Can you please tell us
a little bit about your background and the background to JJ
I became mesmerised by the guitar at the age of six and came
from a family background of precision engineering. In my
earlier years I trained at Myford engineering in Nottingham.
Over the years I also had a full time music career having
studied at the Royal College. later in life I also invested in
a couple of other businesses which fortunately worked out
well. JJ Guitars was established in the year 2000 and I began
working with the business in 2004. Following various changes
and my being so passionate about the brand I had the
opportunity to purchase the business in 2006.
Please tell us more about the vintage Electra, Retrolux and
These guitar models are the mainstay of the brand and remain
distinctively JJ. Our guitars of today have been enhanced in
design over time which has been a very natural progression.
The choice of materials used are the finest available and
equally, we have gained industry recognition for sonic
Why are retro-style guitars such a big thing in so many
people’s lives and why are they so iconic?
This is interesting. I don't think we should simply assume
that instruments made in the 50s and 60s for example were all
brilliant. However, instruments of all types from that period
produced some of the most iconic music ever made and I think
this is very poignant. We live in a digital age but some of
the finest albums ever recorded were to tape for example. As
far as guitars are concerned we make guitars that look like
guitars i.e. not weird and wonderful but at the same time
remain distinctly JJ. I guess classic looks and finishes and a
great sound is what it's all about really.
The guitars do look amazing. Can you give us some examples
of where we can hear them being played?
Basically our guitars are in many players' hands around the
world. We have customers in the USA, Canada, Europe and in the
UK. Our website and YouTube videos are always a good source to
see and hear our guitars. For example, if you attend a Matt
Schofield gig you will most likely hear our Jewel Custom 90 in
action. Another example is Joe Berger - he plays his "JJ"
Kings 42nd Street New York every Monday evening and has
recorded many sessions over the years. Simon Townshend also
has a couple of our guitars which he often uses live and for
his recordings. I'm always amazed as our guitars can turn up
and be seen at your local club or at major venues or
In addition to handmade guitars, what other services do you
We don't really offer any other service as we really do
concentrate on building our guitars. We have done various
repairs from time to time but again, mainly for our own
Who are your customers, where are they coming from and what
sort of feedback and comments are you getting from clients?
Our customers are very varied from professional players to
part time musicians and collectors. We certainly have a very
diverse customer base which is healthy. Through our hard work
and passion, we have gained a reputation as being one of the
best manufactures, joining the ranks of some of the finest
Luthiers in the world. We are very proud of our achievements.
We actually gain many customers directly from our own web
marketing, dealers and current users.
What are the biggest challenges running the business and
what do you most enjoy about running JJ Guitars?
One of our main challenges is the sourcing of materials and
consistency of supply. Other than that, the challenges lay in
our own hands I suppose. You really do have to work hard to
stay in the market.
What are your own particular music passions Jeff?
I absolutely love classical guitar, especially the music of
Agustine Barrios, such an amazing composer. However, rock and
blues always hits the mark. I was brought up on it. All those
great players, classic tones and amplifier sounds!! That's
what got me into playing guitar from such an early age.
What would you say makes JJ Guitars special?
This is a great question! We build distinctive guitars that
deliver, that's our job and our reputation depends on it. I
think its the hands of our customers that make them totally
special, playing and making great music. When we have great
feedback from great artists and hear their recordings, that's
when it's very special for me.
Where do you see the future for JJ Guitars?
The future is certainly bright and I would like to be doing
this for as long as possible. I actually don't intend to
retire. I think if you have a true passion for something, I
don't see how you can. I've always considered guitar making as
a calling rather than a career. I think the future will
naturally grow JJ Guitars, this is how we have developed to
where we are today. In my heart I would be proud to be able to
offer more quality employment which would be a good thing and
very rewarding. My son Richard is totally involved now and we
are a team. Whilst we are currently large enough to cope, we
are also small enough to care. Let's just keep making and
selling great guitars as I am convinced that today is really
is our future.
Are there any guitar makers you admire or aspire to?
I have many builder friends around the world who are
incredible at what they do. To say I am proud to know them is
an understatement. If I have to pick a maker that never fails
to knock me out, I would have to mention Claudio Pagelli - he
really is such an amazing talent and just like all the
talented people, such a wonderful person.
continue to traditionally produce the finest hand crafted
instruments available for you, our customer. Our goal is
to maintain and improve our standards in all directions
where ever possible.
No matter how amazing our guitars may look and feel,
sonically they have to sound second to none globally
serving the most demanding of musicians.
Fuelled by relentless passion and more, our success and
customer satisfaction is only delivered from hard work and
never accepting second best.
We have a saying here at JJ Guitars: “Never chase the
money, chase the passion”
Why Choose JJ Guitars? We have longevity in the industry
with an incredible reputation born from our commitment and
passion. Quite simply; When your name is above the door,
you work harder.
• Customer Service: Second to none
• Hand Built to the highest specifications
• Unquestionable Quality and Tone
• UK Manufacturing at It’s very best
• We are here when you need us
• We offer a genuine Limited Lifetime Guarantee
That’s why musicians around the world choose JJ Guitars
JJ Guitars Ltd
1 Westfield Drive
Tel: 0845 116 2072