New Guitars Have History From Hamilton – GNSOTD Thursday Feb 14

It always feels like a loss when a part of history cannot be kept; but when you are facing a structure that is nearly 150 years old there will be times when restoration or renovation is required. That is what happened to 99 James Street North in Hamilton, a 4 story Victorian built in 1872, and renovated just a few years ago in an effort to save the building. But in doing this restoration there was a need to replace some of the wood and that is where your Good News Story of the Day comes in.


The individuals renovating the building have a few particular talents and one of them happens to be crafting musical instruments and that is how they came up with the 99 James North Project. It is a project that takes some of the reclaimed wood from Hamilton’s history and turns it into instruments that will then be sold with all the proceeds from the project being donated to An Instrument For Every Child, an organization that aims to provide access to instruments and skilled instructors for children from all walks of life.


In working with reclaimed materials, there are challenges. At least according to luthier Jay Jillard, who is building the guitars as part of Jillard Guitars’ tenth anniversary. Jillard found that out himself when he wrecked a saw blade while attempting to cut through a beam and striking a hidden nail. Each piece of Douglas fir has spikes, knots, and stains; “With reclaimed wood, you just have to work around that,” he said. The wood is similar to pine, but not as soft and with a tighter grain which does have some benefits “It makes for a great-sounding guitar,” Jillard said.


Considering every guitar is made by hand, they don’t come cheap. Each one runs at $4,800 which is higher than even some well known brands; however, each guitar is one-of-a-kind, and carries Hamilton’s history with it. It also features artwork from Cottage 13 Tattoo, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary, engraved on the back. If you are interested in acquiring one of these instruments, and there are some available as of the posting of this story, you can find an online order form at if you would like to read more about your Good News Story of the Day you can find it here.


Story and Image from CBC.

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