The inaugural festival was made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Council Santa Cruz County.

The 2017 festival needs tax-deductible donations in
any amount.

The festival enjoys fiscal oversight from the William James Association. All donations are tax deductible.

Participation of the William James Association is especially fitting. Beginnng in 1977, the William James Association pioneered The Prison Arts Project, a program that selects and hires professional artists to teach in California state prison facilities. Guitar construction has been one of its most successful programs.


                Patrons Enjoy the Displays


Click Here for a Video

★ THE  EXHIBIT makes it possible to view the exquisite details of beautiful guitars closely, in an intimate setting at the R. Blitzer Gallery

★ A CONCERT SERIES features some of the best guitar players on the planet, demonstrating gorgeous locally made guitars by renowned local builders

★ NUMEROUS GUITAR RELATED EVENTS including films, panel discussions, and a Third Friday lutherie party at the Museum of Art & History

★ ALL THAT SANTA CRUZ HAS TO OFFER, including renowned beaches, wineries, restaurants and other attractions

THE INAUGURAL FESTIVAL in 2014 included A PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBIT of the luthiers at work in their studios adorned the gallery walls, courtesy of Jim MacKenzie and Renee Flower  AND INSPIRED From These Woods: the Guitar Makers of Santa Cruz County, a book by Jim and Renee.



  • Saturday, February 1, 5:00 - 9:00 pm - R. Blitzer Gallery Guitar Exhibit Grand Opening; meet the luthiers and enjoy refreshments, live music with Bill Walker and Rhan Wilson, and intimate viewing of exquisite locally made guitars
  • Friday, February 7, 6:00 - 9:00 pm - Museum of Art & History First Friday; Featuring 12 guitarists demonstrating instruments from distinguished Santa Cruz-based luthiers; lutherie demonstration by Hill Guitar Company and much more
  • Saturday, February 8, 7:30 pm - From Lute to Uke - The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival's historic journey through the world of the guitar family featuring performance by Tim Rayborn, John Schneiderman and Ukulele Dick. Historic instrument display by Luthier Paul Hostetter in the lobby.
  • Tuesday, February 11, 8:00 pm - Muriel Anderson plus Steve Palazzo in CONCERT at R. Blitzer Gallery - Guitars by Ed Claxton, Santa Cruz Guitar Company and more. LIMITED SEATING - TICKETS AT DOOR ONLY, Admission $20
  • Wednesday, February 19, 8:00 pm - Jayme Kelly Curtis in CONCERT at The Ugly Mug with multi-instrumentalist Topher Gayle. Split bill with songwriter Russell Brutsche and Steve Ucello. Jayme plays a parlor guitar by Tony Graziano. "Catch this pure-voiced singer now, and it will be like you were lucky enough to see the Dixie Chicks when they were playing street corners."
    Brad Kava, Music Critic, San Jose Mercury News
  • Thursday, February 20, 8:00 pm -   Chris Mallet PLUS Local Favorite Bill Walker and in CONCERT at R. Blitzer Gallery - Guitars by Rick Turner/Renaissance Guitar Company, Gil Carnal and more. TICKETS HERE "Chris Mallett is certainly one of the next generation of American classical guitarists' brightest lights. His incisive performances are infused with irresistable virtuosity and passion. He is a guitarist to watch." Stephen Aron, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
  • Saturday, February 22 - Sunday, February 23 - Santa Cruz Art League - Classical/Baroque Guitar and Instrument Exhibit by Luthier Charles Sutton
  • Saturday, February 22, 1:00 pm - Sister Brothers - The R. Blitzer Gallery welcomes an open rehearsal by  harmony vocalists Dan Landry, Heidi Renteria and Jim MacKenzie. The trio sings American roots music accompanied by a single Santa Cruz Guitar Company guitar. FREE
  • Sunday, February 23, 7:00 pm - Santa Cruz Art League - Flamenco Concert by singer Carlitos de Santa Cruz and guitarist Guillermo Rios - for reservations and information call 831/426-5787
  • Wednesday, February 26, 5:00 to 7:00 pm - Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Mixer at the R. Blitzer Gallery
  • Saturday, March 1, 2:00 pm - A FREE concert by Russian classical guitarist Yuri Liberzon  Guitars by Luthier Gil Carnal. Seating is first come, first served. "Ranking among today's foremost classical guitarists in the United States and the world, Liberzon’s playing has been described as "Transcendent technical prowess at the service of gracious musicality. He is a natural born guitarist." Washington D.C. Guitar Society wrote: "Mr. Liberzon was terrific. World-class mental acrobatics. Very pleasing results.”  
  • Thursday, March 6, 8:00 pm - The Athens Guitar Duo PLUS Local Favorite David Winters in CONCERT at R. Blitzer Gallery- Sponsored by Hill Guitar Company. TICKETS HERE "There can be no doubt as to the commitment of the Athens Duo to this music. There is a crispness, a colouration and a sense of involvement which is most attractive. As must be a requirement of good duos, they play as if joined at the hip. They treat the unusual, such as the Say and the Duarte pieces, with just as much care as they do the more well known Jean Françaix." Dave Billinge, MusicWeb International
  • FIRST FRIDAY, March 7, 5:00 to 10:00 pm - R. Blitzer Gallery Exhibit Open Late with Live Music - FREE!
  • Thursday, March 13, 8:00 pm - Guitar Poet Brian Gore PLUS Flamenco Guitarist Adam Markowitz  In CONCERT at R. Blitzer Gallery - Highlighting Carter/Poulsen Guitars and Charles Sutton Guitars. TICKETS HERE "Gore's finely crafted poetic 'songs without words' take the listener on a spellbinding, emotional ride. He has great facility as a player, but it's the depth and range of moods his pieces evoke that makes his music such a pleasure." Ron Forbes-Roberts, Acoustic Guitar Magazine


