The Alvarez Dana Scoop
“Much press has been given to the late Alvarez Dana Scoop over the years. It is now starting to appear in guitar history books. This article attempts to clear up any misconceptions about the instrument before the rumors become myths.”
Dana Sutcliffe and an employee originally designed the Alvarez Dana Scoop in his guitar shop in the late 1980s. Not to be forgotten are the people who worked at the shop during the guitar’s developmental years. Their support kept the dream and focus alive.
The original prototype looked identical to the first production models except it had a reverse headstock and a steeper angle to the neck joint.
The President of St. Louis Music (Alvarez is a division of St. Louis Music) had the creative vision to bring the product to the market place. His discovery of the instrument is a whole other story.
The Alvarez product manager gave the guitar its name “The Scoop” after the instruments radical cutaway. The original name was the “Gash Guitar.” Thank heaven for marketers!
Patent Pending production of the guitar was started in January of 1991. There were four Korean built models. Two of the instruments had maple necks and rosewood fingerboards. Their colors looked almost identical to one another, Metallic Blue and Black. A white model with a graphite neck was also produced. Lastly, there was limited production of an all-natural maple body and neck model. Many of those bodies were highly figured. All the bodies were made of sugar maple and featured Floyd Rose Licensed tremolos. The electronics featured two Dana designed pickups in a hum bucking single coil configuration. These ran in series with Dana’s Harmonic Enhancer electronics. Each instrument had one Volume and one Enhancer control.
In 1992 Dana Sutcliffe and his partner were awarded a US utility patent for the guitar’s functional cutaway design.
Earlier in 1992 the Alvarez Dana Scoop was voted “Guitar of Year” by Music and Sound Retailer Magazine. This coveted industry award is presented yearly during the Winter NAMM Show.
The LA and Nashville Scoops were designed to conform to a more conservative guitar buying public. The smaller size Scoop was to accommodate the larger body mass. Even though the patent was granted on the basis of having improved access to the strings at the base of the neck, the true function of the Scoop was that it improved the instrument’s sustain and resonance properties. It eliminated phase cancellation between the neck and body resonance. The guitar body size determined the size of the scoop.
The graphite neck used on early models and the Tri-Force Pickup used in later versions of the Scoop were produced against the designers’ wishes.
Early production models never met the designers’ specifications 100%. Which is an even further testament of the Scoop’s resonating enhancement properties. Several years later the specifications on production models gained the designers’ praise.
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