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Author Topic: New guitar company in Santa Cruz - Carter/Poulsen Guitars  (Read 3448 times)
tadol
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« on: October 20, 2009, 05:01:40 PM »

My sons 21st was the other day, so I went down to Santa Cruz to take him out to celebrate, but also managed to fit in a few guitar related sidetrips. After picking him up, we went to a new small company that is about 8 or 9 months old started by 2 experienced alumni from Santa Cruz guitar company - Willie Carter and Eric Poulsen. I had met Eric at Sylvan music one day a while ago when I was there trying out and lusting after their Larrivee baritone. We talked tools and wood, and followed up with a couple emails. When I heard about his new venture, I decided I had to visit and see what he was doing. They are working out of a small basement shop, but their experience and expertise are quite apparent in the instruments they build. I was very lucky to be there when they had 3 guitars in the shop, and the workmanship was incredible.

They have plans for 3 models, but they only had one available. All their instruments are pretty much pre-ordered through word-of-mouth by working musicians, but I'm sure they would happily add your name to their list. The details on their builds are immaculate, but the most intriguing detail (to me) is a raised reinforcing bar that runs above the backstrip and let into the back braces to reinforce the back and hold the compound curve that the back is built to. They are subbing out some CNC work,  the fret-board and bridge, which they rough prep the material, have it machined, then finish by hand at their shop. You can look up all the specs on their guitars at their website - www.carterpoulsenguitars.com -  so I won't run them all by here. The G models I played, with a 24.9" scale, were great, even the one that had just been strung up for the first time the day before, all had excellent tone and sustain, and the one that had been on the road for 3-4 months and was just in for some tweaks and repair ( an unfortunate drop onto a concrete floor while touring - Ouch! ) was more open and sounded great.

These are not inexpensive guitars, but well worth considering if you are looking at an instrument in this range, as evidenced by the number of professional musicians that are buying and touring with them.  Even better, Willie and Eric are really nice people, and very kindly gave my son and I a full tour of their shop, and were very generous with their time and information. I would feel very good buying a guitar from them. I am anxious for them to get caught up on their orders so that they might be able to put some guitars into local shops, thus making them far easier to play for us voyeurs -

Tad

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Bunch of Larrivees - all good -
and a wife that still puts up with me, which is the best -
tadol
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 05:14:18 PM »

And some in process - we seem to have not gotten a pic of Willie or Eric - Hmmmm - I guess I'll have to go visit again!

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Bunch of Larrivees - all good -
and a wife that still puts up with me, which is the best -
tuffythepug
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 06:21:50 PM »

Tad
Thanks for the information.    Just what we need;  another quality guitar to lust after.  bigrin
I'll have to pay them a visit next time I'm in the SC area.   Here's the inevitable question:  How do they stack up tone-wise against similar Larrivee and Santa Cruz guitars ?

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tadol
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 07:57:37 PM »

I wish I could give you a good idea. They have a much more refined tone than a Larrivee, and the fine attention to detail is far above a Larrivee, but of course you pay for it. I hate to admit it, but my Forum 3 IS/RW is very similar, probably similar enough for my level of skill, but it doesn't relieve my GAS for one of these beautiful instruments.

As far as comparing to a Santa Cruz, well - -  I am going to post about the tour I got of their facility, and the sense of design and construction that Richard Hoover brings to his instruments. After that, and talking with him for a while, I have a much better understanding of their instruments, and I have to say that they really work hard to bring a different sound and tone to each style of instrument they make. With this new understanding, the only common sense of Santa Cruz sound I'd note is the clarity and integrity of it. I'm still trying to organize my thoughts about it all, but I left there quite impressed. Again, you pay a good deal more, and I have to say its not necessarily better than  Larrivee, but they have more distinction of tone from model to model than I have heard from Larrivees. They actually can (and do) adjust the tone of a particular instrument to meet the desires of the player they are building for by the type, placement, and shaping of braces. That, combined with the voicing of tops and backs, the custom shaped necks,  ( interestingly, their necks are assymetrical ), they make a very interesting and different guitar.

As I continue to look, listen, and learn, I can very safely say that the F3s are great values, and soundwise are in a similar class. I have to also say that I am still entirely convinced that a Larrivee is an outstanding value, and I'm glad to have the ones I have -

Tad
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Bunch of Larrivees - all good -
and a wife that still puts up with me, which is the best -
Zohn
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2009, 05:12:07 AM »

 +1 great stuff Tad, thanx for the info Mate!
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247hoopsfan
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 04:38:29 PM »

Tad,
I have found the same thing.  You can spend a lot more than Larrivee, but not gain much in tone.  I am hardpressed to find a guitar that sounds better than my JCL 40th Anniversary.  It has great fundamental note separation, clear harmonics and wonderful sustain.  I still play much more expensive guitars from time to time.  Some Collings, Goodall, Bourgeois, etc  may sound a little different,  but not really better. 

After playing all those expensive handbuilts at Healdsburg Festival, I decided to save my money and enjoy my Larrivees!
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1971 Yamaha FG200 (My original guitar)
1996 Yamaha DW5S
2002 Yamaha LL500
1990 Goodall Rosewood Standard
2007 Larrrivee JCL 40th Anniversary
1998 Larrivee OM5MT
1998 Larrivee D10 Brazilian "Flying Eagle"
magwa1
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2009, 02:53:43 AM »

Oh, what a lucky man am I.


http://magwa.smugmug.com/Music/CarterPoulsen-Magwa-Guitar/10042749_rtEg3#688123898_7Ap2k
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Magwa Keener
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SC 000
CP Model "G"
Martin D18-DC
hadden
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2009, 03:12:55 AM »

The inlay on the fretboard is a distraction for me. Handsome looking guitars overall. 
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tadol
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2009, 03:23:52 AM »

The fretboard inlay is actually quite brilliant - how many times have you seen a video of a player where you never get to see the headstock, so you can't ID the guitar? You'll know if they're playing a C/P -

Tad

PS - Magwa, if you ever consider selling that, you will let me know ahead of time - please?
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Bunch of Larrivees - all good -
and a wife that still puts up with me, which is the best -
magwa1
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2009, 05:26:03 AM »

I have found the same thing.  You can spend a lot more than Larrivee, but not gain much in tone.  I am hardpressed to find a guitar that sounds better than my JCL 40th Anniversary.
...snip....
After playing all those expensive handbuilts at Healdsburg Festival, I decided to save my money and enjoy my Larrivees!

Right on, 247. Impossible not to appreciate the Larrivees.  I do. I miss all the Larrivees I've sold.  Each and every one a fine guitar. And one in particular was stellar...Brad C. and I traded that sweetie back and forth a few times.  If I could find it, I'd be in trouble again.  And it would live with me for a looooong time.

In the meantime, I'm pretty well covered.
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Magwa Keener
Coarsegold, CA
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SC 000
CP Model "G"
Martin D18-DC
Mr_LV19E
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009, 03:18:32 PM »

Very nice looking guitar, and congrats magwa,  although I'm a little  angry at myself for looking, I find if I don't look I remain GASless.
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Roger


"Live simply so that others may simply live"
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