Wet Guitars Are Bad Too! July 02 2017, 0 Comments
When protecting valuable instruments, a lot of focus tends to be directed towards eliminating damaging low RH. This is because more often than not dry conditions are the most common root cause of damage to guitars. Typically these are most prevalent inside homes during the winter months; however, in certain geographic regions such as high mountain or desert climates they can persist year round.
With summer conditions already dominating most of the United States, it's important to remember that too much moisture from extremely humid conditions can be very damaging to your guitar as well.
Guitar makers have strict controls on the humidity levels in their shops. Usually they keep it within the golden range of 40-50% RH. When guitars leave their shops, they can begin to exhibit symptoms as they enter a variety of climates. We as guitar players do not want to encounter the issues that arise. In addition to your guitar becoming difficult to play, the repairs can be very costly. Bob Taylor, founder and owner of Taylor Guitar Co., estimates that "at one time, probably 70 percent of the repairs performed in our service center could have been avoided if the guitar had not been exposed to humidity extremes."
As such, Bob Taylor has a strong interest in educating guitar owners on what to look for and how to avoid these situations. They have released a couple fact sheets called "Symptoms of a Dry Guitar" and "Symptoms of a Wet Guitar". Today we will focus on the latter of the two and paraphrase from the fact sheet as well as other information available on internet regarding this topic.
Typically high humidity situations will cause the top of the guitar to bulge or ballon, which can affect the playability as the bridge can actually rise above the fingerboard changing the angle at which the strings interact with the fingerboard, nut, and bridge. Changes in the neck angle create a situation that renders the guitar nearly unplayable. If you are questioning whether you guitar has been exposed to high humidity situations, extremely high string action is one of the symptoms to check for.
The fingerboard can also swell and extend beyond the edge of the neck leaving a "step" where the fingerboard meets the neck. This situation can make any chord changes, movement up and down the neck, and playing solos difficult. As the fretboard shrinks back to its original shape, fret issues can occur.
Here at Acoustic Remedy, we believe the humidity battle can be won in a few ways:
1.) Limit the amount of air interacting with the guitar. Our cases do this by creating an airtight environment by utilizing a highly durable rubber gasket and the latch system that pulls the door tight to the case and compresses the gasket.
2.) Utilize a reliable humidification/dehumidification system. We employ the D'Addario 2-Way Humidification System, which not only emits but also absorbs moisture to keep your instruments in the ideal range of 40-50% relative humidity.
3.) Monitor relative humidity levels with an accurate hygrometer. The old dial type gauges look nice, but they aren't very accurate. We utilize the most accurate hygrometer on the market - Caliber IV by Western Digital. They cost a whole lot more, but they are the most accurate of any we tested. We are also offering up a new product from D'Addario called the Humiditrak. This device connects remotely to your phone via Bluetooth and through an app allows you to track the RH levels inside your case(s).
We love "talking shop" on this topic and have many people email regarding their particular situations. In fact, just recently I've had this same discussion with a customer in North Queensland Australia where the humidity is around 80% year round. We discussed some of the same topics in this blog and his struggles to keep his guitars healthy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. If you want some more information, please click the following link to open fact sheet from Taylor Guitar Co.
Acoustic Remedy Featured in the Latest Acoustic Guitar Magazine! April 11 2017, 0 Comments
Get a guitar for Christmas? Now find the perfect home for it! December 25 2016, 0 Comments
If you got a new guitar for Christmas you must have been a good boy or girl this year. But now that you've added a new member to the family its time to take care of it. Our cases are hands down the easiest and best way to maintain the humidity surrounding your guitar.
Whether you just got a new guitar or are thinking about the guitar you already have, put your Christmas Money to good use and protect your precious guitar.
See the special collection here: http://www.acousticremedycases.com/collections/a-few-of-our-favorite-things
Last Minute Gift for Guitar Lovers! December 22 2016, 0 Comments
Are you still looking for a last minute gift for your guitar playing loved one?
Well, we can certainly help with that. Order a case anytime and we can send you a nice picture of the case you purchased. That way you can print it out, put it in a card, and tell you loved one their gift is on the way.
I guarantee your loved one will be thrilled and you will be crowned the best gift giver of Christmas!
Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration (SBAIC) October 04 2016, 0 Comments
The ARC crew saddled up and headed west for our first ever trade show in Santa Barbara, CA this past weekend. Preparing for the show posed some unique logistical challenges, including how to get our precious cargo halfway across the country.
We learned a lot and met some amazing people both attending and displaying their products at SBAIC. We also had the opportunity to meet some of our customers and one dealer who came all the way from Japan. This is something that unfortunately doesn’t happen often enough in the digital marketplace and we cherished this encounter.
The brotherhood and mutual respect amongst the luthiers and music accessory vendors was amazing to witness. Some of the most revered luthiers in the world were present and it was interesting to see how they interacted with one another. They all have nuances that demand others in the craft to step back and take notice at what they do differently in the small world they live in. Their willingness to embrace us with open arms was also very encouraging.
