Handmade from the finest select woods and materials

Acoustic Archtop Guitars

by Southern California Luthier


Tad R. Brown

True Blue



True Blue


  • Red spruce top
  • Red maple back and sides
  • Honduras rosewood appointments
  • All hardwood maple bindings
  • smooth edges with arm & rib contours
  • Ultra light rosewood bridge & saddle
  • Signature f-holes
  • One piece maple neck
  • Stainless steel frets
  • Waverly tuners
  • Harmonically tuned tailpiece
  • Armstrong P90 and K&K Pure Mini pickup
  • Low profile volume & tone controls
  • Lapis lazuli mineral pigment lacquer finish
  • Abalone and mother of pearl inlays
  • 16″ body, 3″- 3.5″ sides, 25.4″ scale, 1 3/4″ nut
  • balanced rich acoustic tone
  • Lightweight and responsive, 5 lbs
  • Custom Calton case

It was a tremendous honor envisioning the remarkable True Blue signature guitar with Tad.

I had some fairly specific ideas of how I wanted it to sound – of course already knowing how beautiful every one of Tad’s guitars sound. In short, they are balanced, tonally multi-dimensional, and stay in tune perfectly in all areas of the fretboard. These attributes are all especially important to me being primarily a fingerstyle jazz guitarist.

We chose to really highlight the tonal properties of red maple for the back, sides, neck, and binding in tandem with a beautiful red spruce top. Tad paid tribute to the majestic tone wood with a tri-colored maple leaf inlay at the 12th fret. We also chose Honduras rosewood for the fretboard and other appointments because of its sonic and striking visual character.

Tad suggested and I agreed on a dual source pickup system that incorporates a hand wound Kent Armstrong P90 pickup mounted on the fingerrest in tandem with K&K Pure Mini soundboard transducers, allowing for multiple blending combinations of electric and acoustic amplification.

Tad and I both strongly believe that an instrument should be physically comfortable, enjoyable to play, and incorporate ergonomic principles whenever possible. To that end, the True Blue features unique arm and rib contours, allowing for superior comfort and flexibility in practice and performance.

Knowing Tad’s expertise in finishing and aesthetic taste in color, I requested a lapis lazuli finish. The finished color is nothing short of breathtaking, simultaneously paying respect to and enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grain and also creating a bold visual statement.

Finally, I asked Tad to add a headstock inlay that celebrates the Rocky Mountains. He did so beautifully by creating a stunning abalone and mother of pearl inlay depicting a crescent moon and cloud over the iconic Flatirons of Boulder.

Sean McGowan