We recently had the pleasure of making a custom OM cutaway for guitar phenomenon Gretchen Menn. Gretchen is a rare breed, a classically trained acoustic player and bad ass electric guitar shredder. Which is why it makes perfect sense that in addition to her original solo project and duo project with Jude Gold, Lap Dance Armageddon, she fronts Zepparella, the all female tribute to Led Zeppelin, doing incredible justice to Jimmy Page. For her acoustic, Gretchen was very specific about the playability she needed on her custom Santa Cruz. She was kind enough to write up her experience for us below:

“My custom Santa Cruz OM is quite simply a phenomenal instrument—a work of art on all levels, and the kind of guitar that inspires me to become worthy of it.  SCGC involved me throughout the process of building the guitar, always double-checking to make sure they got it right.  And they got it right beyond what I could have expected.  Most importantly, the instrument sounds amazing.  The tone and resonance are gorgeous.  Additionally, the custom carved neck is a home run—it plays and feels the way I had hoped.  And the custom finish, a deep red, is stunning.

I had heard about Santa Cruz Guitars for years, but they hit my radar profoundly when I began a serious search for a great instrument for my acoustic duo, Lapdance Armageddon.  We had just played a few great shows, opening a show for Adrian Belew and two shows for Steve Morse Band, and I was overdue to find my permanent steel string.  I took a spontaneous poll of my musician friends, and received dozens of eager responses and strong opinions.  It was indicative, given how many people responded, that a few companies kept coming up.  The one that was at the top of the list of virtually all of my most trusted musical advisors was Santa Cruz Guitar Company.  I called my bandmate and guitar mentor, Jude Gold, who confirmed the rave reviews and put me in touch with Richard Hoover.  So I made a trip to Santa Cruz to visit.

Richard Hoover showed me around the factory, explaining everything from how they source and select woods, to various options for bracing and custom neck carving.  His enthusiasm was infectious, and the people I met there were quick to explain their role in the process, and seemed genuinely connected with music and the art of building great instruments.  Most of them were guitar players, themselves.  I had the sense that the current incarnation of SCGC was an organic outgrowth of Richard Hoover’s garage, expanded and upgraded over the years.  It seemed small and very intimate, yet also very carefully dialed in.  I loved that people there knew exactly which guitars were being produced at that time, as well as remembered little details of past instruments they had built.

It’s really a wonderful thing to be able to work with a company that I love on all levels.  The people there are fun, positive, and seemingly easy-going, yet clearly serious about what they do and deeply committed to quality.   Though perhaps nebulous, it seems that anything built with focus and a love for the process will exhibit an attention to detail that contributes to significantly greater quality.

And so it is with SCGC.” – Gretchen Menn

Santa Cruz Guitar Company