We had the distinct pleasure to get to know Kevin Ryan, owner of Kevin Ryan Guitars and Advanced Shell Technology, and Tom Ribeckke of Ribeckke Guitars a little better than the others at the celebration. They happened to loan us some guitars to display in our cases for the weekend and although the photos below speak for themselves, we have a few thoughts we’d like to share.
The Ribeckke guitar with the sharp contrast of the painted white top and the black of the Wenge case was simply stunning. The new product we are rolling out – the glass sided case – showed the sides of the guitar off perfectly and we had many, many comments about the new design. We now have proof this design will be well received once it’s officially launched. If you are interested in something like what you see, please contact us and we will work with you. We have limited species available, however we can make a glass sided case out of any wood type with minimal wait time.
The Ryan guitar was a standout in that it’s a relatively no frills, elegantly inlayed 000 style instrument. It was a nice piece for us to showcase our ability to house instruments that are smaller bodied. We simply shifted the String Swing to its lower position in the ClimaStand and the guitar was centered perfectly. The yellow colored spruce top was showcased in a Cocobolo case and people were commenting all weekend on how perfectly paired the two were.
Some other shout outs worthy of mentioning are listed below. ARC would like to send a huge thanks to these people and/or companies.
Field + Forge:
An excellent graphic design firm from Minneapolis, MN assisted us with all the marketing material for the trade show under an extremely tight time frame . The professional banner, dealer packet, business cards, and flyers were instrumental in showcasing what we do and how we do it. Future projects with them are already in the works, but in the meantime please check out some of their work below.
Supply Chain Solutions (SCS):
Based in La Crosse, WI, SCS can handle all your shipping needs. They helped pull together the shipping logistics for a 6’ x 6’ x 6’ pallet weighing in at just under 1,000 lbs and got it there on time and undamaged.
New and Repeat Customers:
We put a pin on a map in our workshop for each customer we sell a case to. These locations are either getting a new pin or another on the map.
Littleton, CO - A brown stained Flame Maple and Walnut Combo case was purchased as a birthday present for a new customer who happens to own two Kevin Ryan guitars. An early model will be housed in this case. We have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be ordering another once he sees how well they work in Colorado winters.
Salida, CO - A Walnut Floor Model is going to a newly opened guitar shop. The owners are also luthiers and understand the importance of humidity control. We are pretty certain they will do quite well introducing and recommending our product to their customers. We are excited to see what the future holds working with them.
Newbury Park, CA - A previous customer picked up case number three this weekend. He owned two triangle cherry wall models and opted for a cherry rectangle case to add to the collection.
Riverside, CA – A Purpleheart Floor Model is going to a couple who relocated from Wisconsin to California. In was nice talking with them and we are excited for them to get the case set up.
Vancouver, BC – We had to pleasure of meeting and striking up a friendship with John Larivee from Larivee Guitar Co. What a nice guy who also happens to make some beautiful guitars. He opted for a Cedar Floor Model. In return, we may work out a trade for one of their guitars
Our wives definitely deserve special recognition for the work they put in this weekend. We couldn’t have been happier to have them there helping us through all the chaos. Something we probably don’t convey often enough is that Acoustic Remedy Cases is a family business Ryan and myself have known each other for 17 years – ever since a fateful encounter in college and a mutual love for music.
My dad was key in us developing the product and the cramped quarters of Ryan’s garage. My brother has helped with graphic design. Ryan’s sister helped us prepare for this show with her experience in planning tradeshows for 3M. Ryan’s dad recommended our patent lawyer and has provided us legal advice where applicable. Our wives help more than we can imagine with processing orders, driving back and forth to Amish country, providing customer service, and calming us down when the sky feels like it’s falling.
It’s not always easy for a couple of self taught entrepreneurs, but we get by with help from other family members and that was on full display leading up to and during SBAIC.
The last point I will leave you with is that trade shows have a way of creating or spurring new ideas about how to improve. We have high expectations for the remainder of 2016 and beyond. It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come in the past five years and to vision where we will be in the next five or ten years. We can’t wait to introduce you all to new products and new options for existing products.
This has been one of the best experiences to date for ARC. Thanks to everyone who helped and to those we probably missed mentioning that had a direct or indirect impact on the SBAIC show. We will be taking what we learned at here and hitting the road for more shows in the future.
As I wrap this up from an airplane over the Rocky Mountains, I can’t help but to think where Littleton and Salida are amongst the impressive profile of the terrain below. I get a little sentimental reminiscing about all of the places in this amazing country where our cases have found their way to and the wonderful people we have the pleasure of calling our customers. I have a feeling this list will just continue grow and we hope that your neck of the woods is the next pin on the map.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and see you on the road soon...
Acoustic Remedy Cases on the hit ABC Show Nashville! March 29 2016, 0 Comments
The second half of season four of the TV show Nashville kicked off a few weeks ago and, although I’m not much of a TV guy myself, I was glued to my couch watching every second of it in great detail. Of course the story telling was great and the music was, as always, off the charts, but I wasn’t looking to be entertained by the plot. Instead I was checking out the scenes behind the acting, inspecting the sets, and waiting with baited breath to find the one thing I was really looking for….the Acoustic Remedy Cases ClimaStand.
