Richard Hoover

Richard Hoover


Santa Cruz Guitars

San Francisco, CA USA

If you do the right thing, you treat people really well, and you stick to your moral compass, then success will come.


By Roadtrip Nation

Richard Hoover


My road in life has taken me all over.
Says he started playing guitar for "the same reason everybody starts playing guitar-to attract the attention of a girl or a boy."
While looking at his guitar one day, realized he wanted to know how to make them; started taking his guitars apart.
At one point, his guitar was stolen; when he went to a shop to get a new one, he took one of the guitar builders as his mentor.
He'd study with the luthier every week; his mentor made him promise he'd pass his new knowledge on to other people.
His guitar-building business initially wasn't doing well; he put the last of his savings into advertising his guitars.
The ad caught the eye of Eric Clapton, who asked Hoover to build him a custom-sounding guitar-that became his big break.
During the recession in 2008, people weren't buying guitars, and Hoover had to reevaluate his business.
Realized he'd been focusing on profit over product; flipped that, focused on his product and his work ethics first, and gradually the business recovered.


High School
Associate's Degree
College of the Sequoias



I am a manufacturer of guitars and teach others the craft.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Working with Others

Day to Day

I coach our guitar makers, tell our story, look for responsibly harvested wood while relentlessly seeking peace of mind and quality of life for everyone involved.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

More specialized training is available today to learn how to make guitars. Apprentice with a maker to learn the basic skills and hone your style.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"What are my friends and family going to think about my decision to build guitars?"

Interviewed By

Finding Contentment

Finding Contentment

In Oakland, Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington tells a story of fleeing his comfort zone and moving to Japan, where he found an unexpected teacher and an unexpected calling when he accidentally bought dog food for dinner one night. Santa Cruz Guitar founder Richard Hoover shares his philosophy of teaching and service and leads the road-trippers into Santa Cruz's misty, magical redwood forest.