I'm Jimmy "Jim" Burton and I've lived in Austin, Texas for over forty years. I grew up in a small North Texas ranching and farming community where all the kids were taught at least the basics of mechanics and "do it yourself". However, my interest in woodworking was sparked early by my father who was a builder and woodworker. He had a complete woodworking shop and I began working in his workshop by the time I was in Junior High School and spent many happy afternoons working on my latest woodworking passion. By High School, I was doing trim carpentry on his jobsites in the summer.
After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Economics, I followed in my father’s footsteps and became a builder rather than pursuing a more traditional career. Many years were spent raising a family and either building or managing the construction of everything from houses and apartments to roads and treatment plants.
In the middle of all those large construction projects, I always carved out time for personal, hands on woodworking interests. I continued refining and honing my woodworking skills on nights and weekends, building cabinets and furniture for ourselves, friends and clients in my own shop.
I am also a long time guitar player making my first debut in "The Sons of the American Mothers" on the Archer City (setting for The Last Picture Show) tennis court in 1966. Yes, we all start somewhere like that! Three chords and a pair of bell bottoms and you were in business.
I built my first guitar, an electric, way back in the late '70s from hardrock maple left over from my father's construction of a bowling alley. At that point in time and pre internet days, I had more enthusiasm than knowledge but plunged ahead, learning as I went. It's still hanging on the wall as a good reminder about how much I've learned about guitar construction.
In 2006, I rekindled my love for guitar building by beginning the construction of two archtop guitars based on Bob Benedetto’s book, Making an Archtop Guitar. I was hooked and spent my summer vacation in 2010 receiving training in lutherie from Charles Fox of the American School of Lutherie in Portland, Oregon www.americanschooloflutherie.com. I was able to take full advantage of Charles’s 40 plus years of experience with guitar construction, which shortened my learning curve immensely. I built a fine, grand concert size 6-string guitar there that is still one of my favorites to play.
After early retirement in 2012, I attended the Bryan Galloup School of Lutherie www.galloupguitars.com in Big Rapids, Michigan where I received my Journeyman training. While there, I built an electric Les Paul Jr. type guitar and a flamed curly maple, big bodied acoustic that are both fine guitars. Once again, I was able to take full advantage of Bryan and his staff’s extensive knowledge of guitar construction and learn what separates a good guitar from an exceptional guitar.
As with most things, much of the training is based on my own experiences as well as information gained from my association with other luthiers in the Guild of American Luthiers www.luth.org and the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans www.asiartisans.org.
A good portion of the technical details and physics of guitar construction comes from my study of Contemporary Acoustic Guitar Design and Build by Trevor Gore with Gerard Gilet www.goreguitars.com.au. The two volume set is highly recommended reading for anyone serious about guitar construction if you are willing to wade through all the math. In addition to these books I also benefited immensely from my study of Ervin Somogyi's well written, two volume The Resopnsive Guitar, that has a very in depth look at the voicing of guitars among other things.
I would be happy to build a guitar or ukulele for you but I would also like to encourage you to build your own or at least see the effort behind the construction of a quality guitar. With that in mind, a portion of the site will be devoted to photos illustrating guitar construction. If I build it for you, you'll be able to see it come together in photos, on the website. If you decide not to build your own, the information should serve you well by making you a more knowledgeable guitar buyer and player.
After woodworking for over 50 years and building guitars full time for almost 7 years, I am confident in my ability to produce high quality, great sounding instruments that suit your needs. To date I have built everything from dreadnoughts, 000's, 00's, Orchestra Models, tenor ukuleles and my own "Ella" design. Cutaways, arm bevels, and inlays can be added to most models. They have all received excellent testimonials and reviews that you can find on the testimonial page.
Whether the guitar is for Grammy award winner Redd Volkaert or for a brand new player, it will receive my full attention to detail. I sell a lot in Texas but I've built and shipped them as far away as Massachusetts and Minnesota. You are a click away from starting a discussion about "your" custom guitar. A cost estimate is pretty easy to do with some basic information from you. All the details can be worked out if you decide to proceed with the guitar. I do accept PayPal.
Built from leftover bowling alley flooring.
My own design "Ella". Clear, Clean, Loud with lots of Chime.