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“Testimonials work great. Showing your reviews in quotes has a powerful effect on customers and makes them trust you.”

— Name, Title

I’ve played Martin, Gibson, Guild, Mossman, Pearne, a host of small luthier brands, and for the last eight years, Larrivee (I still believe that it is almost impossible to find a bad Larrivee, which is amazing for a large producer of acoustic guitars), so I am saying something when I say that this is the best guitar I’ve ever played or heard.

It is completely balanced, with an unusually present bass response (for a small bodied guitar). It projects beautifully yet has no dead or muffled spots when amplified (that is partly the workings of the Fishman Rare Earth blend but bracing does play a part in this when an internal mic is involved). It is equally effective when played with fingers and flat-picks (of which I use many, made of different materials). The neck (this is a 12-fret model) allows for the full range of playing, wide enough to allow for a relaxed left hand, yet thin enough (top to bottom) to make playing quickly a snap. The fretwork is exceptional, as well.

This guitar is also beautiful. Really beautiful, with lovely, understated binding, and woods. It is a measure of just how great a Luthier Matt Shimala is that the physical beauty of his work is the last thing to be mentioned.

I have now played enough shows to know. In 45 years of playing, I’ve never played a better guitar.

I have had Matt Shimala build two custom guitars for me. A Costello model and a Hensley model. The Costello fills my 00 niche just perfectly. Amazingly responsive with balance, volume and string separation that is almost impossible to find in these smaller bodied guitars. The construction is flawless. I asked for a French polish finish and I’m thrilled I did…I feel it adds a depth to the guitar that a nitrocellulose finish wouldn’t allow. The second guitar Matt built for me is one of his Hensley models. This is a bold statement but I say it with complete conviction. This is the finest sounding guitar I have heard in my 60 years of playing. You often hear “piano like” descriptions tossed about when attempting to describe a guitar’s presence. This guitar is not “piano like,” it is “orchestra like.” From bass through mid tones to trebles the guitar absolutely sings. I am a bare finger player and eliciting volume and tone from this guitar is effortless. I won’t go on other than to say there is not a price you could offer that would get this guitar from my possession. It is truly a lifetime instrument. If you are thinking of purchasing a new instrument do yourself a favor, consult with Matt before you do anything else. 

-Rich Duby

Matt, it’s such a playable instrument. It brings me such joy to play it, to hear it. The pickup works great with the pre amp. On behalf of everyone with ears, thank you for such a treasure.

Well, I went over and over the guitar. The details and craftsmanship appear flawless to me. You are an amazing artist. 


 Mike Mahoney

Pearly Baker Band

Photo Credit: Shelli Pereira

I own a guitar made by Matt Shimala . . .it’s a Costello model with a Rosewood back and sides and a spectacular top made of old growth, Adirondack Spruce that was cut down to live its life as a guitar back when I was in college . . . it is a spectacular instrument with a simple, understated elegance that people notice even as it emerges from its case.   

It has been said that a sign of a great instrument is that it changes how you play . . . how and what you hear as a musician . . . it becomes your partner in making your music.  This guitar resonated as a fingerstyle guitar.  I now play fingerstyle and know that this guitar has influenced how I play almost all of my instruments.

This is, in part true, because I play it more often, in more places, than any of my other instruments. It seems to follow me . . . never far out of reach.

I love the way it plays and how it sounds . . . it doesn’t limit imagination.  It fills any room with booming tones that are equally rich across and down the neck.  

I believe you can find the builder in the build of great instruments. This guitar was clearly made by Matt. . . the builder and the guitar he built balance a voice of creative, intelligent engineering and an understated presence rich in artistic vision.

-Bob Bowen

Shimala Costello.  Impromptu shop blues!

— Quinn Sullivan

“This is me playing a handful of my songs on a Trygg model.  I was honored to play the concert series 'The Shed' at a wonderful music store called Symphony Music .”

-Matt Shimala


“I started bringing my guitars to Matt Shimala back around 2015, it began with simple setups and action adjustments.  Not long after I brought Matt my old Les Paul Jr which had the headstock broken off just above the nut, needless to say the repair was impeccable.  After that all my instrument repairs are performed only by Matt.


Now Matt has built an amazing electric guitar  for me, called The Frick.  I have many beloved Gibsons, and Fenders, however, this instrument built by Matt has instantly become my favorite and most playable instrument in my collection.  The playability, artistry, and intonation are absolutely second to none.  One of the most amazing instruments I have ever played.  This particular Frick is based on the wiring configuration of Peter Framptons's famous 1954 Les Paul Custom which was later converted to a three-pickup model.  With the classic 57 pickups this guitar can go from a beautiful jazz box sound to an all-out growl.  A truly unbelievable instrument..............Thank you so much Matt!

Sincerely, David Stanton”

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