T. James Ellsberry - Maker of Fine Archtop Guitars
Jim Ellsberry At the Shop Jim Ellsberry performance Performance Shop Assistant Assistant

T. James Ellsberry


I started playing acoustic guitar at the age of 13, and two years later built an electric guitar from scratch. I cut and carved the neck and body from raw blocks of wood. My father helped with the electronics, and we even wound our own pickups from local hardware store components.

Throughout high school and college, I played guitar, performing in small clubs and other music venues. After graduating college, a career in aerospace and management consulting followed.

Today I've returned to making guitars. My love of traditional jazz has focused my building around the archtop guitar, the instrument favored by so many of our great jazz guitarists.


Phoenix, AZ - 2003
- Studied with Phoenix luthier Rob Sanderson

Roberto-Venn / Frank Ford - 2003
workshop in guitar restoration and repair presented by Frank Ford

Tom Ribbecke - 2005
- archtop building course with Tom at his Healdsburg, CA workshop

Tom Ribbecke - 2006
- my second workshop with Tom, a continuation of the 2005 studies


I strive to create archtop guitars with sound qualities that are, first of all, acoustically rich and full. My instruments are based on both guitar and violin making traditions, yet I'm always looking for new ways to expand the range and overall expression of this great instrument. I'm drawn to the timeless and classic look of the archtop, yet I'm driven build instruments that offer the guitarist a modern and unique playing experience.


  • The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE)
  • The Guild of American Luthiers (GAL)
  • The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA)
  • Founding member and 2005 President of Stringed Instrument Makers of Southern California (SIMSCal), a guild of 30+ guitar makers in the Southern California area.