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Matt Shimala

My path to lutherie combines my experience from past professions with my love for music. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, where I Iearned guitar at 11 years old. I played in bands throughout high school and college, eventually relocating to Colorado to play professionally in a three-piece rock band. During this time, I also worked in the lumber industry and an environmental testing lab. Eventually, I merged the skills I learned from these three different professions and began repairing and restoring guitars in my spare time.

In 2010, I moved to Massachusetts and worked for Steve Connor at Connor Guitars, where I learned the craftsmanship of fine, custom, classical guitars. I received formal training at Vermont Instruments and began building steel-stringed guitars. I also founded Southcoast Guitar Repair and have had the opportunity to repair, restore, and play many vintage guitars. I have an ear and an eye for these classic instruments and seek to pay homage to their structure and sound by building contemporary versions. Currently, I build and restore guitars in my workshop in coastal New Bedford, Massachusetts.

In the lumber industry, I learned the characteristics of domestic and exotic species of wood and developed the skills for reading grain and structure. From my experience as a working musician, I understand the elements that contribute to a guitar’s playability. Lutherie is the perfect mix of discovery, problem-solving, and creation. It involves chemistry, art, engineering, music, woodworking, and, of course, guitars. My guitar-building mission is simple: I build guitars that not only sound and look beautiful but are a joy to play. I choose wood for its strength, tonal qualities, and aesthetic appeal, and I use modern lutherie techniques that make my instruments durable and easy to play. Check out my current models and contact me to discuss custom options.

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