General Interest

Seattle Musicians Join JOI Guitars

Ayron Jones, Cameron Lavi-jones and Reuben Forsland chill out with a jam session in Reuben's livingroomJOI Guitars is proud to be adding new talent to our roster of performing musicians. Two amazing artists from Seattle’s Alternative Rock and Blues scene, Ayron Jones  from Ayron Jones and The Way, and Cameron Lavi-Jones from Gypsy Temple, have joined us in time for our new adventure to be announced on Nov 27th, 2016.

In a short but sweet visit, last month, Ayron and Cameron came up to see JOI Guitar’s shop and enjoy the sounds of Reuben Forsland’s guitar creations first hand. Our “Island Time” West coast lifestyle meant for a chill, get-to-know-each-other evening and continuous jam sessions for 2 days straight.  That’s the way to do it!

They both bring alot of energy to their music and we just love how they make our guitars come alive! Check out their bios on our Musicians page.




NAMM 2016

We did IT!!

We presented ourselves to the world and the world took notice!

It was an exciting week all around… from the preparation to the long drive and setup, to all the great experiences and people we met during the show.

NAMM 2016 and a few of the wonderful people we had the pleasure to meet

Larry from McPherson Guitars NAMM 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center JOI Guitars Booth at NAMM 2016 Fingerstyle guitar players Badazz Guitar Stands New friends and business partners Tony Coleman of the BB King band KingFish is BB King reincarnated Brent from Alaska Tonewoods


NAMM in Los Angeles is huge. Huge!  There’s 5 big halls of everything from every kind of instrument you can imagine, to speakers, mixing boards, sheet music, children’s instruments, and every electrical (or otherwise) gadget you can think of that helps, in one way or another, to make a “sound” experience.  We were thankful that our booth was located in hall E. It was a good mix of all kinds of things… some quiet. Phew! I say that because when I had a walk through hall D, it seemed like every exhibitor was either selling drums or horns, and it was insanely loud. (There’s a reason why people put the drum kit in the garage. Need I say more?)  By then end of the tradeshow our voices were hoarse.

We shared a booth with Badazz Guitar Stands out of Illinois. Their guitar stands really are bad ass! And the owner/inventor, Rhawn, is the happiest, friendliest fellow you’ll ever meet. His whole crew was awesome and we shared some great laughs. We look forward to more partnerships with this dude.

Over the course of the 4day weekend, we met lots of other wonderful and influential people too. Too many to mention!   First of all, it was really important for us to meet and shake hands with some of the biggest guitar builders in the business, and we did. It’s interesting when you get to talking with people in the same business, to see so many shared experiences, frustrations, learning curves, etc, that are similar, and how we can learn from each other. Mutual support and admiration was evident!  We also met alot of our suppliers. It’s fun to talk “wood”.  Hahaha. 😛   (BTW, we let them know we want their secret stash).

Business aside, we were excited to meet some amazing players who showed us how beautiful our guitars really are!  They’re not just gorgeous on the outside… they sing too!  The new California finger-picking champion is a big fan, and so are many of his friends that we happened to meet at a finger-style show featuring some of the greats, on Saturday night. From left: Connor McCloud (new California fingerstyle champion), Antoine Dufour, Trevor Gordon Hall, Reuben Forsland (me), Andy McKeeWe also had Tony Coleman (BB King’s drummer) stop by our booth and introduce us to Christone “KingFish” Ingram, the next big star in Blues music. If you’re a fan of great guitar music, you must check all these guys out! Brilliant!   And Tony, a heart of gold, he had nothing but amazing things to say about our guitars too. Check out this awesome endorsement he had for JOI Guitars:

Top left: JOI Guitars booth
Top right: main entrance to Anaheim Convention Center NAMM 2016
2nd left: (from left) Connor McCloud, Antoine Dufour, Trevor Gordon Hall, Reuben Forsland (me), Andy McKee.
2nd right: Brent Cole from Alaska Tonewoods & me
3rd left: Sandra Pehar (my wife), Rhawn Boesen from Badazz Guitar Stands, me
3rd right: me & KingFish
4th left: (from left) John, Lisa, Sandra, me, Dav Mikaels, Bridgette, Rhawn Boesen, Anette
4th right: Tony Coleman from the BB King band & Sandra Pehar
Center bottom: Larry Klenc from McPherson Guitars & me

The Raven Guitar for the One Tree Exhibit

Since the One Tree Exhibit is celebrating the past, present, and future of a particular Bigleaf Maple tree, I considered celebrating the tree’s Native heritage in the design of this guitar. Afterall, it’s possible that this tree was first born during a predominantly First Nations occupation of the area.

I am, therefore, very pleased to be collaborating with K’omox band First Nations artist Karver Everson on the One Tree project. Karver has meticulously designed a work of native art called “Raven” which I have incorporated into the front of the “One Tree” guitar using a Red Cedar top in-layed with Yellow Cedar and Ebony trim.

Raven guitar for the "One Tree" exhibit

This top is still in it’s rough stage. I can’t wait to show you how the finished guitar will look and sound… The final masterpiece of the the Raven guitar, as it was presented at the Robert Bateman gallery, can be viewed in “Special Projects”.

