As Santa Cruz celebrates its fortieth anniversary, we’re sharing the talk that founder Richard Hoover gave at the first-ever Fretboad Summit. Richard tells us a bit about the SCGC operation, gives us his thoughts on how tonewoods affect what we hear, describes his specific builds for Tony Rice and much more.
The next Fretboard Summit takes place October 14-16, 2016 in San Diego, California. Once again, Hoover and many luthiers from around the country will be on-hand, fielding questions and explaining their craft. We’ll also have some of our favorite musicians, interactive exhibits, dozens of vintage guitars in a pop-up “guitar library” and much more.
Jim Olson is a legend in the world of acoustic guitar making. The Minnesota-based luthier is a cult favorite among guitar collectors around the world thanks to the instruments he's built for James Taylor (Taylor's Olson was once immortalized in cartoon form on a Simpson’s episode), Phil Keaggy and Leo Kottke. Due to their high demand, Olson’s new creations start at $15,000, a price that even he is a little embarrassed by. “I’m the Forrest Gump of guitarmaking,” Olson tells us. “I fell into here. I don’t think these things are any more special than anything else.”
During this candid talk, Olson tells us about the first guitar he built (with help from the classic Irving Sloane book), how Keagy ordered the first cedar guitar and how an early (and failed) distribution deal for his dreadnoughts in the late ‘70s resulted in his fanatical appreciation for tooling and build efficiency. “I’m sometimes more interested in making a new piece of tooling than a guitar,” he says. We also talk CNC machines, the creation of the Small Jumbo, tone woods, his fateful meeting with James Taylor and more.
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These days, Otto D’Ambrosio is best known for his exquisite archtop guitars. But his guitar journey began long ago, when he stumbled into Mandolin Brothers as a 13 year old. He ended up working at Mandolin Brothers for Stan Jay, then for luthier legends Flip Scipio and John Monteleone. He did some time at the repair department of Guild’s Westerly plant and, eventually set out on his own as a luthier and repairman.
On this week’s podcast, D’Ambrosio tell us about his background, describes the ongoing evolution of his archtop models and tells us about his ongoing collaboration with Eastman Guitars. After working for most of his life on the East Coast, Otto has now relocated to the West Coast to work out of Eastman’s California headquarters.
It’s an informative and fun chat with one of the fretted instrument world’s best craftsmen.