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5 days ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

A wonderful new episode of the Santa Cruz Coffee Break, presented by the SCGC Player’s Forum, featuring the one and only Happy Traum! Thank you Richard Newman, Tad Laird and of course dear Happy for the truly inspiring conversation. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Loved seeing this photo of our dear pal, Dana Bourgeois, sporting his Richard Hoover button when he hosted our mutual dealer Northern Lights Music at his shop last week. Sending our best to all the good folks at Bourgeois Guitars! ... See MoreSee Less

Loved seeing this photo of our dear pal, Dana Bourgeois, sporting his Richard Hoover button when he hosted our mutual dealer Northern Lights Music at his shop last week. Sending our best to all the good folks at Bourgeois Guitars!

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I bought my Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner from Northern Lights! Great folks!

1 month ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Presenting the premier of Andrew McConathy’s new song ‘Beat Up, Beat Down and Broken,’ written in tribute to a dear friend he lost just hours after sharing a cup of coffee. “We held a service for him in the middle of a snowstorm on top of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and then a few weeks later an ash scattering ceremony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in California. During the ash scattering ceremony, a man that I had never met spoke, and his words really struck a chord inside of me. ‘We are all broken,’ he said. ‘But we all still shine.’ I wrote ‘Beat Up, Beat Down and Broken’ the day I got home.”

Check out Andrew McConathy & The Drunken Hearts new album for 2021, ‘Alive ‘n Free,’ featuring Andrew’s trusty DPW Model. #santacruzguitars #mysantacruzguitar
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1 month ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

An original composition by the talented Friedrich Karl Otto Herrmann of South Africa, performed in DADGAD tuning, on a custom Mahogany/Adirondack F Model sold by Guitar Gallery. #mysantacruzguitar #santacruzguitars ... See MoreSee Less

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I’m lucky to be a friend of Fred and the owner of that guitar! Santa Cruz guitars are exquisite! It was a dream come true having commissioned this build. ♥️

So beautiful!! I really really want a copy of all your stuff please Fredo!! I’ll have to make a trip to SA to come fetch it and see you in person and meet your beautiful wife!! 🌟😁

That sounds beautiful!!! The playing is luscious.

I've been following Friedrich for years and he is truly a gifted guitarist and vocalist. He has brought me many hours of joy listening to his songs.

I have no words.... only content....thanks Liz says she wants your album.... please. !!!!!

I have the standard F model. I knew I had to have it the moment I listened to that sound. Beautiful!

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1 month ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

For those who were curious to hear that all Figured Walnut OOO we recently shipped to Eddie's Guitars, here’s Matthew Chulka with another wonderful demo. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

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Love everything about the guitar but the goofy inlays on the fretboard...

Always such beautiful instruments. Just to high of a price tag for this guy.

wow!!!!

2 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Today at 2 pm PST / 5pm EST, Richard and Catfish Keith will join Peghead Nation’s Teja Gerken for a live discussion about Santa Cruz Guitars, Catfish’s signature model, and much more. The event will be hosted on the Peghead Nation Facebook page.

World-renowned blues guitarist, songwriter, and singer Catfish Keith mines American roots music and Delta blues to conjure his own unique, captivating style that has garnered multiple Grammy Award nominations and an international audience. In 2018, Catfish collaborated with Santa Cruz Guitar Company founder Richard Hoover to create his signature model guitar, the beautiful Santa Cruz Catfish Special, an all-mahogany custom 1929 O model.
... See MoreSee Less

Today at 2 pm PST / 5pm EST, Richard and Catfish Keith will join Peghead Nation’s Teja Gerken for a live discussion about Santa Cruz Guitars, Catfish’s signature model, and much more.  The event will be hosted on the Peghead Nation Facebook page.

World-renowned blues guitarist, songwriter, and singer Catfish Keith mines American roots music and Delta blues to conjure his own unique, captivating style that has garnered multiple Grammy Award nominations and an international audience. In 2018, Catfish collaborated with Santa Cruz Guitar Company founder Richard Hoover to create his signature model guitar, the beautiful Santa Cruz Catfish Special, an all-mahogany custom 1929 O model.

2 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Scott Law Music performing Steve Winwood's 'Can't Find My Way Home' on his custom Santa Cruz Baritone. ... See MoreSee Less

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Very lush guitar sound; great playing and singing.