Coral Reef Custom Design

This Coral Reef guitar made from “The Tree” back and sides and a bear-clawed Swiss Moon Spruce top garnered huge praise from it’s buyer:  “It’s a beautiful instrument. Congrats! The neck and the action feel just right for me. The sound is full and powerful. Plus I love how the rosette turned out vis-à-vis the spruce background.”

Happy customers is what this is all about! We love to get your feedback.

Coral Reef guitar - backCoral Reef guitar - front

Coral Reef guitar - Rosette Coral Reef guitar - 12th fret design


This Moon Spruce is from a mountainous area of Switzerland. For centuries, lumber has been cut exclusively in the winter, and then, only at certain times in accordance with the phases of the moon. It is believed that…
The Rosette was designed to symbolize a Coral Reef. It is made with pieces of “The Tree” set against the light Spruce background. Binding and beveled arm rest are Ebony, and the 12th fret design is a representation of the Moon Spruce top: Moon with Spruce trees in silhouette.



The “Slash” Guitar in Progress

The “Slash” Model guitar features an Ancient (3000 years old) Sitka Spruce top, “The Tree ” back and sides, Ebony binding lined with sterling Silver, beveled arm rest, Gotoh 510 tuners with petrified whale vertebrae buttons, sterling silver in-lay, an asymmetrical figured Honduran Mahogany neck for easy hand positioning, 1¾″ nut width, 2¼″ string spacing, and a pinless bridge.

"The Tree" sides, bent
“The Tree” sides, bent
"The Tree" back and sides, braced and assembled
“The Tree” back and sides, braced and assembled
Inspiration for the rosette
Inspiration for the rosette

The inspiration for the rosette came to me, much like all my best thinking, while on an ocean-side walk. It was a beautiful sunny morning when I came across this rusty electrical part sitting on the rocky shore after the tide had receded. It was sitting upright, so when looking down at it I saw a vision of a volume dial. Back in the shop is when I could actually start pulling pieces of wire from the object. I scraped the coating that was on the wire due to sitting in the ocean. What I found was the wiring was actually aluminum, which could be used directly in the rosette. Now to actually create the rosette…
After doing a simple mock up rosette for Slash’s approval, I felt I could carry the theme of “electric” within the rosette design. This was done by running the aluminum wiring in a circular manner with simple “Rises and Falls” of the wire to create the feeling of energy, in a heartbeat monitor fashion, and encasing the wires with ebony, trimmed on the inside and outside of the rosette with “Fine (Pure) Silver.” To visually connect the rosette with the body of the guitar, I will be installing pure silver perfling inside the binding. It’s a very simple rosette. I am recycling the aluminum wire, yet due to the cost of the pure silver it is my most expensive rosette design to date.

Close -up view of the finished rosette, lined with Silver
The finished rosette is lined with Silver
Hand made petrified whale vertebrae buttons on Gotoh 510 tuners
Petrified whale vertebra buttons on Gotoh510 tuners
Bracing for the inside of the Ancient Glacier Sitka Spruce top
Inside bracing of the Ancient Glacier Spruce top

“The Tree”

JOI Guitars is pleased to offer you another of the finest and most coveted woods in the world!"The Tree" wood

In 1965, within the heart of the jungle, a group of loggers came across an exceptional Mahogany tree. Measuring 10ft wide at the mid-trunk and 50ft at the base, it had a spiraled back. This was a sign the wood could be highly figured.

The loggers camped at the base of the giant and felled it with axes. But they were robbed of their prize by fate. On the way down, the tree twisted and landed in a steep ravine. Two D7 tractors were brought in to extricate the fallen tree, but to no avail.

So there it lay until 1971 when a sawmill owner by the name of Robert Novak heard of the giant figured Mahogany tree. In 1983, after some searching, he found the log. The tree was halved, then quartered, and the resulting eight pieces were dragged, carried and floated for 200 miles to a steam powered bandsaw mill.

“It’s more brown than red, and is denser and stiffer than usual for Mahogany. It sounds closer to Rosewood than Mahogany.”


Ancient Sitka Spruce

40 tonnes of soil was dug up to unearth this extremely rare Sitka Spruce that has been radio carbon dated to about 2850 BP = 3,180 calender years old. Born 1230 BC.Discovering the Ancient Glacier Sitka Sruce

It’s beautiful blue-grey colour is a result of soaking in the Earth’s minerals left behind by the receding glacier in which it was perfectly preserved for so many years. Ancient glacier Sitka Spruce top

As glaciers flow or recede, there is a mechanical grinding of the bedrock below, which produces glacier flour, or glacier silt. These fine-grained, silt-sized particles of rock are rich in minerals and depending on the type of rock, will produce colours ranging from grey to blue to green. You may have seen this effect in various mountain lakes and rivers.

JOI Guitars is excited to be in possession of 5 sets of these ancient Sitka tops. The tap tone of these tops produces a deep, resonant bass with a clear high finish.

GlacierGlacial waters


Cleartone strings have arrived

Interested in trying out some Cleartone strings?  These babies have a micron thin coating that prolongs the life of your strings and offers pure tone without compromise. Played by musicians of the likes of Tom Petty, Phil Everly, Awolnation, Robert Sarzo of Queensryche, and many more.
These strings will soon be available. Send me an email to order your sets. $20 (other retail stores, $26)Cleartone Strings

Moon Spruce from Switzerland

JOI guitars just acquired 3 sets of Moon Spruce tops from Switzerland. Check out this video to see why Moon Spruce tops offer such an amazing tone.