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.
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
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.
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