99 James North Project

As part of our 20-year anniversary celebration we are excited to participate in a collaborative guitar-building project with Jillard Guitars, Birchway Sound and Sonic Unyon Records.  A meticulous renovation of 99 James N in 2015 brought the 150 year old 4-storey Victorian building back to life.  This unique project is utilizing recovered wood from our space during the renovation.  The guitar bodies will be created from 150-year old Douglas Fir beams that were salvaged from the construction. 


Jillard Guitars is a local guitar maker who has designed the body with input from Hamilton favourites Terra Lightfoot, Basement Revolver and Tristan Psionic, all artists signed under the Sonic Unyon (sonicunyon.com) record label.  Sonic Unyon, also celebrating an anniversary of 25 years, is helping in a promotional capacity to bring this unique and exciting project to life.  Birchway Sound (birchwaysound.ca) will be responsible for the electronic workings of the instrument.  Birchway is celebrating its 5th year in business.  The back of the guitar will feature a laser etched inlay of the Electric Lady.  This beautiful design is courtesy of the talented Jen Stewart from Cottage 13.  The design is a rework of a poster from the turn of the century promoting Hamilton as the first electric city. 


The #madefromhamilton project will create a limited number of these spectacular and unique guitars.  The prototype has already been seen on stage with Terra Lightfoot during the Longest Road Show.  Basement Revolver has also taken it out for a spin as have a number of other high profile local musicians. 


The guitar package will include Mcnelly pickups (mcnellypickups.com), a custom pedal from Southampton Pedals (southamptonpedals.com) and will come in a hard case.  Every effort has been made to keep all aspects of the instrument and its manufacture as local as possible.  Proceeds from the project will be donated to Hamilton based charity An Instrument For Every Child which believes in the positive impact that music can have on the development of children, and aims to provide access to instruments and skilled instructors for children from all walks of life.


This guitar is a players dream.  It is lightweight making it perfect for long nights on the stage.  It has a unique vibe and a beautiful sound.  Each guitar body features distinctive wood grain particular to the recovered Douglas Fir beams.  The pick guards are laser etched metal.

You can follow the history of the project and it’s inspiration on Instagram @99jamesnorthproject.  For information on getting your hands on one of these coveted guitars for your own collection visit Jillard Guitars (jillardguitars.com).