When you give, you get a lot in return.
There’s a big difference in 500 guitars a day and 500 a year. While Richard Hoover truly believes “the cheapest guitar can change the world,” he and his team at Santa Cruz Guitar Company have set out to do something very different: craft fine instruments that change the way we think about how guitars are made.
As artists and performers there certainly is an aspect to our work that is self-centered. We get power and energy from feeling a guitar in our hands, its voice resonating inside our body. We use music to escape, to recharge, and to reconnect with ourselves and the world. Musicians of all ages and talent levels can appreciate the Santa Cruz Philosophy. When it comes to music, life, and work, the same concept holds true: When you give, you get more than you expect in return.
This “you get more than you give” mentality starts in their shop and ends with a truly fine instrument in your hands. Here’s a peek behind the scenes on what makes Santa Cruz Guitar Company different…and what makes it a great partner to White House of Music.
The guitar. Played across the world…in air-conditioned living rooms, on hot summer stages, next to blazing campfires, and under the covered porch in the pouring rain. This incredibly susceptible instrument knows no limits to where it can travel, which is why protecting it from damage, cracks, and swelling starts in the shop at Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Guitar Company has a very specific climate-controlled environment – carefully measured and maintained to be the “middle of the world with regards to temperature and humidity.” Wooden instruments are built in the perfect “middle ground” conditions, as they can shrink and swell by up to 3/8ths of an inch depending on their surrounding environment. This climate controlled environment provides them with the greatest ability to stay safe through swings up or down in humidity and temperature.
Handcrafted Guitar and Machined Combination Technique
Many guitar manufacturers use the term handcrafted, but Santa Cruz Guitars has brought new meaning to it. It’s not a gimmick, it’s a way of working. And, when you have the talent of a skilled team of Luthiers, you know when to make the most of that talent and when to protect it.
Santa Cruz uses this philosophy as they build: If it adds value, use your hands. If it could hurt your hands, use a machine. Like a musician protecting their playing ability, Santa Cruz’s process is designed to heighten the quality of the instrument without jeopardizing the hands of their talented team. Tasks like sanding and finishing are best left to touch, and master carvers can perfect the spacing between strings and add decorative elements, while more repetitive and injury-prone work is left to machines. If it can be done by hand with better results and without putting those hands at risk, that’s a priority to Santa Cruz.
Guitar Specification by Frequency, Not Dimension
While other guitar producers start by cutting materials to specific dimensions, Santa Cruz starts with sizing instruments for frequency, measures the thickness of the wood on the face, inspects the location of the knots and shape of the grain, and determines the density of the material. Simply cutting parts for an instrument based on a set of plans is not their thing.
As Santa Cruz plans the construction of an instrument, they select and shape material to fit the frequency and sound they want to produce. They know that geometry is critical for sound, and that in some ways each instrument has its own “EQ” based on the quality and cut of the wood it is crafted from. The ability to sustain. The overtones. The amount of bass or treble. All of these are specified by the frequency of the materials, not the final size they are cut down to.
Quality Work, Not Quality Control
Perhaps the biggest difference can be seen at the end of the production line. Imagine a factory producing 500 guitars a day…simply “quality control checking” them at the end. A quick strum, a few plucks, and into the box it goes.
Now imagine a facility that produces only 500 guitars a year. Imagine when the Luthier picks up their piece of art, puts their hand to it, and the shop hears its voice for the first time. Santa Cruz Guitars doesn’t just worry about quality control at the end of the production line, they just can’t wait to hear the first note of remarkable quality.
Peace of Mind and Quality of Life
In closing, one other thing we can tell you about Santa Cruz Guitar Company is that they truly do believe that peace of mind and quality of life come first. They believe in the gratification of producing a product that helps people teach, give back, worship, connect, and show love – all things that change the world.
Richard Hoover is exactly the type of guy you want to have a cup of coffee with, and it’s always a pleasure when he visits us here in Wisconsin to share our love of music. Because he and his team definitely share our philosophy…to make Music For Life.
We invite you to visit our Waukesha Store to experience firsthand the quality, sound, and amazing music a Santa Cruz guitar offers. They craft a truly unique instrument, and we are proud to call them a partner of White House of Music.