Low-Key Santa Cruz Company Makes World-Renowned Guitars

January 21, 2019 - 4:00 am

SANTA CRUZ — Tucked away in a nondescript factory in an industrial section of Santa Cruz is a small company building world-renowned guitars. 

The Santa Cruz Guitar Company was founded in 1976 by Richard Hoover. Each year, the luthiers make only 400 custom instruments, but they're highly sought after. 

The secret to the guitars' sweet sound is the wood. Much of what they use is reclaimed from things like sunken logs, downed trees or a boat builders' inventory, Hoover said

"We get the advantage of not having to cut a tree, but we also get better sounding wood," Hoover said. 

The older the wood, the better the sound. One guitar that was recently on display was made from 3,000-year-old wood that was unearthed while digging a foundation for a building in Alaska. 

The advantage to this instrument over guitars that are manufactured today is it has the sound of a much older instrument, because the wood is old, the resins have polymerized, so this sounds like a guitar that had been around for many, many years. 

Country music star Brad Paisley is one of the devotees of their guitars. He partnered with the company to pt his name on a model. 

It can take four months to two years for a handcrafted guitar to be built. All of their instruments are custom built.