2 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

We invite you to join Richard Hoover on a private shop tour that was presented at the 2021 virtual NAMM show. Big thanks to the wonderful crew of The Local Pickup for taking the time to visit and put this shop talk together. ... See MoreSee Less

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Thank you so very much for sharing this, I truly learned a lot regarding your company’s philosophy and also how the builders can “tune” the guitar to the players tonal needs. I appreciate your humility in sharing your knowledge as so many think knowledge is power so they have to keep all the power they can. Have always loved your product, have never played one of your instruments, but someday, I will I’m sure.

Thanks to Richard and all at Santa Cruz Guitars for the amazing instruments you build

It's always a sunny day listening to Richard talk about his passion. We that are fortunate enough to know Richard and get to order a guitar built for us knows that love and passion for art in infused into everything they do. I love playing my SCGC guitar. Honestly, I think it makes me a better player. Maybe because it inspires me to play more and often. Thanks to everyone at SCGC for all you do.

So wonderful. Just wonderful. Richard's love, experience, and knowledge with woods, with guitarmaking as art and an expression of musical beauty comes through so clearly.

Richard Hoover Is so passionate about instrument building and it’s history, you just gotta love him to pieces... such a great company Santa Cruz guitars...🎶♥️🙏

That was wonderful.Richard is such a gentleman with everyone he meets.Its a while since our visit there but I remember it still ⭐️👏

This video was fascinating. I've heard SCG's and they are amazing!

Fascinating rundown of the differences in trees and how to shape the tone.

Richard is the best, a wonderful person. i love my D/PW.

Thank you Richard, you are the Best, i still love my 000, hope to see you again

Awesome video! Cheers!

Hoover il miglior liutaio che lavora con il cuore .

Such a nice and genuine person he is!

Alec Kersenboom

Brilliant

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2 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

We invite you to learn more about our custom shop ordering process from the people who know it best, our dealers. For a complete list of our exclusive dealer network, please visit www.santacruzguitar.com, and thank you for your support of independent guitar shops in your community. ... See MoreSee Less

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It was an absolute pleasure to work with Caroline and the Santa Cruz family, along with Paul at Tobias Music, to make my dream come true with my custom OM Grand. It is beyond belief in every way. I still, sometimes, just sit and stare at how beautiful it is.

My custom old growth mahogany 12 fret 000 that I took deliver of last year exceeds my expectations every time I pick it up!!! What a special experience it was.

Bought my Brazilian Dread Cutaway with a Sitka top back in 1982. It was a special order hand crafted by Bruce Ross and Richard Hoover. Darn thing almost cost me $2,000.

I have had my FS with a cedar top for over 15 years, and love it to death. It makes me sound 10 times better than I really am. Absolutely impeccable workmanship and fantastic sound.

Santa Cruz guitars are flawless built master pieces that posses amazing seductive tone - my hat is off to their impeccably built guitars - my favorite acoustic guitar - Larry - Wysocki Custom Guitars

Really True 👏👏👏

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3 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Alas, it sure doesn’t feel like January without heading down to Anaheim this week, although NAMM is doing a wonderful job with their virtual ‘Believe in Music’ event.
We do miss seeing all our friends and family in the industry, and getting many of our SCGC signature artists and ambassadors together under one roof. Here are some shots from years past, we appreciate and miss you all! #santacruzguitars #namm
... See MoreSee Less

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I’m honored to be associated with this wonderful company and all these talented players.

Missing you, Richard and company, and the great lineup you bring in every year!

3 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

The unflappable Richard Hoover using a metal detector to check for nails and bullets in some giant Sequoia Redwood that was salvaged from a dam in the Sierras, built in 1911... and when you have chance to include your finish department manager, Michael Hinze, and his Honda Shadow in a photograph with Richard and a metal detector, you take it. ... See MoreSee Less

The unflappable Richard Hoover using a metal detector to check for nails and bullets in some giant Sequoia Redwood that was salvaged from a dam in the Sierras, built in 1911... and when you have chance to include your finish department manager, Michael Hinze, and his Honda Shadow in a photograph with Richard and a metal detector, you take it.