Right around Christmas last year I received a random call from a phone number in Nashville that went to voicemail. I was in meetings all morning so I didn’t see the call come through, but getting a call from Nashville is a pretty common experience for us. I figured it was a customer calling to order a case or Ellie Warmoth from Artisan Guitars calling with an order for their store. But the message I heard on the other end nearly knocked me off my seat. “Hi Ryan, my name is Kim from the TV show Nashville, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the show, but we found your cases online and would like to use them on a set this upcoming season.” I nearly drove my car off the road when I heard it and immediately called her back.
I did my best to play it cool on the phone trying to pretend like I knew the drill and had been around the block once before but I’m sure she could sense the excitement in my voice. Kim was quite gracious and only asked for one case, but I was worried the case might not be the right color so instead I sent them three. A beautiful African mahogany floor ClimaStand, an African mahogany flamed maple combo floor ClimaStand, and the always coveted and impressive looking Zebrawood floor ClimaStand.
Its kind of funny, after I sent the cases I realized that I’d just shipped $4,350 worth of merchandise to someone I’d never met that told me they worked for the TV show Nashville and wanted to use our product in the show. It dawned on me that anyone with a Nashville phone number could call up a company like mine and get them to ship of whatever amount of product they asked for with the promise of appearing on the show. Adam, my business partner thought we’d been scammed for sure, but I am naïve and trusting so I did my best to chill him out.
In the end our patience and trust paid off. All three ClimaStands appeared in Season 4, Episode 12 entitled “How Does It Feel to Be Free.” In this episode the producers introduce a new character named Riff Bell, a Garth Brooks type that left the music scene at the top of his game in his prime and is poised to make his return to the big time by helping out his old buddy Luke, who’s tour has fallen on hard times and is in need of a new attraction to put people in the seats. We don’t know yet how the tour will end up, but all three of our cases stood dutifully in the corners of Riffs decked out studio while the two fictional giants of country music worked out a deal. It was a thrill to see and we could't be more proud.
If you ever wonder how to get your products on a TV show…apparently they have their people call your people. A sincere thanks to the producers, set designers, and staff at the TV show Nashville. You presented a great opportunity and we really appreciate it.
It's Been Too Long.....We're Sorry! February 13 2016, 0 Comments
When business is good, extended delays in updating your blog seem to happen. We have been crankin' out order after order and have somehow neglected this portion of our website. It's a fine line between too much and too little, but we vow that 2016 will be different. We will inform those who want to know what's going on and keep it real. No promo blasts or tooting our own horn too often. Only the stuff we think you want to hear. With that being said, here is a recap of what's been happening around ARC and some new things on the horizon.
2015 was a great year for ARC. One trend that we continue to see is that customers come back for more. Our repeat customer list grows and grows! It's a testament to the fact that once people see the craftsmanship, quality, and the ease of humidity control with our cases, they want more to protect their collection.
We continued to work with customers who were looking for custom options, which led us into unchartered waters. Zebrawood, Wenge, Purpleheart, Sycamore, and African Paduak were all on the menu. We rolled out a 3-Wood Combo case (African Paduak, Flamed Maple, and Walnut) and it led to trying the same thing with Flamed Maple, Purpleheart and Walnut. You can check out the case we sold here and if you are interested in the one we have in stock now, please reach out to us. There are pictures of both below.
We've loved working with these new woods and look forward to more in the future. The results were simply spectacular!
Walnut Rectangle Cases
Flame Maple/African Paduak/Walnut
Santa Cruz Guitar Company
We continued to build our relationship with Santa Cruz Guitar Co (SCGC) and could not be any happier to associate with such a fantastic company. We cannot say enough about how amazing these people are! They have opened their arms and embraced us as a partner and we can truly say that we are humbled by this experience. They have shown us how things should work in the industry - provide what the customer wants, give them options to customize, and provide excellent customer service. If you ever are looking for a new acoustic guitar and want the very best, look no further than SCGC. And then of course, protect and display with ARC :)
Here's a link to their website and an offer that never expires!
Guitar Salon International (GSI)
GSI is the industry leader in premium classical and acoustic guitars. Located in Santa Monica, California, GSI has been another great partnership for ARC. We've been honored to provide their customers with a reliable and proven method to protect and display their guitars. In all honesty, they have really pushed the envelope for how guitar shops recommend our product and get it in front of people. When they purchase a guitar, the next question is "how are you going to keep it humidified properly?" Answer - by using D'Addario Two-Way Humidity Control paired with an Acoustic Remedy Cases ClimaStand. This shop is top notch and we recommend them to handle your needs!
Dave's Guitar Shop
Our hometown hero! It still amazes us that in small town USA there exists a guitar shop of this stature and magnitude. We have worked with them since our inception and will continue to have representation in their store and availability through their website. We worked with customers on custom projects and sold our standard offering through Dave's for the last five years. If you haven't checked them out, do it now! First class all the way.
