The Happy Traum Signature Model HT/13
Happy Traum taught the world how to play guitar. This includes Richard Hoover, who learned from Happy’s “Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar” when he was just a teenager, years before the two would forge their friendship. To be able to build a signature model decades later for such an icon in the guitar world is not only an honor, but a privilege that Santa Cruz Guitar Company takes very seriously. As Happy himself so eloquently put it, “like all musicians, guitarists form a personal, loving relationship with their instrument. Years of bonding with the particular feel and sound of the wood allow you to predict what the guitar is capable of producing, its strengths and limitations, its dark lows and brilliant highs and, above all, the satisfying feel of the vibrations of the wood against your body. When a dear friend whom you admire has put his heart and soul into building an instrument especially for you, it adds immeasurable to its quality, imbuing the guitar with a spirit that goes far beyond wood, strings, frets and bracing.”
Happy Traum was taking full advantage of Santa Cruz Guitar Company’s custom shop capabilities long before it became their norm. His first Santa Cruz was a Cocobolo/Adirondack H/13 model with a custom neck and finish; years later he worked with Richard once again to design an all Mahogany OM with wood bindings, abalone appointments and custom inlay. When Richard proposed they collaborate on an official Happy Traum Signature Model Guitar, they combined the tonal, aesthetic and playability elements that Happy enjoyed in both custom builds to come up with a winning recipe, now forever known as the HT/13: Genuine Honduras Mahogany back/sides paired with salvaged, old growth Redwood and Adirondack bracing/hot hide glue in a small but deep bodied guitar delivers a bright, rich and clear tone with quick responsiveness, hearty low end and exceptional volume. The guitar is tastefully bound in ivoroid with abalone appointments and a custom top finish, rendering the HT/13 as stunning to behold as it is to play.
In Happy’s own words: “Luthiers are a unique breed of human being: philosopher-craftspeople who are sensitive to and highly knowledgeable in the intricacies of grain, color, shape, thickness, bracing and, above all, tone. Richard Hoover is, to me, in the top echelon of this rarefied world, acutely aware of the origins, history and sustainability of the various woods he works with. He gleans and scavenges them from abandoned railroad tunnels, sunken logs, long-forgotten furniture and ancient, prehistoric boards dug up from the depths of the tundra. He and his talented staff then assemble gorgeously crafted instruments with a keen eye for detail and coaxing the best sounds possible from them.”
|Binding||Ivoroid with Ivoroid Tail Wedge|
|Top||Wood Type||Old growth Redwood|
|Bracing/Voicing||H 13 Scallop/Tapered|
|Headstock Inlay||Santa Cruz Ivoroid Script Logo|
|Width at Nut||1-3/4″|
|Inlay||42 style with Happy Traum Signature at 18th|
|Width at 14th Fret||2-3/16″|
|Back & Sides||Tobacco/Buffed|
|Tuners/gears||Waverly Nickel w/ Ivoroid|
Richard Hoover on the Happy Traum Signature Model HT/13:
Today we made a dream come true! The Happy Traum Signature Model completes the circle begun in 1969 when I snuck into George Brown’s Newsstand to get the new Ramparts Magazine.
My hometown of 17,000 then was in the middle of the Great San Joaquin Valley and a vast cultural void. Ramparts was the only, bomb in every issue, alternative press I could access. Instead, I found a book that changed my life.
In the upper racks, next to the Police Gazette and Swank was a book with a picture of Mississippi John Hurt on the cover. How the heck did adults even know who John Hurt was, I wondered. This turned out to be Happy and Artie Traum’s Fingerstyle guitar method with Tablature, a way to see how to play guitar just like my musical heroes on the old records.
The dream that’s come true is mine. That instructional book from Happy Traum made a bond between me and my guitar that has become the determining factor in my life’s direction. Its influence has affected my choices in education, my circle of friends, my career as a guitar maker, my good fortune in marrying up and the lasting and fulfilling friendship with Happy and Jane Traum and their gifted family.
I’m far from alone. Happy is the musician’s musician, having supported and launched a hundred stellar careers. From the beginnings in Washington Square, through Woodstock (the state of mind), and with many of today’s vibrant new acoustic artists, you’ve heard Happy’s personal rock-solid guitar and vocal presence at least 10,000 times. The number of times you’ve heard his influence in the recordings of others is incalculable.
Thank you Happy and family for your service to others and for your profound influence on me and the values of Santa Cruz Guitar Company. I hope that we have captured some of the spirit of your fine legacy through the loving creation of your signature model. May everything go your way!
Santa Cruz, California