J. Rod McClellan

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Handmade Instruments Built For The Musician
5558 E. Freedom Ln. Clinton, WI 53525 (608)365-2624
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Who Am I?

What Do I Do?






This website has been created for musicians who are considering commissioning a luthier to build a custom stringed instrument. I happen to be a luthier, and I am always interested in building instruments for musicians, since that is my occupation; however, I never want to talk anyone into anything. I do want to give you good information which can be useful no matter what luthier you choose to build an instrument for you. I don't have any brochures to exhibit my work, so I exhibit it here. I assume if you are reading this, it is because you already have heard one of my instruments and are interested in who I am and what I do. If that's the situation, I hope this site provides what you are looking for and that I will have the opportunity to provide the instrument you are seeking. It's also possible you just stumbled upon this site while searching for information about guitars or lutherie. If that's the case, I hope you can glean something useful from the information presented here.

All the pictures are taken by myself or the owner of the instrument exhibited. They haven't been touched up to make an impression; they are honestly what they are. The audio recordings where done at Yates Studio in Morton Grove, IL and are presented without any audio processing (for further info, see Technical Layout at bottom of page). They were recorded using (2) microphones placed in similar positions relative to the instrument, under identical conditions. Be assured that the differences you hear are the result of the instrument and not the environment or audio enhancements. All samples are played by me, and I am a much better builder than I am a player.

Musical instruments are, at a very fundamental level, precision machines which react accurately to the touch of the musician. I approach each instrument with this perspective in mind. I concern myself not only with the audible facet of the instrument, but also with its feel and responsiveness. A musician should expect that a properly crafted instrument will extend his desire to play and enhance his ability to communicate to the listener. I demand that every instrument I build will accomplish this goal, and I work closely with the musician to be sure that it does.

Although not necessary to pure function, the choice of visually complimentary and satisfying materials make the instrument into a more complete statement of the thoughts and values of the musician who plays it. Making music, in and of itself, is a very revealing and intimate activity. The instrument upon which it is made becomes a part of that revelation - for better or worse.  I see building custom musical instruments for musicians as a great, God-given privilege, as I am given the opportunity to be part of that revelation. Contact me today and we will begin cooperating together to discover what such an instrument will look like for you.

Technical Layout of Audio Recording