Santa Cruz OM Review

AG 235 July 2012 Cover

Posted by Doug Young

California’s Santa Cruz Guitar Company has been known for making high-quality traditional instruments since the 1970s. Although the company offers many stock models, it specializes in creating custom variations of the traditional blueprints. Accordingly, our review OM is a slightly modified version of the standard Santa Cruz OM, featuring a top made of Italian instead of Sitka spruce, and the vintage-style “advanced” X-bracing option. The mahogany neck has a slight V shape and terminates with a volute behind the headstock. It’s capped with an ivoroid bound fingerboard that has small dot position markers. The guitar is adorned with a herringbone purfling backstrip, and a herringbone rosette also surrounds the slightly smaller-than-normal 3 3/4-inch soundhole. Construction is predictably first-class, with quality materials everywhere.

Like many Santa Cruz guitars, our review OM has a unique flavor that somehow oozes a “vintage” vibe; it features a dry sound, distinct attack, and powerful fundamental tone. Nygaard felt the direct, robust sound, uncolored by excessive overtones, would work well for single-note runs in a band setting, and appreciated the “buttery” feel of the neck. I noticed a subtle and pleasing compression in the midrange that may help account for some of the roundness and warmth of the tone. A very warm and solid bass further helped with the guitar’s full sound. Gerken felt the guitar’s tone offered an ideal match for his contemporary fingerstyle approach.

SPECS: Solid Italian spruce top. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.375-inch scale. 1 3/4-inch nut width. 2 3/16-inch string spacing at saddle.

PRICE: $5,250 list/$4,725 street.

MAKER: Santa Cruz Guitar Co.: santacruzguitar.com.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar July 2012

Receive lessons, songs, advice, and news like this straight to your inbox

Shopping for guitars and gear? Here are some products you might like.

Join the Santa Cruz OM Review discussion

Get all things acoustic guitar in your inbox with our free newsletters. Your E-mail: