An amazing Santa Cruz 1934 OM Custom built with ‘The Tree’ Quilted Honduras Mahogany back and sides paired with an old growth Adirondack Red Spruce top. This Big-Leaf Mahogany comes from a famous 500-year-old single Mahogany tree and is the rarest and most expensive tonewood on the planet.
The Santa Cruz 1934 OM Custom model came about when fans of the venerable 1934 D Model began requesting the same build in a smaller, OM body. The highest quality, old-growth tone woods, combined with SCGC’s relaxed assembly, produce an unrivaled vintage tone from its first notes, and it only gets better with age. One of the strongest explanations why these old growth tonewood sounds better is the crystallization process that has been going on for almost one hundred years. Crystallization is a chemical process within the wood veins. The nutrients flow through this sticky stuff called sap. When the tree dies, the circulation of the nutrients in the sap stream stops. Wood is then cut and dried. But drying only removes the water inside the tree, not the sap. Sap has a flexible, sticky cellular structure that absorbs energy. By getting older, the sap crystallizes due to a polymerization process. Crystallized sap is like glass and has little energy absorption. Hence, the string energy gets transferred almost free of restriction. The older the cut wood is longer the crystallization process was going on, the better the energy is transfer. That is why these old instruments sound awesome. And that is why Richard uses old-growth wood for the 1934 models.
For this particular guitar he used the rarest and most expensive tonewood in the world: ‘The Tree’ Quilted Honduras Mahogany or botanically named Swietenia macrophylla. The story of The Tree has interesting and surprising plots. Check out a historical summary of this beautiful tonewood HERE. For the top Richard used old growth Adirondack Red Spruce from the 1930s and Adirondack bracing with hot hide glue. Every detail of this guitar was specifically chosen to produce an old world, vintage sound in a pristine, new instrument. And then some. Every part of this guitar is build to the exact frequency, like the old masters Amati and Stradivarius. This labor extensive approach leads to great sustain and overtones when the strings are put into motion. Even the bass tones are fundamental despite the OM-size. To have said that, it is no exaggeration that this guitar is not only awesome in looks but even more from a tonal point of view. Richard didn’t overstate, on the contrary! She comes in a pretty Cowboy tooled leather Ameritage case. It completes this rare diamond nicely without overstating. Furthermore, this sweetheart has the wider 1-13/16″ – 46 mm nut width and 2-5/16″ – 59 mm string spacing. Listen to a sound sample here: