History of Trinity Guitars: Artifacts Article

Trinity Guitars: A Dream Come True and Growing

Luthier: A person who makes stringed instruments. It took some internet research to find that word actually printed out and defined somewhere. Such a person cannot be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (at least not the online version). However, such a person CAN be found in Jamestown, New York. Jim Holler is that person and his work as a guitar maker is launching him into national and perhaps international recognition as a classical guitar craftsman.

Jim’s interest in guitars began when he was in high school. His interest in working with wood began even earlier when he learned to use the tools in his father’s workshop at the age of six. The two interests finally met about 10 years ago when Jim bought a guitar making business from Don Banzer of Ashtabula, Ohio. Don became ill with cancer and passed away before Jim had the opportunity to learn from him. Jim, however, had already jumped into the craft with the proverbial leap of faith. He had made his first steel-stringed guitar, after inquiring about taking guitar classes in Erie from Marty O’Connor. He knew the price of a good guitar and thought, "I can make one of these!" And so he did, in two months, craft his first guitar, much to the amazement of the teacher.

As his business has grown, Jim has crafted as many as 14 guitars in a year. That was too many, he said, and now he has found that making four to six guitars a year is more realistic as a part time endeavor. Hopes are to go into this full time and build twenty to thirty a year. He balances this with the reality that he works full-time at Bush Industries and has a family, including periodic exchange students, at home.

The name of his business, Trinity Guitars, reflects his belief that this opportunity was presented to him as part of his faith journey. His logo is a dove and a cross in a circle. "The cross is Jesus. The dove is the Holy Spirit. And the circle is the Holy Father, so that makes up the Trinity," he explains. As Jim walks through his studio and talks about the different woods used to create various parts of the guitar, it is clear that he has found his passion in guitar making. He has grown to understand the wood. This is evident as he runs his hands over it explaining that it came from Brazil or Germany or Italy or India. This is what he is meant to be doing with his hands, his head and his heart.

As Jim becomes more known in the world of classical guitarists, his craft finds him making instruments for world-renowned artists like Stanley Yates. About Jim’s guitars Stanley writes: "I really like the guitar you sent me. All in all, this is definitely an instrument to make music on – a rare thing." Chautauqua County classical guitarist and professor at SUNY Fredonia James Piorkowski writes: "I am truly delighted…What strikes me is the richness and clarity of each voice, the power of the basses, and the sustain of the trebles which allow for a singing, lyrical melody." Jim beams at these great references to his work and believes they indicate that his guitars are becoming world known and respected. Jim says, "The business has a difficult market. It is difficult to get a reputation. But I think I’m about to break through."

Jim has experimented with a variety of designs. His engineering background and mind make him inquisitive about newer and better designs. He is currently seeking a patent for a design he created in order to make it easier for the classical guitarist to reach the higher frets. The guitar (pictured here) has a sloped top for ease of access to those frets.

Jim speaks of the leap of faith he took in buying the guitar making business. Along with his personal faith, he is grateful for the help he received from an Artists Fellowship through the United Arts Appeal. The Artist Fellowship helped give him confidence in his decision to build classical guitars.

Those interested in knowing more about Jim Holler’s guitar making skills may attend a special event on April 27 in the Wright Conference Room at the Arts Council for Chautauqua County, 116 E. Third St, Jamestown. From 2 – 3 pm there will be a display of guitars, tools, and works in process in the conference room. After 3 pm, there will be a recital in the Infinity Performing Arts Learning Lab directly beneath the conference room. The recital will include performances by the Fredonia Guitar Quartet with Dennis Repino, Michael Maloney, Tim Courtney and Jason Priset. Dennis Repino will also be performing solo. Suzuki Strings Performers on the guitar will include James Magee, Caleb Johnson and Isaac Byard. The public is invited to all these events.

Trinity Guitars is located on Camp St Extension in Jamestown.

United Arts Appeal Supports Local Artists

Jim Holler is one of many Chautauqua County artists who have benefitted from receiving an Artists Fellowship through the generosity of those who contribute to the United Arts Appeal. In addition to providing funding for local artists and small organizations supporting the arts, the United Arts Appeal supports the ten largest arts organizations in t he county. The 2003 United Arts Appeal Campaign is currently underway and seeking support from area business and organizations as well as individuals. To support the United Arts Appeal, please call Heather at 664.2465 ext 0

Artifacts Online is a monthly publication of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County
116 E. Third St.,
Jamestown, New York 14701
716.664.2465 716.661.3829 (fax)
Mission Statement: Recognizing that a community which encourages, supports and fosters the arts empowers its citizens to think, work and live creatively, the Arts Council for Chautauqua County works to provide an environment in which the arts thrive.

Acting Executive Director....Keith Schmitt
President....Sue Jones
Board Members....Elizabeth Bush, Michael Flaxman, Donna Hampton, Susan Jones, Kurt Maytum, Edward Mc Fadden, Marty Merkley, Greg Moore, Rhonda Sample, Carol Smith and Jake Warner
Editor....Maggie Monroe-Cassel
Web Designer....Oliver Dow
Art Designer....Nathan Arnone
Volume 27, Number 3 Copyright 2002 - Arts Council for Chautauqua County Artical used with premission

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