Comment on Facebook

"How did the Redwood turn out ?" Just to get a tad anal ( 😉 ), this is Sequoiadendron giganteum (let's call it Sequoia), and not Sequoia sempervirens (let's call it Redwood)... The coastal Redwood is still somewhat available for guitar tops, although it's hard to find the really good stuff... They say that only 4% of the original old-growth stands are still standing, but they've been saying that since i was a kid...sigh. The Sequoia is the species that grows near Yosemite, and that's what we have here...(right Santa Cruz Guitar??)... I spent a *lot* of time trying to find Sequoia guitar tops when i was taking care of my folks near Fresno, and struck out miseribly... I was looking for old beams, barns, water tanks, and stuff like what we have here...it is basically unobtainium...as it should be... Fresh windfalls--even on private land--are protected and valued...again, as it should be. I recently found some Sequoia that will make guitar tops, and they will wind up at SCGC... The wood is very tight grained (40 grains-per-inch or so), softer to the fingernail than i would like (but still totally usable), a beautiful pinkish-red color, with a tad of bearclaw/curly figuring...lovely stuff...and rare as it gets... It's *amazing* that these trees that are 15 feet in diameter, grow at a rate of only 2 mm per year...just *wow*. If you haven't seen these trees, it's really worth the trip... The Sequoias--with a fresh snowfall on the ground--are perhaps one of the most lovely sights in all of nature...just breathtaking... Here's a couple shots of the Sequoia tops...

Love that old Redwood!

I always inspect wood I'm considering for bullets 🤓😎

May the force be with you !

gold digging in old wood

Absolutely. Amen.

...another...

you could find gold too ? is it ? 😆😆

All clear?

👍👍

Yup! I have a small wand style metal detector that I use for anything that's going through the planer or jointer.

good idea, that's how Johnny Cash lost his brother...

I heard about a rattle in a stand up bass that turned out to be shotgun shot in the maple wood it was made from. Al at Sylvan Music told me that one!

Richard Hoover is a great guitar maker and a personal hero of mine!

Those will be some “dam” fine guitars someday. (I know...apologies, somebody had to say it)

I have ruined a few knives on my planer because I missed a nail or two😯

looks like nice weather in Santa Cruz!

He's got a Garrett!

Dude is a pioneer as well as straight up genius.

Brilliant! Go Richard!

How did the Redwood turn out ?

cool, just super cool!!

Nice! Save a top for me!

Action shot!

Awesome find.

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3 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

Prodigious at four, incredible at 12 and ripping pretension away from tradition before 20, Tony Rice, like Coltrane playing a barn dance, he upstaged a staid musical genre and changed the way guitars have been played ever since. A big Dreadnought guitar served as the drums in early country combos keeping time while a fiddle or mandolin wove the single line melodies that gave the tunes their personality. Tony Rice changed all that.

Young Anthony Rice grew up in the Bluegrass tradition with a father and brothers all dedicated to the cooperative parameters of this family-oriented genre. All fit nicely within the context of the post war, working class culture of 1950’s Southern California. This timeless influence may have stayed its course for generations save an irresistible undercurrent that would change everything. The ‘60’s were coming.

Populating the musical family tree, from roots in Africa, the Far East, or the dust of Mesopotamia, can be done in retrospect. We witnessed first-hand the cultural upheaval of the early 1960’s which fostered an unprecedented trans-ethnic exchange of ideas thanks to a common tongue, the universal language of music. We see the direct link from an ancient Celtic culture fleeing yet another oppressor in the British Isles to Appalachia. Their music influences Clarence White in the Kentucky Colonels and reaches the ear of Chris Hillman and the Byrds and on into the heart and the hands of Tony Rice.

Maestro Rice didn’t just pioneer new arrangements of old tunes, he had the courage to introduce an unheard-of timing and tone which he channeled through dedicated study of the music’s indigenous roots and the modern phrasing of its devotees.

With the strength in numbers from contemporaries like Doc Watson, Dan Crary and Norman Blake, Rice forced the acoustic guitar to the front of the stage. This soulful honesty revitalized one of the most white-washed of folk-idioms. The “ah shucks” de-colorization of the genre may have worked for a TV show, but a long overdue ass kicking was being welcomed on the ground.

The mastery of Rice’s work stands alone, not because of the accuracy of a perfectly timed mathematical recitation, practice and providence will allow the reasonably gifted to accomplish that. The substance of his playing is born of his soul-felt drive to tell the story in the mother tongue. This is the language learned from his mentors taught to them in an unbroken line since the musical dawn of time. Most of us don’t recognize the original dialects, though we’ll catch it here and there in the works of Tony’s contemporary influences. Our modern ears will find it in the RCA solos of Jerry Reed, and the tracks where Clarence White was allowed his own voice. Tony translated the more obscure code for us which he mined from thousands of hours studying rare recordings of horn, guitar, and violin riffs from masters of jump, jive, Jazz, and Bebop.