6:00  Jayme Kelly Curtis – Tony Graziano Guitars
6:15 Kenny Hill – Hill Guitar Company
6:30 Ben Bording – Matthew Mustapick Guitars
6:45 Bob Basa – Andrew Sacco Archtop Guitars
7:00 David Winters – Fred Carlson Harp Guitars
7:15 Doug Young – Ed Claxton Guitars
7:30 Tess Dunn and Rory Freeman – Jeff Traugott Guitars
7:45 Robby Eckert – David Morse Guitars
8:00 William Coulter – Santa Cruz Guitar Company Guitars
8:15 Patti Maxine, Colin Alder and Rhan Wilson - CruzTone Lap Steel Guitars and Rick Turner/Renaissance Guitars
8:30 Bill Walker - Scott Walker Guitars


• Live lutherie demonstration by Hill Guitar Company  - Kenny Hill and sons from Hill Guitar Company will set up shop and show the making of fine classical guitars.

• Harmonics/physics demonstration/lecture by David Winters, author of Natural and Artificial Harmonics for the Guitar -
5:00 pm in the Luthier's Coffee House

Hands on crafts activity for kids from 1 to 92 with finish expert Addam Stark

• Guitar strap weaving demonstration with Annie MacHale

 • William James Association information table on Prison Arts Project

• Luthier's Coffee House – Relax with a cup of coffee and a snack and enjoy a slide show of luthiers at work by Jim MacKenzie and Renee Flower

• Second String Project Collection Point – Bring your sets of used guitar strings to be distributed to musicians in undeveloped areas of the world

The Humanitar
                by Fred Carlson
“The Humanitar” by Fred Carlson was unveiled at the 2014 show and given its premier performance by Alex de Grassi;
Photograph by Roberta Barnett


  • Hear and See Festival Producer Jayme Kelly Curtis discuss her inspiration for the exhibit with Nada Miljkovic on Artists On Art
  • Hear a PODCAST with Festival Producer Jayme Kelly Curtis and Santa Cruz Guitar Company Founder RICHARD HOOVER
  • View a Public Service Announcement about the festival.
  • View a 30-minute Panel Discussion about the festival and the lutherie community in Santa Cruz featuring four star luthiers.
  • View a 30-minute In Depth Discussion with five of Santa Cruz's star luthiers' opinions about how to get started building guitars.
  • Luthier's resources at LUTHIER BUILT


To be included in the exhibit, luthiers' principal place of residence and workshop must be in Santa Cruz County. Additionally, luthiers must meet at least two of the following criteria:

Primary occupation must be guitar design, building and/or repair.

Have achieved documented industry recognition, such as reviews, interviews or contributed articles in guitar industry publications (e.g. Acoustic Guitar, Fretboard Journal, Premier Guitar, Vintage Guitar Magazines)

Have achieved documented success in the field of lutherie, as demonstrated by such factors as acceptance by noted artists.

If a luthier doesn't meet these criteria, there may still be a place for them if:

They are an "emerging" craftsman endorsed by more established members of the local lutherie community

Their work is somehow unique (the only local luthier building lap steels, for example) and meets quality standards

Longevity and influence on the lutherie community can be shown.

The 2014 festival received generous the support from the following sponsors:

Sylvan Logo KSCO Radio Logo

                        Photo Logo

Gary's Plastics Logo

Felton Feed & Pet
                        Supply Logo

Custom Ukuleles and Resonator Mandolins by Topher Gayle


Jayme Kelly Curtis

A few of Ed Claxton's magnificent instruments.