Joe Veillette (born March 13, 1946), is a luthier and the owner of Veillette Guitars. He specializes in the crafting of unusual and innovative handmade guitars, basses, and other stringed instruments. Veillette's client list includes John Sebastian, James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, Dave Mathews, John Mayer, Kaki King, Neal Schon, and Eddie Van Halen.
Veillette is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He studied architecture at City College of New York, and was subsequently employed as an architectural designer on Park Avenue. He took a class in guitar-making in 1971, which was taught by legendary luthier Michael Gurian. Veillette's goal was to apply what he learned in the class to fix a broken headstock on his Gibson J-45. He became so interested in guitar building that he teamed up with fellow architectural student Harvey Citron, and formed Veillette-Citron in 1976.
Veillette-Citron collaborated with John Sebastian to develop and market the first production baritone guitar. Veillette-Citron pioneered neck-thru-body construction, made innovations in instrument electronics, and set new trends in modern electric bass design. Early Veillete-Citron instruments are rare and highly sought-after as a result of their excellence in craftsmanship and innovative designs. The company moved from Brooklyn to Kingston NY in 1976, but the partnership dissolved in 1983.
Veillette formed Woodstock Music Products in 1991, in partnership with bass-maker Stuart Spector. One of Veillette's innovations developed during the partnership was the Deep-6 neck, which allowed a baritone conversion for Fender-style instruments. Veillette, in conjunction with bass-maker Michael Tobias, developed the Avante line of instruments for Alvarez. The Veillette/Spector partnership ended in 1994.
Veillette then established Veillette Guitars, in Woodstock NY. He has focused on making unusual instruments, rather than trying to compete in a saturated market of OEM clone-makers. One of his most notable guitars is the Gryphon, which is an 18.5 scale, 12-string guitar that can be played to sound like a mandolin.
Veillette is an accomplished musician, and has worked as a session guitarist and singer. He appeared on Krishna Das' 2005 album All One, featuring Walter Becker on bass, drummer Rick Allen, tabla player Ty Burhoe, and guitarist/composer David Nichtern. He had also performed on albums by John Sebastian, Jorma Kaukonen, and Manowar.
- Eck, Michael (Winter 2010). "Alchemy; Joe Veillette unleashed the magical energy of wood". The Fretboard Journal 20: 78.
- Kotapish, Paul (November 2007). Veillette Acoustic Gryphon High 12 Review, A striking, high-tuned 12-string that stakes out new tone territory. Acoustic Guitar.
- Rorick, Baker (November 1997). Sculptured Beauties, The Age Of Veillette-Citron Guitars. Guitar Shop. p. 84.
- Thomas, Bob (April 2009). Veillette Gryphon High 12, Acoustic 12-string. Performing Musician Magazine.