The name “Crackercaster” pays homage to the native Floridian nature of our guitars and basses. The Florida cowboys of the 19th and early 20th centuries, unlike their western and Spanish counterparts, didn’t use lassos to herd the small, scrub cattle native to the state but instead used bullwhips. They became known as “Crackers” because of the sound the whips made while they were driving the cattle to market.
As guitar builders, we think about wood. A LOT. Recently the importation of protected species of wood has made huge headlines so we started thinking about the possibility of making guitars from indigenous woods. As always, we wanted to push this concept as far as possible so we narrowed our field of research down to our immediate area, the Southeastern United States.
After plenty of R&D, we found that Cypress, which grows here in Florida, shared many aesthetic and sonic attributes with alder. It has a nice upper-mid ping when struck and even fuzzes up like alder when you rout it. For neck wood, we chose hard ash, also a Southeastern US wood. This isn’t the swamp ash used for guitar bodies. It’s the hard ash used for making baseball bats. Its tone is somewhat like maple with a little more body and resonance.
A good friend and customer who happened by some guys felling a tree in Tampa provided the last piece of the puzzle. He thought the wood looked interesting and asked them what they were going to do with the wood. They said they were just going to take it to the dump so he had them take it to his landscaping yard. He brought us some of the wood and, after some research and investigation; we found out that it was indeed Florida rosewood. It turns out that Indian rosewood was transplanted to parts of Florida and California in the 30’s and 40’s. It’s an invasive species but still considered indigenous so it met the criteria for our new guitars.
With all Florida woods on board, the Crackercaster was born and will soon be in production at Guitar Repair of Tampa Bay!