The decision has been made to attend trade shows this year. We've been talking about it for too long and now it's time to just do it. The cream of the crop is NAMM, which is held annually in January in Anaheim, CA. We will be there in 2017. Mark our words on that! It's arguably the biggest and best conglomeration in the music industry.
We will also be picking one or two other trade shows to attend and are soliciting recommendations from you. If there's one you attend annually and think we'd be a good fit, please let us know! This should help us to get more representation in guitar stores and perhaps we could land in a guitar shop in your city.
Working With Industry Pros
The list is short, but we will grow it. We had the honor of working with Pat Metheny and in short order we are planning on adding Jack Johnson to the list. It's amazing how you meet people who can put your product in front of these people. Once it's in front of them, they love it. It's all about exposure and getting industry pros to realize that a ClimaStand is something they never knew they needed. If anyone out there knows of any artists who might be interested in our products, whether they know them first hand or through the grapevine, please let us know!
Here's a picture of Pat's studio in New York City with a Wes Montgomery Gibson L5 guitar that was given to him by George Benson.
We've been working on some new products. Wood guitar picks and pedal boards are some of the guitar accessories that we've brought to the market. There's been a good vibe on these and we will continue to develop new varieties for our customers. What's nice about the picks in particular is that we use the left over wood from building the cases to make picks. It drives our sustainability and the by-product is that we can give folks a different way to strum their guitars! They've been a hit for a present to guitar players and with people looking for a different tone.
Here's a link to what we currently offer and the new dual wood picks we just had made. The new offerings include Walnut w/ Maple, Maple w/ Walnut, Maple w/ Mahogany, Maple w/ Paduak, Maple w/ Purplehear.
Thanks for taking the time to read this new blog and we promise to keep at this going forward. Please reach out to us if there's anything you need for humidity control, accessories, or other guitar stores you think would be a good fit for our product.
~ the ARC gang
Europe and Beyond... December 16 2014, 0 Comments
We've had the honor of having customers in several other countries other than the good ole US of A. To date we have cases in four Canadian provinces, Sweden, Norway, England, Singapore, and Australia. Our latest country we've added to the list is Japan.
Sometime around the middle of last summer I received a phone call from a man named Mr. Takeshi (aka Kesh) and we chatted for around 1/2 hour about several interesting things in the guitar world, which is of course vast and extremely interesting. We discussed some of the people we had the pleasure of knowing in the business, including some folks at Elderly Instruments and Richard Hoover from Santa Cruz Guitar Company. It was a great conversation and then we got to discussing our cases and how he saw a good fit for them in Japan. One thing I didn't really consider was that Japan experienced some of the same fluctuations in temperature as we do in the upper midwest - bone dry winters and humid summers. And another thing that hadn't really crossed my radar was that there are a lot of collectors of high end instruments in Japan, many of which are customers of Kesh and the two guitar stores he works closely with.
Blu-G Guitar Shop and Hobo's Guitars (www.blue-g.com and www.hobos-g.com) are selling some of the highest end instruments in the far East. I don't understand the Japanese language at all, but I still enjoy looking their websites and marveling at the rare and unique guitars they are selling.
We couldn't be happier to be affiliated with the upper echelon of guitar shops in Japan and working with some of the nicest people in the industry. We've sent a grand total of eight cases so far to them, some of which were featured in a guitar show in Osaka (photos below) and others which are now in the homes of some Japanese folks who've trusted our cases to display and protect their fine instruments. We couldn't be prouder to know that somewhere over 6,000 miles from the Amish workshop they are made in, our cases are integrated into the everyday life of people we will never meet and who live vastly different lifestyles. The common thread is that people all across the globe love music and can appreciate handmade, quality made items. It's somewhat mind blowing and certainly was the farthest thing from our mind when we started this company! Thanks to Kesh and both these fine shops!!
Hope you enjoy reading this blog and if you happen to live in another country that you think our cases would fit into a shop near you, please let them know about Acoustic Remedy Cases. And if you ever find yourself in Japan and want to check out some guitar shops, please stop at either Blue-G or Hobos and tell them how you heard about them and send us a picture with one of our cases in their store(s). We will gladly post it in our gallery.
An Evening with The Band Perry August 16 2014, 0 Comments
Ryan and his wife Lynn with The Band Perry
About a year ago I reached out to Larry Klenc of McPherson Guitars. McPherson is right down the road from us in Sparta, WI and I'd spoken with Larry, their general manager, on a few occasions. He'd been a good source of advice and insight into the industry for us and always seemed genuinely interested in our success. On this occasion he suggested we might find some success connecting with some key folks within the Music Industry in Nashville and gave us the contact information for Kenny Barnwell, the long time guitar tech for The Band Perry, an act that is literally exploding in popularity all over the world.
It turns out Kenny is much more then a guitar tech, first and foremost he is one of the most genuinely nice guys I've met in a long time, but on top that he is a very well connected guy throughout the industry, a promoter of great products, and a social media wiz. Kenny immediately dissolved many of my preconceived notions of what a well connected music industry person would be like. The fist time I spoke with Kenny I could tell he was a real nice guy, he listened to my pitch and seemed very interested in not only our product, but our success. We quickly put a case in Kenny's hands and he'd been an advocate for us ever since. He's helped us strengthen our connection with McPherson and has opened a connection through him to The Band Perry. Last weekend The Band Perry headlined Country on the River in Prairie du Chien, WI and Kenny invited us down to meet the band and show us around back stage....what a treat!
