JUNE 19, 2012
Fox Hollow Guitars makes good on pledge to 14-year-old Savanna Coen after seeing her impromptu performance with Buddy Guy at the Douglas County Fair last summer.
Eugene, OR — Local guitar-maker Don Greenough of Fox Hollow Guitars (www.foxhollowguitars.com) was pulling for then 13-year-old Savanna Coen, Oregon’s Teen Queen of the Blues, to win his $5,000 custom guitar being raffled for charity at the 2011 Willamette Valley Blues & Brews Festival. “She had her heart set on it and really thought she would win it,” says Greenough. “In the end, it went to someone else and it broke my heart to give Savanna the news.”
Just a couple of weeks later, Savanna was attending the Buddy Guy show at the Douglas County Fair and made front page news and TV top headlines across multiple counties when Buddy unexpectedly invited her on stage to perform with him after a brief meeting back stage. Savanna fronted the band (including a thrilled Buddy Guy) for two songs using Buddy’s guitar (see the SavannaTunes channel on YouTube for clips). And among the 4,000+ in the audience was Don Greenough.
“I hadn’t really heard Savanna perform before that night,” recounts Greenough. “But I had the same reaction the rest of the crowd did: she blew me away. I knew I had to do something to help her career.”
The next day, Don called Savanna and invited her to his studio and made a once-in-a-lifetime offer of a $5,000 custom guitar made to her specifications. Stunned and still reeling from the previous night’s performance with Buddy, Savanna answered questions about what she wanted: a Gibson-style semi-hollow body acoustic/electric combo guitar in a shade of Emerald green using exotic zebrawood. The neck will be made from 100-year-old Honduran mahogany originally used as a floor plank in a Honduran coffee mill. One of the many innovative features is the fact that the guitar incorporates both acoustic and electric pickups, so it can be used as either an electric guitar or an acoustic one — or both at the same time using two different amplifiers.
Just in time for her summer performances, the guitar is nearly complete (see accompanying photos) and is scheduled to debut with Savanna at the 2012 Olympic Trials. She will be performing a 45-minute set with her band on Saturday, June 30 at 12:15 on the main festival stage. Savanna will also introduce the guitar during a solo performance a week later at Eugene’s Art & the Vineyard on Saturday, July 7 from 1:30-3:00.
Perhaps most exciting is the opportunity to play her new guitar at the Douglas County Fair again — she (with band) was invited to perform her own set this year on Saturday, August 11 at 6:30 p.m. Savanna is also hoping to make it on stage with Buddy again when he returns this August to the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene on Tuesday, August 14. Last year on stage, Buddy made the public offer to Savanna that she is welcome to play with him anytime he’s in town — and to be sure to bring her guitar, though she is welcome to play his anytime.
In 2011, at age 12, Savanna released her first CD called Strength (available on her Web site, iTunes, Amazon, and locally at Skip’s and House of Records. Her original title track was selected by the Register Guard as one of the top local songs of 2011.
Fox Hollow Guitars is an innovative, full-service guitar-maker in Eugene. Luthier Don Greenough offers custom acoustic and electric guitar design and building, repairwork, set-up, refretting, refinishing, restoration, and in-depth workshops on building guitars. For more information on Fox Hollow Guitars, visit www.foxhollowguitars.com or contact don@foxhollowguitars or 541-345-3267.
To see the guitar’s progress, visit www.SavannaCoen.com or follow her at facebook.com/savanna or Twitter: @savannacoen.