1993 Santa Cruz Tony Rice #262 - "The Tone Poems Guitar" - Owned Personally by Tony Rice
Tony Rice stands amongst the greatest guitar players ever, regardless of musical genre. He spans the range of acoustic music from Bluegrass to jazz and even singer songwriter folk. To be sure, he is likely the single greatest innovator of flat picked acoustic music since the legendary Clarence White rewrote the book for us all. Tony has enjoyed a long and fruitful musical career alongside of master players such as JD Crowe, Norman Blake, and David “Dawg” Grisman. He has virtually re-written the rules for acoustic music with such classic albums as Manzanita, Devlin, Blake and Rice, and Tone Poems.
We are proud to present Tony Rice’s personal guitar from Santa Cruz, which was in fact used on the Tone Poems record. This was a unique record in that many of the most archetypal instruments were consolidated for historic representation on one record with two of the finest pickers that have ever lived. Along with famous Loar mandolins and Pre-War Martins, Tony chose this particular instrument to represent the very best that modern guitar builders could produce to stand alongside the giants of older instruments.
In the early 70's, Tony cemented a lifelong musical and personal friendship with mandolinist David Grisman. Dawg had begun to experiment with a deeper form of improvisation than standard Bluegrass fiddle tune chord changes offered. Tony decided to expand his knowledge of music and left the JD Crowe band to complete the now legendary David Grisman Quintet. Tony quickly befriended band mate, fiddle player Darol Anger. Darol was a friend of Richard Hoover and introduced the two. Richard asked if he could design Tony a custom instrument that would benefit his playing and tonal requirements, and there began a lifelong friendship in 1979.
The first design for the Santa Cruz Tony Rice Signature model was produced that year, and continues to be offered in the Santa Cruz line today. Tony has constantly been a sounding board for his guitar’s design and a few of his instruments have been sold to the public in those years. This particular instrument was one of Tony’s favorites, nicknamed “Chocolate.” In a personal note that will accompany the guitar, he describes that this “guitar has been used by me more so than any other 'Cruz' both in public performance and recording projects.” He goes on to say “Its performance was particularly satisfying to me on the Bluegrass Album Band Volume 6. On that particular recording event, it was used in conjunction with my 1935 Martin D-28, and I defy the listener to distinguish one guitar from the other.” He also states that John Carlini used this Santa Cruz almost exclusively on his album River Suite for Two Guitars.
Tony's instrument preferences came from years of playing his favorite guitar, Clarence White’s 1935 D-28. When Clarence’s father purchased the guitar from McCabe’s in California, this guitar was almost destroyed. Clarence’s father had the shop replace the fingerboard with a Gretsch fingerboard that had pre-cut fret slots, hence Tony’s preference for the in-between scale of 25 1/4 inches... not as long as a Martin long scale 25.9” and not as short as a Gibson 24 ¾” scale.
“Chocolate” is incredibly comfortable to play. Upon receiving any new Santa Cruz, Tony takes the guitar to his personal technician for a "special neck treatment." This involves removing all the finish and then working in a special finish that gives the feel of a well worn vintage neck. This treatment is a characteristic of all his guitars. He discusses this on his Homespun DVD set entitled, "The Tony Rice Guitar Method."
The German Spruce top has aged beautifully, while the neck is flat with very little relief, according to Tony’s low profile set-up requirements. This guitar even uses Tony's choice of string, D’aquisto Steel strings! The figured Brazilian back and sides provides a growl to the instrument, along with clarity you won’t find on other guitars. Despite being used on numerous recordings, and public performances, it does not have as many dings and scratches that you might associate with a highly used instrument.
From Tony’s own words: “I am parting with this instrument as I have with others made by Dick Hoover because our combined research and development efforts have been very successful in the ongoing efforts to create a superior sounding Dreadnought acoustic guitar. This one being a ‘strong link in the chain.’” We humbly agree with Tony’s words and invite you to own a piece of musical history and heritage!
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This guitar has some light dings and scratches, as the photos will indicate. The finish is sinking throughout which is common with Nitrocellulose Lacquer, also shown in the photos. The finish is chipped in a few places around the soundhole from Tony's pick. The lacquer has a few finish cracks that are not through the wood, also pictured. Original TKL hardshell case included.
We will also include a new copy of the Tone Poems CD with the accompanying booklet, where this guitar is pictured with a description. Also included is the full version of Tony's letter, which authenticates the instrument. We have scanned and attached the last page, the first page was omitted online to maintain the privacy of the owner.
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