Here are a couple photos from the night....
Lynn showing off the passes before we head back stage.
Ryan and Kenny back stage
Lynn and Ryan get photobombed by the guitarist for Kix Brook (Brooks and Dunn).
Kimberly Perry's amazing McPherson Guitar!
Shipping - How We've Nearly Eliminated Breakage April 17 2014, 0 Comments
Breakage is something we strive to eliminate at all costs, but unfortunately it's inevitable that we do have a small number of things break in transit. We are just as disappointed as our customers when it happens, but how we deal with it is another testament to our top notch customer service. First let's take a look at some shipping history...way back to the beginning of Acoustic Remedy. Then we will discuss how we have less than a 1% breakage rate year after year.
OUR SHIPPING WOES:
When we started this company, Ryan and I were making each and every case in our workshop. We then moved onto the daunting task of how to package up the cases that took us WAY too long to build, knowing all along that we might receive that call/email from the customer stating it had broke and all our efforts were for naught. We used high density polyethylene styrofoam and cut each piece on the table saw to the exact dimensions needed for the box. This was yet another labor intensive process that left us looking like 80 year old men from all the styrofoam 'dust' that was produced. Once we got the styrofoam into the box we would carefully place the case in, seal it up, and send it via UPS. After several disappointed customers received a cracked door, or in the worst case we ever saw the entire side piece was broke, we decided it was time for a change.
HOW WE ADAPTED AND OVERCAME:
Our solutions came in a three pronged approach: new foam packaging material, new boxes, and a new shipping company. Without one of these links, we wouldn't have progressed to our current shipping/handling system that seems to be working almost flawlessly.
New Foam - We contacted a foam fabricator in Minnesota that specialized in creating custom packaging solutions for a wide range of companies. A sales rep took the time to drive to our workshop, take some measurements, and come up with a sample. After his years of experience in the industry, he suggested a method that's used by a fireplace manufacturer he services. And quite frankly I see it pop up all the time now that I'm looking for it - TVs, electronics, glass products, etc. The idea is that if you float the fragile item inside the box by using two end caps, the breakage rate drops drastically. On top of that, he introduced a new type of foam called polystyrene, which is squishy instead of the more rigid type we were using. His estimate was that if we switched to the new end caps, we would see our rate of about 1 in 10 having some breakage to below 1%!! That's a ten-fold decrease in issues and we are happy to report he was 100% correct. Here's a picture of what the end caps look like and also a packaged case ready for delivery.
New Boxes - At the same time we were discovering the new foam end caps, we needed to reevaluate our boxes. Each box is rated for a edge crush strength and ranges drastically. Since the end caps required a longer box, we decided it was time to up the ante and get the strongest boxes we could find. We enlisted the help of a corrugated box manufacturer who was able to provide a 375 pound edge crush strength box with the correct lengths/widths/heights. These boxes certainly hold up the rigors of shipping and have successfully provided the next layer of protection for our cases during transit to our customers.
New Shipping Company - Another interesting shift we made was to move from using UPS to FedEx and the results have been remarkable. When we started with UPS we were told that our cases needed to 'survive' a six foot fall from a conveyor belt and needed to be surrounded by 2" of foam on every interior surface. So we said to hell with that and switched over to FedEx. They have shown have a different philosophy on business and treat each package with the respect it deserves. We know our driver by name and he even comes directly to our shop to pick up the cases. First class customer service!
With these three major developments we are happy to report that last year we had only two doors break on a customer's case and that's because it was a custom size which required alterations to our foam packaging and this compromised the strength/protection. We have shipped these cases to all corners of the USA and internationally as well, so it's a great testament to how things have progressed.
HOW WE PROVIDE SOLUTIONS IF PROBLEMS ARISE:
Here's the information that brings it full circle. If you have something break in transit we replace the item free of charge, no questions asked! It's what we would expect if we ordered an expensive item and it's what we provide to our customers. Nine times out of ten we have the exact case in stock and can send a replacement immediately....however, occasionally we may need to have a replacement built. Either way, we effectively communicate with our customers so they're not left wondering what the timeline is or if they are stuck with a damaged item.
Things break and that's the unfortunate reality, but how it's dealt with is the true test of how a company treats its customers. We hope you found this blog post informative and reassuring that Acoustic Remedy Cases is a customer focused small business in every possible way. It's a philosophy we stand behind and can hopefully demonstrate to new customers or reaffirm with existing ones over the course of this year and many years to come.
Feel free to comment on your shipping experience with Acoustic Remedy Cases or ask any questions.
Santa Cruz Guitar Company Tour February 18 2014, 0 Comments
We recently flew out to Santa Cruz, California to take a tour of their workshop and have a meeting with Richard Hoover - founder of this amazing company - and Carolyn Sills who is working one-on-one with us to market our cases to their customers. We are all in agreement that their customers, who are purchasing quite expensive guitars, will be interested in a solution to humidity control that's essential to keeping their guitar sounding as good as the day it left their shop. Of course there's a reason why their guitars aren't cheap - because as Richard Hoover said "we produce the same amount of guitars, around 600 per year, that the major manufacturers like Taylor and Martin produce in a day and a half." So you are paying for the handmade quality, expertise (over 100 years of combined luthier experience), and the artistry that goes into each guitar. They procure the top 1% of all tonewoods and employ techniques of master violin makers to voice and tune by hand. They are able to manipulate the dimensions of the top and the bracing on each and every guitar to create consistent harmony, sustain, and sophistication of complex tone.
What they do is nothing short of amazing and the sound of their guitars really tell the story. We have a Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner which is built to mimic the true vintage sound of pre-war Martin and Gibson acoustics. It's a dream to play and now we know why. It was a pleasure to tour their workshop, visit the beautiful city they call home, and meet one of the finest luthiers in the world. Below you will find some pictures from our visit and a link to a Flickr gallery which contains more images. In the near future you will see our affiliation with SCGC come to fruition as we embark on this awesome adventure.
CITY OF SANTA CRUZ/COASTLINE
Top to Bottom: Sea lions frequent the Santa Cruz Wharf on the way to breeding grounds in the Baja Peninsula and Mexico // Santa Cruz coastline along West Cliff Drive // Ryan with representing his Acoustic Remedy shirt
SANTA CRUZ GUITAR COMPANY SHOP TOUR
Richard Hooover discusses East Indian rosewood, fingerboards, and the humidity level in the workshop to maintain stability in the instruments
Special sanding device once the top and back are joined to the sides
Richard Hoover discussing tap tuning and the need for old wood to get the best sound out of the guitar
Bracing - another very important factor in the tone and resonance of the guitar
Gluing the top and back to the sides
Ryan standing by a rack of nearly finished guitars and their ping pong ball system which keeps everything on the same build schedule - it's ingenious but difficult to describe - just trust us that it works!
SIR ERIC CLAPTONS GUITAR - need we say anymore?? Back at SCGC for a restoration after being left on a tarmac and nearly ruined by those wonderful airline employees. Notice the carved back, which is a custom feature he ordered. We got to lay hands on this beauty!
Closeup of Californian Sycamore wood grain
Obligatory picture of us with Richard
In recap of this amazing experience, we must say we are humbled to be affiliated with such a prestigious company and the knowledge that resides within those walls is incredible. If you ever have a chance to tour their workshop, JUST DO IT! Not only are they amazing craftsmen, but also downright amazing people. We could've sat and talked for hours about everything that Richard has done in his 40 year career, but we had to head back to snowy, cold, and drab Wisconsin. We will be back though...hopefully sooner rather than later.
If you would like to check out more photos from our visit to Santa Cruz, please click the following link which will bring you to a Flickr slideshow.
Learn More About Our Amish Manufacturers January 16 2014, 0 Comments
OUR AMISH CONNECTION
Our cases can be made by anyone with advanced carpentry skills. In the past, we contracted with several local cabinet shops and still have some cases in our inventory that were made by these businesses. We have them labeled as “2nd Quality” because they can’t touch the Amish craftsmanship. We simply don’t sell them to our customers because they aren’t even close to the same level as what our builder now does. We have been asked more than a few times, why keep using local carpenters and not get into mass production of your cases? Why not use plywood laminates? Why not substitute handmade quality for computer navigated cutting (CNC) machines?
It’s a simple answer: the Amish produce handmade, heirloom quality cases and take tremendous pride in their work. There are some similarities to the guitar business – Taylor and Paul Reed Smith make no bones about certain components being mass-produced. They have perfected the ability to make each and every neck within 1/100” of the last one. Their customers know what to expect when they pick up their guitars and some people desire that comfort level. I have nothing against either of these companies and in fact own a Taylor myself (and definitely want a PRS soon!), but sometimes a small boutique feel is better. A contrasting style would be how Santa Cruz Guitar Company, Froggy Bottom, and several small shop luthiers approach their craft….the old-fashioned way, one at a time, creating a deep connection between the maker and the instrument.
Our take on the situation is that Acoustic Remedy Cases will remain handmade in small batches and the product will reflect the passion, patience, and quality of the Amish. The more I learn about the Amish and their unmistaken first-class woodworking abilities, the more I marvel at their deep understanding of the woods they use, their wisdom passed down over many generations, their unique tools, and their creative intuition that often leaves me speechless. They are utilizing age-old processes and techniques that involve a hands-on approach to their work. It’s also an understanding of how to work in harmony with the different attributes of woods. All of this is a lost art in the age of computerized manufacturing and the fast paced world we live in.
Often times we are asked how we met the Amish. Well…..it all starts with the owner of String Swing, Paul Thieman. We met Paul in 2010 at Larry Fest - a bluegrass festival in the coulees of Western Wisconsin. We had a small tent displaying some of the earliest cases ever produced by Acoustic Remedy Cases. These cases were made in a small woodworking shop in Ryan’s garage. With the help of my dad (who is a lifelong carpenter at the University of Wisconsin), both Ryan and I spent countless hours that summer creating the first cases made out of locally sourced birch lumber.
