Joshia de Jonge
The smell of rosewood dust is familiar and comforting, it smells like home. I never gave it a second thought growing up that my father made guitars as it was just what he did. As a child I loved being in his workshop either just sitting watching him work or playing by myself on a corner of his bench. Soon I was busying myself with various projects like boxes, yoyos, and piggy banks. I was thirteen in 1992 when I made my first classical guitar. My younger brother Sagen was going to build a guitar and I wanted to as well. We each started an instrument and worked side by side bending the sides, gluing the liners, carving necks, and completing various other tasks. It was a lot of fun and we were maybe a little competitive. We couldn't let one get ahead of the other and though we were both in school we worked evenings and weekends. My guitar was well on it's way when my family made a big move. We were without a workshop for six months or so and my guitar was packed away. Once we had a workshop set up again I could finally finish my guitar.
In my mid teens I became more interested in guitar making and in high school I earned co-op credit for working in my father's shop every other afternoon. I was also very interested in traveling. I grew up in Toronto but was born in Holland and this seemed like a logical place to start my travels. From Holland I eventually traveled to various other countries in Europe, Mexico, Guatemala, Japan, and across Canada. With a taste for traveling I would focus on my guitar work for a few months until I could afford to get back out into the world. I had wonderful experiences but always found myself drawn back home to the workshop.
As I built more guitars I discovered it wasn't as simple as my father made it look. Focused on honing my skills, every completed guitar motivated me to perfect the next. As a second generation guitar maker I am inspired by my father and other guitar makers. My father learned from Jean Larrivée who learned from Edgar Mönch. After building guitars for ten years I went to Géza Burghardt to learn french polishing.
When I was young I attended guitar festivals with my family. It was very encouraging to meet other guitar makers and see their work. At the 1998 Guild of American Luthiers Convention I received a standing ovation for my guitar at a listening session judged by a jury of respected guitar makers. Up until that point my guitars were built using a traditional fan bracing pattern but that guitar was braced using a lattice design my family developed. The lattice provides a superior structure and unifies the top into one vibrating surface. These lattices generally provide the instruments with powerful projection, clear note distinction, and balance between the strings. In addition to tone, as a guitar maker I am concerned with the playability and ergonomics of my instruments. I shape a subtle twist into the necks of my guitars and I find that this twist provides the player with a more natural playing position. I french polish my guitars using a traditional recipe comprised of shellac and other natural resins that improve the durability and luster of the finish.
I am happily married with two beautiful sons. My husband, Patrick Hodgins, is also a guitar maker and we share our days spending time with our kids and being in the workshop. Building a limited number of guitars a year allows me to focus all of my attention on each instrument. In every guitar I build, I aspire to achieve a sound structure with a clean clear tone. Most of all I hope that my instruments inspire the player.