Jonas Guitars Boulder, Co.

Koa – Jonas Chimebell – Acoustic Guitar

by on Nov.28, 2011, under Handmade Acoustic Guitars

Koa guitar
The guitar here is made from a rare Hawaiian wood – Koa. The neck is of Mahogany and the fretboard is Ambigua. It was constructed by Jonas along with the help of his student, Dave.The guitar took about 5 months to complete while being worked on only once per week.The student inlayed the fox in the headstock and the paw tracks up the fretboard.A one of a kind, Jonas original. To make it even more rare, the cut-away piece is bent Makasar Ebony. 

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Custom Koa Guitar

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Classical Electric Guitar that ROCKS!!

by on Nov.26, 2011, under Build A Guitar, Custom Electric Guitars


This guitar was designed by a student and built by Jonas and the student, Robert.  It is a hollow body, but the neck is all the way through.   It is constructed from mostly mahogany and maple.  You see it here being demonstrated with the analog out and MIDI out functions.

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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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Build a Custom Made Electric Guitar

by on Jul.18, 2011, under Custom Electric Guitars

The Jonas Modle DR-1 was designed by Darren Roebuck and is composed of Colorado grown Maple wood and Colorado grown Walnut.  It has a Hard Maple neck, and Gaboon Ebony fretboard.  Besides the fretboard, it’s made out of local instrument wood.

These self locking tuners from Planet Way.  The pickups are Seymore Duncan P-Rails Hot.

Made for a guitar player who wants it all, this beautiful guitar along with the Seymore Duncan P-Rails pickups deliver 3 distinct tonal voices.  This guitar can sound like a Sratocaster or a Les Paul.   These pickups are designed to provide a punch that is more aggressive then the standard Stratocaster alone.

Complete with a Satin finish, the DR-1 is a custom electric guitar that any guitar player could be proud of.

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The Mystique Around Brazilian Rosewood, is it illegal?

by on Aug.16, 2010, under Handmade Acoustic Guitars

Shiny GuitarYes!  It cannot be sold or even transported, carried, or otherwise brought over any international boarders without violating one country or another’s CITES code.  The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, has enacted stiff penalties on anyone involved in contributing in any way, to the extinction of endangered materials, of which there are thousands.  The CITES convention even goes so far as to regulate the movement of instruments made from any of these species.  Over the past 400 years, unregulated international trade in plants and animals has extinguished more than 700 species.  The European bison, English wolf and dwarf elephant have disappeared from the European contentment.  North America has lost its mammoth, giant beaver and American lion.  We’ve similarly decimated our flora.  Varieties of ferns, orchids, grasses and oaks will never again be seen.

In the 1960s, the international community acted and 80 countries met in Washington, D.C. to sign the completed Convention, which became effective in 1975.  Today, 172 of the world’s 194 countries have signed CITES.  Only a few countries in Western Africa and western Asia have not.  The rules enacted by the Convention have affected the way The Martin Guitar Company has been able to do construction or repairs on their guitars.  For these rules alone, Martin has had to change to Indian rosewood, a similar and non-endangered tonewood.

CITES only affects certain plant and animal material that is crossing international boarders, so as long as you don’t intend to travel oversees with a Brazilian rosewood guitar, then go ahead and make one, or own one, no problem.  Where do you get the wood if you want to build one?  That’s hard to say, it’s not illegal to buy, or use Brazilian rosewood within the U.S.  Naturally its rarity ensures its desirability and its price is very high.  Expect to pay $10-20thousand for some perfectly cut raw Brazilian rosewood.

CITES only establishes a ‘floor’ of restrictions.  The member countries can establish any other rules as long as they’re stricter than CITES.  Imagine a touring musician who plans to visit several countries with a guitar constructed of Brazilian rosewood.  It would be impossible to comply with each country’s CITES rules and play the tour, the guitar would be confiscated at a boarder by astute customs agents.

CITES establishes a hierarchy of protection for threatened species of plants and animals.  Appendix I include species “threatened with extinction.”  Of the approximately 5,000 animal species or 28,000 plant species, there are a few from the list that appear on guitars.   Among the listed are Brazilian rosewood, elephant ivory, and tortoiseshell.    Appendix II lists species that are “not necessarily now threatened with extinction” but “may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation.” Honduran mahogany is listed in Appendix II.  This only applies to raw wood, not finished guitars, so you need not worry about getting permission for international travel with your mahogany guitar, unless traces of other materials are discovered.

If your guitar checked out for tortoiseshell, ivory or Brazilian rosewood, you’ll not be able to legally get it in or out of any of the 172 member countries without a permit.

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