Richard Hoover and the Guitars of Santa Cruz Guitar Company

Richard Hoover and the Guitars of Santa Cruz Guitar Company

Daniel Odle

What sets Richard Hoover apart from most other guitar builders is a quote of his I’ve read time and time again. “For us, it wasn’t about growing into the next Martin Guitar Company, it was about doing custom lutherie as a small team.”  From the beginning, Hoover’s curiosity turned passion was driven by the desire to build his own and pay no attention to those already doing so, but instead to learn what makes a guitar great and make a great guitar.

Instead of aiming to create thousands of guitars each year and put a Santa Cruz guitar in every household, Richard Hoover and his team of less than 20 builders pride themselves in running a custom guitar shop for the musician, often producing under 500 guitars in a years time. His aspirations are shared by those who proudly endorse his product. Names such as Eric Clapton, Tony Rice and Brad Paisley proudly play SCGC instruments. In an interview with Reverb, Hoover explains, “[Brad Paisley] has always praised quality over quantity, and he wants somebody who buys a guitar with his name on it to truly get something that will inspire them for a lifetime, and that’s our specialty.”

 

As a young man, Richard had his Martin D-28 stolen. While many may see this as a scar from their past, this event would be considered revolutionary in the forming of Hoover’s newly found passion. As expected, priority one was replacing his Martin. Richard was quick to find out replacing his guitar would take more money than he had access to. Determined, however, he was quick to the nearest loan officer to get cash in hand. From across the table at the finance office, Bruce McGuire casually mentioned he himself had a keen interest in guitars and was actually an amateur builder. Through Richard’s determination, McGuire’s networking and nearly a decade of trial and error, Richard Hoover created the Santa Cruz Guitar Company and the one-of-a-kind boutique guitar builder is running strong.

Heartbreaker Guitars, a guitar shop taking pride in their quality and selection of custom, boutique and high end instruments, maintains a fantastic selections of guitars created by Richard Hoover and the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. One of the most recent and unprecedented projects to make its way to Heartbreaker branded by the SCGC logo is Hoover’s contribution to the Legends in Lutherie project. In an illustrious partnership between two distinguished guitar builders, Richard Hoover and world-renowned Rick Turner, Heartbreaker Guitar’s own Brendan Smyth helped script the project of creating two, one-of-a-kind guitars built by two one-of-a-kind shops.

 

Received from Santa Cruz Guitars was a beautiful, finger-style acoustic guitar. Known for their adamant efforts towards responsible harvest, the wood used on the series of guitars was meant to be a special one. Whether it a result of vigorous efforts or a streak of luck, the project found exactly what it was looking for. The guitar’s soundboard is made from Yosemite Redwood, a stunning recovery from a bridge lost in the Yosemite Rim fire of 2013, originally having been built in the 1920’s. Complimenting the exclusive face is a Master Grade Honduran Mahogany back and sides. Both guitars of the set include a commemorative “Legends of Lutherie” inlay along the ebony fretboard, “Midnight Rope” purfling and a matching center seam back strip. Finishing the guitar off are Gotoh tuners with black ebony buttons. A truly exquisite piece of art. For more on this set, please click here to read about these two incredible guitars. 

Guitar aficionados are likely well aware of the historical career of Tony Rice, but may not know of his signature model guitar produced by SCGC. This beautiful Tony Rice Pro dreadnought rings from a Sitka Spruce top laid atop an elegant, old growth Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. Per Tony’s requests, the guitar sports a shorter 25.25 inch scale and a slim neck profile, giving the player the ability to play faster and more accurately. Complimenting this model is ivoroid binding, herringbone purfling and rosette, scalloped bracing, a V-shaped neck with an ebony overlay, solid square peghead, SCGC inlay along the 12th fret, gold Waverly tuners and an unmistakable tortoise print pick guard. In Tony’s own words, “This is a guitar you can go to war with.”

 

If a signature model is not among your considerations, one of the first you should look at is the Santa Cruz OM Custom. This specific model is made with the resonant Italian Spruce on top, absolutely gorgeous, Master Grade Cocobolo back and sides, and as if that weren’t enough to create aural dream, Richard Hoover equipped this OM with Adirondack bracing giving it sustain every player dreams of.

 

Next in line, and equally as visually stunning, the Vintage Southerner. This VS model, with it’s Jumbo body size, has a beautiful dark burst finish in Sitka Spruce with Mahogany back and sides. Similar to the Tony Rice model, this Vintage Custom has a shortened scale length, at just 24 and ¾ inches, giving it fantastic playability and responsiveness.  

The final SCGC guitar we’ll look at is appropriate for any main event. This is an amazing Santa Cruz OM Custom. “Clear, brilliant, articulate, loud and resonant.” All words appropriately describing the sounds of the Master Grade Brazilian Rosewood from Richard Hoover. In combination with the Master Grade Adirondack Spruce top wood, the sustain and clarity of this guitar are second to none. Upgrades include a jaw-dropping Koa binding, abalone rosette, Adirondack bracing and all delivered in a custom, Santa Cruz hardshell case.

The selection of Santa Cruz Guitar Company guitars continues and I encourage all to play one for themselves. They’re as beautiful sounding as they are an artistic masterpiece. Click here to see Heartbreaker's online inventory of Santa Cruz guitars or give them a call today to see what new stock they have coming soon!