Jonas Guitars Boulder, Co.

Bio of Jonas Ceelen

by on Aug.28, 2011, under Meet Jonas

I can trace my love and passion for building custom guitars back to a very traumatic incident during my boyhood in Belgium. It goes back to my relationship with my father. My memory starts as an early teen with a slight fascination for the guitar, I remember working very hard during the summer of my 14th birthday to buy my first guitar. Imagine me, very excited after having saved up enough to bring it home and start learning on it. Not having if for more than a few days, one evening, my father became very disturbed and enraged by the guitar in the house that he came into my room and grabbed the guitar from my arms. He then hurled it down the stairs and I can distinctly remember as I think back to this day, the sound of my new guitar crashing apart and my heart sinking deeper with every bounce.

Although I was crushed beyond belief, and my relationship with my authoritarian father did not ever develop, naturally my curiosity as to whether or not I could repair it grew stronger. I couldn’t, but I was able to read up on guitar construction and managed to put together from a crude kit, some spit and glue, an acoustic guitar by sneaking into my on dad’s workshop when I could. I don’t still have the guitar but I wasn’t immediately on the path of becoming a luthier at that moment either. I went on with my adolescence and got into many different things. Growing up I worked in general construction and masonry. I got to know how to work with tools and enjoyed it.

Belgium was such a trip. In our neighborhood there lived someone who owned a small airplane. All the kids in the neighborhood suddenly got into skydiving. I spent many hours in the air and after becoming a very proficient skydiver, I bought a hang glider and still have it to this day. I now prefer paragliding and look forward to jumping off the Boulder cliff (or any others around) every chance I get.  But back to my story. I finally learned how to play the guitar well enough and found myself, many nights performing with a rising star in the Belgium community, Guido Belcanto and his band, “Speedy King and His Feetwarmers”.  He was, and still is, a very flamboyant entertainer and we gigged steadily all throughout my 20’s.

I eventually had to come to America in my 30’s just for the excitement of the venture, and got into whatever came along.  I ended up in Boulder Colorado where I was doing high end woodworking such as custom furniture building.  My second wife and I had a small but successful art business and we were painting large wall murals and accessorizing the decor with custom artifacts of one sort or another.  As luck would have it, my father died and left me a small inheritance in 1999.  That same week, while wondering what to do with the new found money, I visited a fellow Boulderite who was building Mandolins in his shop in the north part of town.  I suddenly had a lifetime epiphany!  I knew within the first few minutes of stepping into that shop that I had the money I needed to build my own guitar building shop.  I immediately began to collect all the equipment and tools necessary to complete a custom guitar building shop where I could pay tribute to the harsh lesson my dear ol’ dad had taught me:  Do whatever you heart tells you is YOU and is RIGHT.

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6 Comments for this entry

  • June Singer

    To: Jonas Ceelen
    Hi…I’m Tonny Fike’s sister. He mentioned your name to me and wanted me to look you up to see if all was still going well in Boulder. He is now living in Phoenix, Arizona at 1218 E. Harmont Dr. and can be reached at 602-293-3676. Don’t know if you knew Carol, but she passed away over 1 year ago.

    Happy Holidays, from Tonny Fike, my brother

  • June Singer

    To: Jonas Ceelen
    Hi…I\’m Tonny Fike\’s sister. He mentioned your name to me and wanted me to look you up to see if all was still going well in Boulder. He is now living in Phoenix, Arizona at 1218 E. Harmont Dr. and can be reached at 602-293-3676. Don\’t know if you knew Carol, but she passed away over 1 year ago.

    Happy Holidays, from Tonny Fike, my brother

  • Daniel

    I am a student at Centaurus high school. I am currently working on a research paper for my International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma on the Spanish Luthiers of the 19th century and their influence on modern day guitars. I really think you would be able to help me by giving me some insight on the art of guitar making. Please contact me at my email (jurado2008@msn.com)
    Thank you

  • Kyoki M. Ward

    Thank you for your time and consideration, I found your shop very stimulating to all my senses and thoughts.
    Respectfully Kyoki Ward

  • Adam

    Hi Jonas,

    I came by last Fall and talked about building a guitar with you. Well, I am ready!
    Let me know when I can come by, drop off a deposit and start selecting wood.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks,

    Adam Felgar

  • Paula E. Sandoval

    Hi Jonas,
    Glad to see your business is so successful. Your peace guitar rocks. (pun intended) I am actually trying to get ahold of Cindy Ceelan as it is time to get the Calendar for Tamales By La Casita together. I have misplaced her number. If you could email it to me I would appreciate it.–Paula Sandoval

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