What makes it possible to identify a favorite guitar player after only hearing the first two, or three notes? There are an infinite number of variables in a recording studio, the room set up, instrument, strings, and microphone choices to manipulate our aural impressions. So, what is the constant that allows you to know the player? Tony’s sound signature is consistent. His tone is achieved by the controlled direction of attack of pick to string, the angle of approach from above, or below, the density and resistance of the material the string is struck with, and, to a lesser degree, the same with the composition of strings and of the guitar itself. This control of tone, a major part of Tony’s technique, is a hard-won result from studying the influence of Clarence White’s rock steady foundation and Jerry Reed’s standard of “consistency under fire”.

The second component of Rice’s inimitable sound? Well, timing is everything…the dude can swing!

Billie Holiday’s gravity defying ability to slide off and on the beat is gawdawfully arousing. Her imitators use a heroin slur that might sound similar, but it doesn’t make us squirm in our seat like Billie could. Herein lies the reason that one can distinguish between those who sound just like Tony and Tony’s real thing, you feel it.

He wasn’t an Audiophile because he was a gearhead, he wanted gear that could reproduce what ordinary sound systems missed. In an all-night listening session where Tony riffed on each solo and its context within the artists career, I asked if all his analog audio technology was of any advantage. He said, “Man…you gotta hear the shape of the notes, digital don’t do that. All this is to hear what’s behind the note…the man’s intent”.

Who knows what God’s plan B was for this writer and the Santa Cruz Guitar Company? But for the path illuminated for us by Tony Rice you may never have heard of us at all.

Darol Anger, the internationally celebrated violinist, introduced us when we were all 25 years old. Darol got the fiddle part in the David Grisman Quintet right after Tony was recruited as guitar player for the genre busting combo of stringed instrument greats. It was 1976 when Darol left our mandolin making cooperative and an unpromising career as a pizza pub act. I had just joined with two partners to launch the Santa Cruz Guitar Company to upend the industrialization of acoustic guitar making.

Darol brought Tony to my house to meet me and play the fourth guitar under the Santa Cruz label. Tony was looking for a replacement guitar to allow him to leave Clarence White’s fragile old 1934 D-28 at home while he toured in support of the Quintet’s first album. Rice’s antique Martin herringbone guitar, though a legacy of the late great Clarence White, lacked substance in the mid-range and treble frequencies which Tony needed to showcase the solo jazz phrasing of Grisman’s compositions. By design, the original Dreadnought size Guitar was meant for holding down rhythm, and not for articulate solo work. Nonetheless Tony wanted his new guitar to look just like the old, but with updated qualities of sound.

The resulting Santa Cruz Tony Rice Model was never intended to copy the venerable old 1934 Martin, rather it was to be a Trojan Horse. That is, a friendly and familiar package disguising the danger within. Bracing, neck weight and sound hole size were all modified to achieve an appropriate EQ, clarity of tone, and projection to compliment the “New Acoustic Music”.

The Quintet ushered in a new day for acoustic music to a public recently flogged by disco and electronic Midi Interface that made performing musicians irrelevant. Santa Cruz Guitar Company was pioneering the boutique custom guitar market at a time when people didn’t make guitars, factories did. Santa Cruz’ Tony Rice Model was setting new standards while the Baby boom was having babies and paying off student loans. Behind this bucolic setting a crippling economic recession was preparing to kill us all.

Hard times make good friends. Tony and I shared the angst of girl troubles and a world not ready to appreciate our talents. As our audience caught up, we celebrated occasional success. People speculate that our sessions were rich in ideas for the perfect acoustic guitar. Do donut shop owners drink together to share affordable pastry epiphanies? I don’t think so, likewise we didn’t talk about making guitars so much as the reasons we played the guitar.

It was the real-life scenarios like addictions and recoveries, near death experience and spiritual awakenings that were more important than the business of guitars. Guitar designs were not unimportant, they were just a nice side benefit from our practice of looking after each other’s best interests. We worked together to design and build about a dozen personal custom guitars for him between 1978 and 2015, always evolving specifications to meet his changing physical and tonal needs.

Most of the later innovations were not designed to set the world on fire, they were more about reducing tension and facilitating reach for tendons and joints never designed for 60 years of repetitive motion. Tony’s God given purpose was to speak truth to the world through his music While he lost his voice and then his hands, he began to lose his sense of purpose. It hadn’t crossed his mind that someone might love him without his guitar.

During my last visit we did an all-nighter in front of his glowing analog wall of vacuum tubes, I asked if I could get him something to eat. He pointed his remote at the turntable to switch to a Chet Baker, or Coltrane solo. As the riff began, he said, “This is food man”. We only stopped the music to run to the drugstore and try to have him eat some French fries. He asked me to drive, telling me, “Don’t worry, the law won’t touch you here if I’m in the car.” At dawn I took him to the hospital and called his pastor.

