My New HT/13 Santa Cruz Signature Guitar

I am so delighted to announce my new HT/13 signature model guitar. After playing their H/13 (thirteen frets to the body) for about a dozen years now, Richard Hoover offered to make me my own model, renamed HT/13, which was a huge honor for me.

When we first met face-to-face about fifteen years ago, Richard Hoover told me right off that, as a teenager, he’d learned to fingerpick from my guitar book, “Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar.” I had seen my first Santa Cruz dreadnaught many years before, in the hands of Tony Rice, and was suitable impressed. So, our friendship was immediate and lasting. 

A few years later, Jane and I made our way to the SCGC shop and, after a personalized tour with Richard and some fun playing a number of Santa Cruz guitars at a local music store, we proceeded to pick out the raw wood - beautifully grained Adirondack spruce and Mexican cocobolo - that would become my first H13. 

After playing that instrument for a dozen years, along with a more recent but equally beautiful all-mahogany OM, Richard, to my immense honor, offered to build me a signature model, the first of my 60-plus year career. With the help of the incomparable shop manager, Carolyn Sills, I eagerly put together a wish-list of specs that would become my dream (Traum in German) guitar and, as I write this, am eagerly awaiting delivery. 

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 rarified 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.

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. 

I am tremendously excited about the model that is being crafted for me and I look forward to years of delight in the feel and tone that it will bring to my ears and, hopefully, to the pleasure of others. 

Here's what the folks at SCGC wrote about it on their website:

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. 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 his various custom builds from SCGC over the years 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. 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.”For more information on the HT/13 model, please visit www.santacruzguitar.com