Paul happens to be a very successful businessman who basically started creating his String Swing instrument holders in his basement (www.stringswing.com). He now owns a couple manufacturing facilities in Ontario, Wisconsin where the company produces about 300,000 String Swings per year and consistently has marquee, megastar artists who use and endorse their products. He had some questions for us when we first met and some extremely simple advice - you guys should be selling these and not making them. Following our initial brief meeting, we kept in contact and eventually met up for lunch. He provided us with more good pointers, some key contacts in the industry, and asked us a question that turned our business on its head and helped us to succeed. He asked us if we wanted to meet an Amish carpenter that he subcontracts, to which we emphatically said “YES!”
The wise, friendly and witty man was named Joseph Kempf. He makes the small wood blocks that are used with the most popular version of the String Swing. He created a machine that is 100% mechanical (no electricity) that sands all four sides of the blocks, drills two holes, and kicks them out the other end. It takes some creative engineering and countless hours to build a machine like this. In fact, he was told by a metal fabricator that the machine couldn’t be built….it was impossible. So he set out to prove them wrong and built a prototype completely out of wood. He then brought it to the metal fabricator and showed them it was possible to make. He immediately commissioned them to make the entire machine out of metal by using his prototype. Here are a couple pictures during a recent visit to his workshop.
We showed Joseph a drawing of our cases and asked him if he was interested in making them for us. He looked it over and decided that he was too busy, but said that his son Enos was looking for work. We gave Joseph our phone number and Enos called us the next week. A few weeks later, we brought out some prototypes to Enos. He made some measurements and produced the first Amish built ClimaStand in 2011. We were very pleased with the results and immediately placed an order of 10 cases. Ever since the first batch, we have used Enos as our primary manufacturer and our product has improved by leaps and bounds. Fine cabinetry skills are utilized in every faction of the cases, from the intricate joint work to the precise measurements and cuts. Every case is handcrafted artistry. We are consistently tweaking and redesigning features and components to always push the product to higher levels. His input has been essential for us to bring the world’s best display case to our customers. Sometimes we have hour-long brainstorming sessions in his workshop that inspire new ideas or concepts. Our ability to work with Enos has proved to be the best thing that ever happened to ARC to date.
We have the honor of saying that he’s our friend and have developed a great relationship with him. We been invited into his house, shared meals with him and his family, and learned some of the old German dialect and about their culture. We have purchased produce and livestock from him and delighted in some of the best apple pie and cinnamon rolls this world has to offer. Enos also happened to introduce us to the finisher we have used on every case – who is undoubtedly the other half of the Amish connection. Reuben Miller is an absolute wizard when it comes to applying a consistently perfect finish and how he accomplishes it is quite cool indeed. A hydraulic system uses a series of weights to pressurize a small tank to the correct PSI necessary for spraying the finish. No air compressor in his shop!!
It’s been quite the experience meeting the Amish and developing a business and personal relationship with them. Something that both Ryan and I will not ever forget! But to top it all off, our cases have become an example of the unbelievable craftsmanship and attention to detail that Amish woodworkers are renowned for.
Cases of all different sizes! October 21 2013, 0 Comments
We're often asked if we can make cases for instruments other than guitars and the answer is YES, we've made cases for mando's, ukes, violins, and even cello's. We actually have a stack of mandolin/uke cases in the shop that are getting ready to be photographed and rolled out as a product line. So far our bread and butter has been guitar cases so that is where most of our energy has been focused but as we grow we intend to add more product lines. It takes a bit more time and effort than you would think to photograph a new line and get it up on the site, so if you have an instrument that you want a case for that doesn't fit into a guitar case let us know and we will make it for you...or we might already have some in stock but are just working on getting them up on the site.
Ryan and Adam
New Wood Types Available Soon! September 20 2013, 0 Comments
We are in the process of adding some new woods to our product line. We will be introducing our Oak Suite which includes: Red Oak, 1/4 Sawn Red Oak, White Oak, and 1/4 Sawn White Oak. We don't plan on keeping too many in stock, so these may incur a slightly longer delivery time because we will have them made at the time of order. Depending on the number of orders we get in, we will re-evaluate and consider keeping a few of each in inventory at all times.
Since oak is such a common wood in a majority of homes, we decided adding these woods will allow people to closely match their interior cabinetry and other furniture. Hopefully people find this new option useful!
Also, another new wood we are trying out is reclaimed barn wood. Our Amish builder has access to lumber from several barns in western Wisconsin and we decided to try it out for a case. This will offer a shabby chic feel and will complement rustic interiors such as cabins, log homes, etc. We think it's going to look pretty awesome and are in the process of building the first one, so we will see how it turns out in the next few weeks.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other woods you would like for us to try out. We are always looking for more reasons to build!
