I bought the guitar at Old Boise Guitar around the 15th of November 2002. It is to be my main guitar. I wanted something of quality - I paid $2200.00.
The guitar has pleasing aesthetics. It is comfortable to hold, contains more than 95% or so of the volume and bass of a dreadnaught or jumbo but is more balanced in the treble. It responds well enough to quite "goofing off" and finger picking. But it jumps into another gear with a pick. The first notes I picked with a flat pick on this quitar were astounding. I actually stepped back and said "wow". (I was trying to decide between three different quitars- 2 Santa Cruz and a D-18 that was a particularly fine instrument.) What I'm finding is that this guitar can give almost as much focus on the root note as a mahogany. But it can also project those rich overtones of rosewood. It never gets boomy or muddled the way other rose wood OMs have when pushed to very high volumes- I almost said when over driven but try as I might I haven't been able to do that with this guitar. It is sweet when I want it to be, can get angry, sad, you name it. It expresses what I feel when I play it and it does it seemingly effortlessly. The workmanship, even on this price point, is flawless. There are those irregulaties of the human hand - the silk on the top isn't exactly symetrical, the fretboard has just a touch of color under good light, the Indian Rosewood is just a shade too dark or would be "prettier" with more contrasting light streaks. But those aren't criticisms but reflections of the wood and construction.
I heard a little bit of a "rattle" when I played it hard at first. I held it out in front of me and shook it. Wood particles. I got the hand vac and that was fixed. Probably that one in a thousand oversight- I've never seen that in another Santa Cruz- Course I did also laugh at it just a bit- not so much troubling again as indicative of the craft that went into its beginnings. It is still opening up and I always hate the period of breaking in a guitar (ok- it is probably me that is really breaking in but I still prefer playing older instruments and this one still reeks of new). Other than that and my small hands haven't quite adapted to the 1 3/4 inch neck yet (used to playing Taylors) but that will come with practice.
The construction is flawless- with the exception of the saw dust mentioned above. The finish is uniform, thin (as it is supposed to be), and I haven't seen a single uneven place yet. Every joint appears perfect- the kind of tightness you'd seen in a CNCed instrument but there are still the qualities of a handmade/crafted. If I'd ever made anything so well I'd be proud to sign my name to it.
Another Santa Cruz masterpiece. That it is a beautiful and historically accurate piece is evident from its hand. Light and it speaks when you touch it. Capable of extremes of volume and with a range of tonal color befitting an instrument of much higher price. Truly a pleasure to play. It challenges you to play better and at the same time is forgiving of the weaknesses of my recent time off from playing (due to a broken collar bone- among other things).