He looked for relief through restoring old Bulova Watches. This isn’t a non-sequitur; it’s analogous to the Tony Rice story. Their innovative design didn’t rely on a finite release of captive spring tension. At its heart was a beating crystal, like a tiny tuning fork. “It’s not busy counting hours on earth, Tony told me, its clocking infinity”.

What Tony needed most was to value himself as much we did, with compassion and acceptance as a fallible fellow traveler doing the next right thing one step at a time. A regular guy appreciated for his inherent goodness and not just for his exceptionalism. We were there, but I don’t believe that he could really hear us over a parallel universe of fame and fortune in random orbits of welcoming noise and eventually, an equally unbearable silence.

Aw Tony, I thought I could help fix you, my bad. Just because of what we shared, I presumed I understood. That was my selfish perspective. My lens was too small.

If you love someone, don’t wait until tomorrow, tell them now.

Richard Hoover Santa Cruz, California

Christmas 2020
Photo Credit: Randy Carone
... See MoreSee Less

Prodigious at four, incredible at 12 and ripping pretension away from tradition before 20, Tony Rice, like Coltrane playing a barn dance, he upstaged a staid musical genre and changed the way guitars have been played ever since. A big Dreadnought guitar served as the drums in early country combos keeping time while a fiddle or mandolin wove the single line melodies that gave the tunes their personality. Tony Rice changed all that.

Young Anthony Rice grew up in the Bluegrass tradition with a father and brothers all dedicated to the cooperative parameters of this family-oriented genre. All fit nicely within the context of the post war, working class culture of 1950’s Southern California. This timeless influence may have stayed its course for generations save an irresistible undercurrent that would change everything. The ‘60’s were coming.

Populating the musical family tree, from roots in Africa, the Far East, or the dust of Mesopotamia, can be done in retrospect. We witnessed first-hand the cultural upheaval of the early 1960’s which fostered an unprecedented trans-ethnic exchange of ideas thanks to a common tongue, the universal language of music. We see the direct link from an ancient Celtic culture fleeing yet another oppressor in the British Isles to Appalachia. Their music influences Clarence White in the Kentucky Colonels and reaches the ear of Chris Hillman and the Byrds and on into the heart and the hands of Tony Rice.

Maestro Rice didn’t just pioneer new arrangements of old tunes, he had the courage to introduce an unheard-of timing and tone which he channeled through dedicated study of the music’s indigenous roots and the modern phrasing of its devotees.

 With the strength in numbers from contemporaries like Doc Watson, Dan Crary and Norman Blake, Rice forced the acoustic guitar to the front of the stage. This soulful honesty revitalized one of the most white-washed of folk-idioms. The “ah shucks” de-colorization of the genre may have worked for a TV show, but a long overdue ass kicking was being welcomed on the ground.

The mastery of Rice’s work stands alone, not because of the accuracy of a perfectly timed mathematical recitation, practice and providence will allow the reasonably gifted to accomplish that. The substance of his playing is born of his soul-felt drive to tell the story in the mother tongue. This is the language learned from his mentors taught to them in an unbroken line since the musical dawn of time.  Most of us don’t recognize the original dialects, though we’ll catch it here and there in the works of Tony’s contemporary influences. Our modern ears will find it in the RCA solos of Jerry Reed, and the tracks where Clarence White was allowed his own voice.  Tony translated the more obscure code for us which he mined from thousands of hours studying rare recordings of horn, guitar, and violin riffs from masters of jump, jive, Jazz, and Bebop.

What makes it possible to identify a favorite guitar player after only hearing the first two, or three notes? There are an infinite number of variables in a recording studio, the room set up, instrument, strings, and microphone choices to manipulate our aural impressions. So, what is the constant that allows you to know the player? Tony’s sound signature is consistent. His tone is achieved by the controlled direction of attack of pick to string, the angle of approach from above, or below, the density and resistance of the material the string is struck with, and, to a lesser degree, the same with the composition of strings and of the guitar itself. This control of tone, a major part of Tony’s technique, is a hard-won result from studying the influence of Clarence White’s rock steady foundation and Jerry Reed’s standard of “consistency under fire”.  

The second component of Rice’s inimitable sound? Well, timing is everything…the dude can swing!

Billie Holiday’s gravity defying ability to slide off and on the beat is gawdawfully arousing. Her imitators use a heroin slur that might sound similar, but it doesn’t make us squirm in our seat like Billie could. Herein lies the reason that one can distinguish between those who sound just like Tony and Tony’s real thing, you feel it.

He wasn’t an Audiophile because he was a gearhead, he wanted gear that could reproduce what ordinary sound systems missed. In an all-night listening session where Tony riffed on each solo and its context within the artists career, I asked if all his analog audio technology was of any advantage. He said, “Man…you gotta hear the shape of the notes, digital don’t do that. All this is to hear what’s behind the note…the man’s intent”.

Who knows what God’s plan B was for this writer and the Santa Cruz Guitar Company? But for the path illuminated for us by Tony Rice you may never have heard of us at all.

Darol Anger, the internationally celebrated violinist, introduced us when we were all 25 years old.                Darol got the fiddle part in the David Grisman Quintet right after Tony was recruited as guitar player for the genre busting combo of stringed instrument greats. It was 1976 when Darol left our mandolin making cooperative and an unpromising career as a pizza pub act. I had just joined with two partners to launch the Santa Cruz Guitar Company to upend the industrialization of acoustic guitar making.

Darol brought Tony to my house to meet me and play the fourth guitar under the Santa Cruz label. Tony was looking for a replacement guitar to allow him to leave Clarence White’s fragile old 1934 D-28 at home while he toured in support of the Quintet’s first album. Rice’s antique Martin herringbone guitar, though a legacy of the late great Clarence White, lacked substance in the mid-range and treble frequencies which Tony needed to showcase the solo jazz phrasing of Grisman’s compositions. By design, the original Dreadnought size Guitar was meant for holding down rhythm, and not for articulate solo work. Nonetheless Tony wanted his new guitar to look just like the old, but with updated qualities of sound.

The resulting Santa Cruz Tony Rice Model was never intended to copy the venerable old 1934 Martin, rather it was to be a Trojan Horse. That is, a friendly and familiar package disguising the danger within. Bracing, neck weight and sound hole size were all modified to achieve an appropriate EQ, clarity of tone, and projection to compliment the “New Acoustic Music”.

The Quintet ushered in a new day for acoustic music to a public recently flogged by disco and electronic Midi Interface that made performing musicians irrelevant. Santa Cruz Guitar Company was pioneering the boutique custom guitar market at a time when people didn’t make guitars, factories did. Santa Cruz’ Tony Rice Model was setting new standards while the Baby boom was having babies and paying off student loans. Behind this bucolic setting a crippling economic recession was preparing to kill us all.

Hard times make good friends. Tony and I shared the angst of girl troubles and a world not ready to appreciate our talents. As our audience caught up, we celebrated occasional success. People speculate that our sessions were rich in ideas for the perfect acoustic guitar. Do donut shop owners drink together to share affordable pastry epiphanies? I don’t think so, likewise we didn’t talk about making guitars so much as the reasons we played the guitar.

It was the real-life scenarios like addictions and recoveries, near death experience and spiritual awakenings that were more important than the business of guitars. Guitar designs were not unimportant, they were just a nice side benefit from our practice of looking after each other’s best interests. We worked together to design and build about a dozen personal custom guitars for him between 1978 and 2015, always evolving specifications to meet his changing physical and tonal needs.

Most of the later innovations were not designed to set the world on fire, they were more about reducing tension and facilitating reach for tendons and joints never designed for 60 years of repetitive motion. Tony’s God given purpose was to speak truth to the world through his music While he lost his voice and then his hands, he began to lose his sense of purpose. It hadn’t crossed his mind that someone might love him without his guitar.

During my last visit we did an all-nighter in front of his glowing analog wall of vacuum tubes, I asked if I could get him something to eat. He pointed his remote at the turntable to switch to a Chet Baker, or Coltrane solo. As the riff began, he said, “This is food man”.  We only stopped the music to run to the drugstore and try to have him eat some French fries. He asked me to drive, telling me, “Don’t worry, the law won’t touch you here if I’m in the car.”  At dawn I took him to the hospital and called his pastor.

He looked for relief through restoring old Bulova Watches. This isn’t a non-sequitur; it’s analogous to the Tony Rice story. Their innovative design didn’t rely on a finite release of captive spring tension. At its heart was a beating crystal, like a tiny tuning fork. “It’s not busy counting hours on earth, Tony told me, its clocking infinity”.

What Tony needed most was to value himself as much we did, with compassion and acceptance as a fallible fellow traveler doing the next right thing one step at a time. A regular guy appreciated for his inherent goodness and not just for his exceptionalism. We were there, but I don’t believe that he could really hear us over a parallel universe of fame and fortune in random orbits of welcoming noise and eventually, an equally unbearable silence.

Aw Tony, I thought I could help fix you, my bad. Just because of what we shared, I presumed I understood. That was my selfish perspective. My lens was too small.

If you love someone, don’t wait until tomorrow, tell them now.

Richard Hoover                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Santa Cruz, California                                                                                                                                                           

Christmas 2020
Photo Credit: Randy Carone

Comment on Facebook

Mr Hoover, thank you for writing this eloquent and touching tribute. Not only insightful, sharing much about Tony's life from the perspective of someone who knew him well, but genuinely moving as well. Thanks for giving the rest of us who knew Tony only from a distance a better understanding of his life and contribution to the world.

Hey Rich, KC here, man Tony like many before us was a person that made a difference in this world and no one could fill his shoes. He will be sadly the missed by me as well. Sincerely, KC KC & NewGrass Review

Thanks Richard. Tony's music opened up a whole world for me, and you are right - I bought my first SGC guitar because of Tony. You said it all so well. It's what the art leads us to and the love we share.

You never really know when it will happen. You never expect it. Sometimes more out of hope than anything else. I had no idea. My sincerest condolences on the loss of your friend and our mentor and hero. He was unique and unequaled in his own right. ray.

Great write-up, Richard. All that and more. It may have been Tony and Darol’s influence, but I made a pilgrimage to the shop in late ‘82 and received #D113 (koa) the following spring; I’ve never needed another guitar. What I remember of Tony—besides all of the above world-changing stuff—was seeing his hands one afternoon. The fingers on his left hand in particular spoke of commitment to his craft. Thanks for sharing some great stories. Be well, and thanks for making my favorite instrument all those years ago.

Richard I reside on the East Coast and have lived every word you wrote about Tony. I produced the 1983 Bluegrass Album Band Tour. I believe Tony made all of us better. Inspiring us to achieve greater heights in our contribution to the music. What more can you ask from a friend than to contribute to your life’s purpose? I believe in some way we contributed to his as well.

Thank you, Richard. That takes us well beyond the surface of the man, to a place where we might get a glimmer of understanding his heart & soul. You wrote as a friend, not a writer. But the writing shimmered.

Thank you Richard..... it helps the world cope with Tony's early departure. Much appreciated. Warmest regards from the Netherlands....

Mr. Hoover, that has to be one of the most beautifully historical and loving tributes (not just to Tony, but to anyone) I’ve ever read. As a former owner to TR#262(962) (aka.Tone Poems) it’s easily understandable why Tony entrusted you to craft his instruments and your words make it easily understandable why Tony called you a friend. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to provide the world with the blessings of acoustic music.

What a wonderful tribute Richard, many thanks. Sad to observe a gifted friend decline, but glad you were able to be there. There are several guitarists I would love to play like, but never will - Tony being #1 among them. I share his passion for a quality sound, and my 2005 HD SCGC still amazes me every time I play it. An excellent admonition in your final sentence - we should all not wait to tell those we love exactly that. RIP Mr. Rice - I am sure the Heavenly Host will enjoy your music now that you are free of the frailty of your final years on earth - pick away!

Beautiful, soulful writing to take the measure of a friend who happened to be a genius. Richard, your words capture perfectly the brilliance and complexity of Tony Rice. No one truly knew what went on inside the man, but we loved him and cherished his eccentricities as well as his immense talent. He was both loving and unknowable- but aren’t we all? Thank you for this wonderful piece.

Nearly 40 years ago, I saw Tony play at the Angles Camp hotel to room of less than 100. He didn’t feel well, his voice, he asked if he could play mainly instrumentals... still on of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Beautiful tribute...

Thank you Richard for this post...your personal words helps as this has been a tough one to get past if ever. I have one of your TR (1989 Brazilian Rosewood) guitars because of Tony & your superior craftmanship. A definite permanent part of our family...now more than ever. Happy New Year my friend....

What an inspired tribute, Richard, thank you.

Wonderful tribute. I am so honored to have a '92 Rice Santa Cruz. I treasure the guitar and the signature on the label. It will always remind me of the single biggest influence in my love of bluegrass music and desire to play it. RIP!

A life is measured by the quality of one’s relationships. The music is icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing. We will all miss Tony!! What a gift and a full on human being- gifts and challenges on full display. I am certain he was proud to call you his friend Richard!! May his memory be a blessing to us all.

