I’m Jim Kozel, a Cleveland-based luthier. I am also a guitarist, songwriter and teacher. Music is the heart and soul of my life. I have been performing my musical stories for well over half a century; setting up, repairing and building instruments for nearly that long. Your instrument needs to fit you like a comfortable old pair of jeans. I approach every repair, setup or commission with that in mind. This website was created as a BLOG space so you can leave comments and ask questions.
Some years back, I wrote a song about a miner in Telluride, Colorado. Here’s an arrangement of “Short Cut” performed at Brent Kirby’s 10×3 at Brother’s Lounge on September 18, 2019. I’m playing my latest Tele creation, the Jimmy-Caster.
As a Cleveland area luthier and performer, I’ve a soft spot for the Fender Jazzmaster. Here’s a video on how this Fender Jazzmaster Classic Player gets its vintage mojo back with a Jazzmaster bridge retrofit, Lindy Fralin pickups, and a personalized setup.
This Strat came into the shop with four stripped neck bolt holes. Here is how it was repaired with rock maple plugs taken from the 90 year old stage floor I salvaged from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Pavilion stage.
It was a treat to perform at Brent Kirby’s 10×3 on June 19th. As a Cleveland area luthier, it’s rare I get to perform with instruments that I restore or repair. But that’s just what happened last night. When the output jack on my archtop failed, Ray Flanagan loaned me his 1923 Gibson L-01. I had done some major crack repair restoration to bring it back to life. Here’s me and the Gibson performing two of mine, “Jessica” and “Neptune Bar & Grill” then an old favorite with everyone singing along.
As Pablo Casals said, “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.” Music is our universal language. All of us appreciate, perform, play it. This is not much of a repair video, but please allow me to introduce you to a present and future voice for our “universal language”. Meeting artists like Damien tempers my cynicism and feeds my hope.
As a Cleveland-area luthier and musician, one of my favorite venues is Brother’s Wine Bar. Every Wednesday night Brent Kirby hosts a 10×3 writers night. Ten acts, each performing at least two original compositions.
The February 13, 2019 10×3 was special in that each performer was assigned the task of writing a new song that incorporated the words “Neptune”, “Tuesday”, “memories”, and “maker”. Here’s my debut performance of, Neptune Bar & Grill.
As a Cleveland-based luthier, I see a wide range of instruments needing everything from a basic setup, to minor repairs and involved restoration. Chad Hoffman’s Gibson J-45 presented an unusual challenge. Damaged at a gig, it required 34″ of crack repair. Here’s how it was done.