Review: Top LA studio guitarist Tim Pierce and the Wildwood 10 Telecaster
I first met Tim Pierce at the NAMM show in Anaheim, CA back in 1998. He was playing in a pick-up band of top players – a John Molo drum extravaganza for one of the drum manufacturers that had rented a big stage for the night. Oteil Burbridge was playing bass. Delmar Brown was playing keyboards. I was a big John Molo fan ever since I had opened a show for Bruce Hornsby while John was still drumming for him. But Tim Pierce blew me away that night more than anyone else on stage. I recognized his name from the Toy Matinee CD that was a giant inspiration for me as a budding writer, producer and mixing engineer. Like many players mentioned in CD liner notes before the days of Facebook and Google, his name carried a mystique and I was eager to learn more. Now I was putting a face with the epic guitar work that was featured in the music of Toy Matinee, alongside Pat Leonard and Kevin Gilbert. I was 23 at the time.
I remember giving one of my first CD’s (a 5 song EP) to Tim and hoped he’d listen to it someday. I was surprised when a month later, Tim called and told me that he really liked my music and would be open to recording with me on future releases. I was incredibly flattered and honored. This began a chain of life changing events that led to the recording of my first full length CD “Victory Land” that featured Tim on guitar, Abe Laboriel, Jr. on drums, Mel Brown on bass and other epic studio legends. Tim was warm and approachable, unlike many of the ‘big names’ in the LA world I had encountered as a young musician.
Tim Pierce was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and moved to Los Angeles in the early 80’s. Producer Keith Olsen introduced Tim to Rick Springfield and a lot of other artists and he quickly became one of the most in-demand studio musicians in LA. Tim is an extremely versatile guitar player that cover’s many different playing styles. Tim has now recorded with Crowded House, Christina Aguilera, Seal, Colbie Caillat, Avril Lavigne, Tracy Chapman, Joe Cocker, Ricky Martin, Meat Loaf, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Rob Thomas, Madonna, Toy Matinee, Don Henley, Santana, Rascal Flatts, Chris Isaak, Jewel, Faith Hill, Celine Dion, Dave Matthews Band, John Legend, Gavin Degraw, Mika, Carolina Liar, Goo Goo Dolls, Uncle Kracker, Josh Groban, Mylie Cyrus, Demi Lovato, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Daniel Powter, Chris Allen, Shinedown, and many more. This stunning array of styles showcases Tim’s amazing versatility, while never straying from his core identity on the guitar which is extreme tastefulness, great tone, and a lot of passion and wisdom.
Recording with Tim back in 2002 was an incredible learning experience and a great deal of fun. His tech brought out amazing guitar after amazing guitar from Tim’s back room, put fresh strings on them while Tim and I discussed the next part to be overdubbed, and by the time Tim and I had a clear vision for the next layer to add, his tech had the instrument ready to go, perfectly in tune and would hand it to Tim right about the time I pressed “record” on the now forgotten ADAT BRC remote control. His command of sounds and amplifiers and his massive pedal boards were impressive, and his playing was clear, clean and without extraneous noise as it went to tape. A lot has changed since 2002 – recording on ADATS is a thing of the past and Tim is now using Pro Tools. New innovations in the guitar world have evolved his collection of instruments and pedals, and Tim has continued to forge ahead as an innovative, in-demand studio musician. But many things have stayed the same. Tim’s affinity for vintage, classic tones, enhanced by modern technology and ergonomics. Tim likes light guitars and frets that are not worn out, but demands exceptional expressiveness and personality from his many guitars.
It is for all these reasons that I asked Tim to embrace, and dare I say fall in love with a Wildwood 10 guitar. I just knew that he of all people would understand Wildwood’s vision for a guitar that had the soul of a vintage instrument and the ergonomics of a brand spanking new ‘modern’ creation. Tim was a fan and frequent user of Tyler, Anderson and Grosh guitars, and I knew a Wildwood 10 Telecaster would be right up his alley. Wildwood 10’s are our unique and exclusive collaboration with the Fender Custom Shop. Through years of listening to our most discerning customers describe their “dream” guitar, and our own desires for guitar perfection, we worked closely with Fender Custom to create these stunning beauties.
Now that I am heading up the marketing efforts for Wildwood, it’s a real honor to be able to reach out to long time allies like Tim to further the enjoyment of these instruments across the world. The quest for great tone is one that is a group effort, a team effort. As expected, Tim loved the guitar I sent him! He was kind enough to put on film some of his insights into the guitar, and now we are excited to share Tim’s thoughts with you. Tim, we wish you the best in all your future musical endeavors, and are excited to be working alongside you in your endless quest for great tone. Thanks for hanging with us!
Director of Strategic Marketing
Here Tim discusses the unique magic of the Wildwood 10 Dealer Select ’59 Telecaster Custom from the Fender Custom Shop. Check these fine instruments out here.
In this second video for Wildwood Guitars, Tim checks out the guitar at Oceanway Recording with the legendary Allen Sides at the console. Allen was trying out some new microphones and wanted something juicy to throw at the mics. Tim and the Wildwood 10 was an easy choice!