels on ways to make the best guitar.
One of John’s buddies from the pool room was a guy named Stoney. Stoney was one of those guys that everyone who met him has a story about him. “He was a biker with a lot of biker wisdom, and he had a way of delivering it that was perfect,” recounts John. “Anywhere he went he just walked in like he owned the place and belonged there.”
While John was still on single digits of production, Stoney came to him to order a guitar. “I want #13,” demanded Stoney. With a production time of 3-6 months per guitar, it would be a few years before John would be to #13. Of course John asked why he wanted to wait. Stoney promptly answered, “First, I’m a biker and I’m not scared of s—. Second, maybe by the time you’ve made a dozen you’ll know what the #%¢k you’re doing.”
By the time 13 was ready (2008), Stoney had become an unofficial aide around Redneck Guitars. When John made a guitar for Gretchen Wilson, Stoney was there. When John had displays set up at events or concerts, Stoney greeted and mingled as only he could. He was a self-appointed one-man PR team, security detail, and marketing guru.
Once 13 was completed, it was obvious Stoney considered it a prized possession. Stoney (with 13 in tow) eventually became the poster boy for Redneck Guitars - literally. “He showed up with multiple outfits and knew exactly what he wanted the pictures to look like. That photographer had no say. It was Stoney’s show,” recalls John with a laugh. A few of the resulting posters are still around - including one at Stokes Barn music venue.
As the years passed, Stoney ran into some health troubles. He kept his personality and zest for life until the end, but eventually succumbed.
After his passing, #13 fell off the radar. Whereabouts unknown. Every good story has some mystery gaps, and this period of time is ours. Locations, people, and events of 13 are anyone’s guess...until 2019.
In the summer of '19, John got a call from a pawn shop in Atlanta. They had come into possession of a Redneck Guitar and wanted some info on it. It was #13. John negotiated to repurchase the guitar, and a friend of the Redneck family was able to pick it up. Then COVID hit, and it took several months longer than planned to get it back home.
Eventually 13 made its way back to the Redneck shop for evaluation. The neck was busted from over-tightening the truss rod. The wear and tear was heavy. The electronics were in need of updating. The good news, though: it was in good hands, and everything on it was repairable.
In the meantime, I, your trusty Redneck Internet manager, was eagerly recounting the story to friends in guitar circles. Talking to a co-worker one day, he exclaimed, “I knew Stoney! He did some work for me,” before launching into a Stoney story. Like I said, everyone has one.
For those around Redneck HQ, Stoney wasn’t just a guy and 13 wasn’t just a guitar. They are forever linked together.
Toward the end of October 2020, I got a text I had been eagerly awaiting: a series of photos showing the repair progress on 13. The pictures were followed by a second text: “Last...you can play it tomorrow.” I spent the rest of the night and the next morning retelling the above story to everyone I encountered.
The guitar I saw the next day looked like a new guitar. “I didn’t go too shiny on the finish, but I did touch up the wear and tear,” said John. The neck wasn’t repairable, so it sports a new neck. “It needs some breaking in. I’ll adjust it in a couple of weeks after some playing time - once everything has settled in a bit. It sounds really good plugged in,” John said with pride.
So what’s the future of 13? It’s not for sale, but it needs to be seen, played, and heard. John and I have discussed some ways to make this happen, and wheels are in motion.
So for now, we’ll say this: if you’re out and about and see a Redneck being played, don’t be afraid to step up and ask what number it is. It just might be lucky #13 in action.