~ Cheers, the ARC Team
New Design, Same Great Features August 09 2013, 0 Comments
We were recently contacted by a customer who wanted a rectangle case. This was something we had considered in the past, but hadn't really jumped into new designs since we launched our company. So we took a little drive out to Amish country and hashed out a proper size, discussed any challenges such as more weight on the hinge due to larger glass, and came up with a game plan. After seeing the results....we couldn't be happier and we are excited to hear people's reactions!
This process has resulted into a new product line for us and we are in the process of adding it to our website. These will be available for purchase around mid August, but in the meantime we can certainly talk through any order you would like to place and make it happen. Just visit our Contact Page and enter in the first line of the message "Rectangle Case" or give us a call.
For the time being, we only have photos of the Ribboned African Mahogany, however we are able to offer these cases in any wood type that is offered in our trapezoid shaped cases. They be available ONLY as wall mounted units. Stay tuned and here's a couple pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Monthly Contest - Until Further Notice July 02 2013, 0 Comments
We admit it....we haven't been the best at updating what the monthly drawing entails. This is equal parts being really busy and slacking on it. In the past we have seen a great response from the monthly winners taking advantage of discounts offered, but for some reason lately we haven't had to many orders come in based on the winners we have chosen. Either way the contest shall go on!
From this point forward the contest will remain the same. Each month, we will choose one lucky person who will receive 20% off any case of their choice and two people will receive 10% off. If your name is chosen, then this is a great opportunity to save some cash on our great cases!
Keep checking back as we plan to ramp up the News section of our website. We will commit to posting interesting material related to all things guitar, provide some exclusive sales / promotions, and of course the new happenings around Acoustic Remedy Cases.
Thanks to everyone who has signed up for our email and entered our contest. We are glad to see so many people interested in our cases and look forward to releasing the next Newsletter in the next couple weeks. Please add email@example.com to your contact list so it doesn't get flagged as spam.
Cheers ~ ARC
Best Fathers Day Gift Ever! June 03 2013, 0 Comments
Are you looking for a creative and thoughtful father's day gift? Something that tells good old dad that after all of the years he spent running all over town helping you pursue your interests that you would like to help him pursue one of his favorite hobbies? Well if this is what you are looking for then the ClimaStand is your best bet!
We've received great reviews from Vintage Guitar Magazine, Luthiers Review, and all of the faithful customers that keep coming back for more cases as they add guitars to their collection. There is no doubt in my mind that your father will be giddy with excitement when he opens up his very own ClimaStand. So if your old man happens to love his guitar, show him how much you love him by helping him protect and showcase his pride and joy!
Check out our selection of ClimaStands here:
Vintage Guitar Magazine Review May 14 2013, 0 Comments
Acoustic Remedy Cases has been reviewed in the July cover of Vintage Guitar Magazine! This is such a great honor and an incredible opportunity. Check out the article to learn a few things about the CimaStand
January / February Contest March 06 2013, 0 Comments
We have been busy lately with a great start to the year and a visit to the 2013 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. We haven't chosen a winner since December, so we are choosing a winner for January and February to get caught up. The prizes are listed below for the respective months.
January Prize - 20% Off Any ClimaStand
February Prize - 15% Off Any ClimaStand & Free Two Year Supply of Humidipaks
A Big Thanks to Taylor Guitars February 12 2013, 0 Comments
We are big fans of Taylor Guitars, in fact both founders of Acoustic Remedy Cases have just recently become the beneficiaries of Taylor's generosity and kindness and have taken delivery of two new Taylor guitars (visit our website www.acousticremedycases.com to see them in our product shots). It's been amazing listening to what comes out of these guitars -- something to behold for sure. If you are familiar with Taylor, then you are also aware of their near obsession with humidity. It is estimated by Bob Taylor, founder and president of Taylor Guitars, that around 70% of the instruments that come back for warranty repair are for damages could have been avoided if the guitar was stored in an environment with the proper relative humidity!
Canadians Welcome! October 30 2012, 0 Comments
I recently learned that our website was having trouble processing orders from our friends north of the border. I think we have it fixed now and you should be able to process an order online. You may also process an order by calling us at 651-341-9955 and we will take care of it over the phone.
On that note, we are willing to ship cases almost anywhere, just give us a call and we will put together a plan.
Thanks for your interest, we look forward to hearing from you!
October Monthly Drawing October 10 2012, 0 Comments
Well our September drawing was a great success so we are going to do it again. This time we are going to switch it up a bit and change the reward. If you are chosen as the October winner you will get a free upgrade to our high end cases. That means you can get a Flamed Maple, African Mahogany, or combo case for the price of Cherry or Walnut. That is a savings of over $350! You don't want to miss out on this opportunity so sign up for our mailing list today.
Why Acoustic Remedy Cases? September 28 2012, 0 Comments
Why Acoustic Remedy Cases ?
September Monthly Drawing September 25 2012, 0 Comments
If you join our mailing list you will be entered into a drawing for 20% off a ClimaStand of your choice! Not only that but we will also pay for your shipping! Don't miss out on this great opportunity, sign up for the contest today and get a great discount on a humidified display case. We will announce the September winner on October 1st so sign up today.
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