Joe Veillette

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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 diverse client list includes John Sebastian, James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, Dave Mathews, John Mayer, Jorma Kaukonen, Steve Miller, Todd Rundgren, Chris Martin, Jimmy Vivino, Tim Pierce, Colin Hay, David Torn, Brian May, Kaki King, Neal Schon, Mike McCready, Eddie Van Halen and other notable players.

Veillette is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at City College of New York, and was subsequently employed as an architectural designer on Park Avenue. He took a class in guitar-making, taught by legendary luthier Michael Gurian in 1971, to learn how to repair the broken headstock on his Gibson J-45. He became interested in guitar building and teamed up with fellow architectural student Harvey Citron, and formed Veillette-Citron in 1976.[1][2]

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. The partnership lasted until 1983.[3]

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.[4] 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 - a short (18.5.1”) scale 12 string guitar tuned D-D in unison courses, almost a full octave above standard tuning. This instrument can be played to sound like a mandolin, bouzouki, cuatro, and other traditional folk instruments. Veillette licensed production of his acoustic Gryphon model as a high quality import from Korea, and revived the Avante name to market this instrument as well as versions of the acoustic baritone 6 and 12 string he is also known for. [5][6]

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.


  1. ^ Eck, Michael (Winter 2010). "Alchemy; Joe Veillette unleashed the magical energy of wood". The Fretboard Journal. 20: 78. 
  2. ^ Kotapish, Paul (November 2007). "Veillette Acoustic Gryphon High 12 Review, A striking, high-tuned 12-string that stakes out new tone territory". Acoustic Guitar. 
  3. ^ Rorick, Baker (November 1997). "Sculptured Beauties, The Age Of Veillette-Citron Guitars". Guitar Shop: 84. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Bob (April 2009). "Veillette Gryphon High 12, Acoustic 12-string". Performing Musician Magazine. 
  5. ^ Gore, Joe (March 2015). "Veillette Avante Gryphon Review". Premier Guitar: 78. 
  6. ^ Brown, Pete (March 2015). "Avante Gryphon, Game Changer?". Vintage Guitar Magazine. 

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