That was really beautiful. It's about more than notes, and it’s about more than guitars. We're all trying to figure out purpose and re-purpose. We all owe Tony a permanent debt of joy, and hopefully we can pay it out to someone in his name.

Beautiful heartfelt tribute & remembrance. Kudos. So proud and humble to own a Tony Rice custom. Gonna play a few tunes & licks in honor of the maestro. RIP Tony Rice and thank you

A beautiful and passionate tribute to extraordinary talent and legend. Thank you, Richard Hoover, for sharing this. RIP Tony Rice.

Richard, I must presume to say to you this is one of the most eloquent expressions of heart toward a brother it has ever been my privilege to read. Thank you for sharing it. Be well, stay safe, easy does it.

Thankyou Richard!!. Tony was incomparable and you Sir are a part of guitar history yourself!! Thankyou for what you do!!❤

SCGC's Richard Hoover and Tony Rice - two wonderful maestros. Two beautiful souls. Richard, what a sublime tribute to Tony Rice.

Richard. Outstanding. Thank you for that. And for being a part of Tonys fabulous sound.

This is so important- a regular guy, for his inherent goodness, not just his exceptionalism- thanks for sharing your stories of this master

Thanks, Richard! This is the most eloquent and revealing story on Tony that I've read. Sorry ... I must have something in my eye ...

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4 months ago

Santa Cruz Guitar

As 2020 comes to a close, we simply want to give thanks.

First and foremost, to our talented, dedicated team of seventeen luthiers. These gentleman have gone above and beyond this year to keep themselves and their co-workers safe and healthy, ensuring we could continue to build and ship our custom guitars.

To our incredible network of independently owned, brick and mortar guitar shops, who have weathered the same obstacles with their team, but still offered the highest level of customer service to SCGC players around the world.

To our vendors, from tonewoods to tuners, and everything in-between, who kept us stocked through it all.

And last but never least, to you.
Thank you for supporting your local guitar shops when they needed it most.
Thank you for supporting traditional lutherie and craftsmanship.
Thank you for choosing us as your custom guitar shop.

Wishing you peace, good health and happiness,
Santa Cruz Guitar Company

**No guitars were harmed in the making of this photograph. Please keep your guitars properly humidified and out of the back of open sleighs.
... See MoreSee Less

As 2020 comes to a close, we simply want to give thanks.

First and foremost, to our talented, dedicated team of seventeen luthiers. These gentleman have gone above and beyond this year to keep themselves and their co-workers safe and healthy, ensuring we could continue to build and ship our custom guitars.

To our incredible network of independently owned, brick and mortar guitar shops, who have weathered the same obstacles with their team, but still offered the highest level of customer service to SCGC players around the world.

To our vendors, from tonewoods to tuners, and everything in-between, who kept us stocked through it all.

And last but never least, to you.
Thank you for supporting your local guitar shops when they needed it most.
Thank you for supporting traditional lutherie and craftsmanship.
Thank you for choosing us as your custom guitar shop.

Wishing you peace, good health and happiness,
Santa Cruz Guitar Company

**No guitars were harmed in the making of this photograph. Please keep your guitars properly humidified and out of the back of open sleighs.

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Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. A belated Happy Chanukah (that’s our winter holiday), a Joyous Kwanza and all the best for a very Happy New Year, filled with music and good health. Love my SCGC 000!!!

Just purchased my new Santa Cruz beauty - thank you Carter Vintage Guitars !

Just simply the best! I love to look at all the Santa Cruz amazing special guitars, but I would not trade my '06 OM SS for any of them. It's just that good. Thanks!

Best Wishes to you all and Merry Christmas from Michigan!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to to All the fine people of Santa Cruz Guitar Company!!

Thank you! Have a tonefull holiday!

Merry Christmas to Richard and all of the talented folks at SCGC!

Happy New Year Richard !

Merry Christmas to one and all at Santa Cruz Guitars

Merry Christmas Richard and team.

... love the truck!

Does snow count as humidity?? 😉

Amen. Merry Christmas!

Thanks for the wonderful greetings. You'll be happy to know that I've returned the wood chipper to the rental store and have been making friend's with my very stiff friend. After eating ribs and only wiping my hands off with napkins, I played the crap out of my new SCGC OM and believe it or not the neck is feeling better then ever. I wonder how it will feel after fried chicken? Merry Christmas to all at SCGC. I wish you the happiest and healthiest New Year ever!

Thanks guys for my pleasures in life..... Great pic!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years

And don’t forget.. to have a Merry Christmas on that ride. Nice pic.

Same to you guys! Be safe and happy!!

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Santa Cruz Guitar Company