"Mr. Joe Hamilton is one of a rare breed of artists who puts so much love and soul into their work. Joe is a player, so he makes sure that his instruments are great to play. They are incredible! God bless you, Joe"
"Joe, I just wanted you to know how much I'm digging the 5 string!! The spalted maple top was a KILLER choice!! I've owned a dozen or so basses over the years, but none have compared to the quality, detail, playability and the variety of tones you can dial in. Thank you for involving me in every step of the process!! Keep up the great work and God Bless!!"
Joe, I want to thank you for the phenomenal acoustic guitar that you built for me. This is the best sounding guitar that I have ever heard. It's beauty and quality craftsmanship surpassed my greatest expectations and that's saying something since I pride myself on being a pretty tough grader. This guitar not only brings me great joy daily but it challenges me to grow as a musician. Your artistry and musical talent is truly inspiring.
This guitar has such significance and importance to me because it was built in my hometown of LaGrange, Georgia. A town that I am very proud to have been raised. It truly will become a family heirloom. One that I will cherish as will my children and grandchildren for many years to come.
Thank you for the love, care, and attention to detail that you put into this magnificent instrument. Thank you for the scripture inscribed on the underside of the soundboard. You utilize the gifts that God has given you to spread joy and happiness to others.
I would recommend to everyone who plays a guitar to purchase a J. Hamilton guitar. It is more than a musical instrument. It is an artful conduit spreading joy and happiness to all of those who hear its sound. Thank you Joe. "
Charlotte, North Carolina
What Players have to say...
"My son asked Joe to make me a custom guitar for my retirement from 45 years of military service.
Though I had never seen one of Joe's guitars, I had heard that he was among the best in the business of custom guitars and basses. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that what I had heard didn't do justice to Joe's character and craftmanship.
Joe worked with me to select my preference for every detail of the guitar and kept me informed of his progress through emails, photos, and phone calls. I am delighted with my guitar and rank it the best of the 15 or so guitars that I have owned over the years. I am proud to know Joe and proud to own a guitar made by a true craftsman. It will bring pride and entertainment to me and my family for years to come and unlike many possessions, it will never be for sale."
I met Joe through my buddy Tim, who informed me that I could get a custom bass built to my liking and specifications. I spoke to Joe, who sent photos of his latest acoustic 6 string build. The build was cool, but I was WAY more interested in the meticulously placed tools on the walls in the background of each photo. I grew up in a basement shop, the son of a woodworking Air Force Colonel... lathe and everything, so I knew what this meant. He was not going to screw this up...a short time later, a stunning red/white and blue flamed maple Classic PJ bass arrived...whoa. I played it exclusively for over a year...I think it began to wear on my bandmates because a Joe Hamilton T bass arrived the following year. Both have Curtis Novak pickups which do not suck, at all. I love both of my Joe Hamilton basses and you will too!
Don't be a schmoe!
Get a bass from Joe!
Joe is a very gifted musician and craftsman who is very attentive to detail. His musicianship showcases that as well as my Modern Artist 5 String. I have had the privilege of playing alongside this guy for years and I trust his opinion, skills and heart. He was very accommodating in helping me choose the best electronics, wood, scale and so much more, to achieve the tone, options and playability that I was looking for. I absolutely love this bass. It plays like butter, sounds like heaven, and looks like beauty. Thanks Joe for your attention to the details.
(Cubed Roots, Alabama Shakes, the Heavy)
Joe is an elite Luthier equal to the finest craftsmen in the world. From the planning of each Guitar to the selection of the wood for the body, neck and fretboard. Everything is done to a perfectionist standard to create the Guitar each customer has envisioned. Once this has been achieved he then works on creating the perfect finish to bring out the beauty of the wood completing the ultimate quality Guitar!
Scott "Natas" Oppenhagen
For those who prefer to buy a guitar from a trusted source, Joe is that man. Joe and I talked when he came over to our home to bring me the case and I am convinced of the following... Joe Hamilton knows guitars. He knows how one should feel and how one should sound. He knows how to play one and he knows how to build one. More importantly, he believes that God put this love of guitar crafting into his heart. And he puts his heart into each J. Hamilton guitar.
I own a lot of guitars but they are just guitars. However, I am most proud to say I own a J. Hamilton "Elizabeth". Thanks Joe.
For my 5th wedding anniversary my wife Barbara gave me a J. Hamilton "Elizabeth" guitar. She and Joe conspired to keep this a secret from me and they both managed to do so for the many months that it took for Joe to build this beautiful instrument.
For those who admire a guitar for its beauty alone, let me say that I've never seen a more beautiful one. The inlays and pick-up rings are made from the old floor at the LaGrange College gym, my alma mater. The finish is stunning.
For those who admire a guitar for the way that it plays, let me just say that it plays like butter. The action is perfect. The tone from the humbuckers is smooth with all the tone variations any player would ever need. The finish is flawless. The feel of the guitar is perfect. The sustain goes on and on and on...and the J. Hamilton embroidered ultra flight worthy case could withstand any mishap I've ever imagined.
It was an absolute privilege to work with Joe and fulfill a dream of creating a hand-crafted and 'one of a kind' bass guitar. I researched many options for building a unique instrument. After speaking with Joe and talking through some initial thoughts and ideas, I knew I had found a luthier that was going to be accessible, professional, and attentive to details and quality. Joe was a complete joy to work with and he put his heart and soul into the instrument.
The build process was exciting and watching the instrument come to life through a Facebook thread, was very cool. Joe and I communicated frequently on specs and different ideas as the project moved forward. He was always patient and prompt in responding to my questions. I felt like the build was a true partnership, ultimately leading to an absolutely stunning and unique bass guitar, which I actively use in the musical worship ministry at my church.
Joe crafted an instrument that is incredibly smooth to play, looks amazing and produces incredible tone. I can't imagine a more positive or satisfying experience than working with Joe Hamilton!
There is something very special about owning your own custom built guitar. Watching the blanks of wood turn into a beautiful sounding musical instrument gives you a feeling that no “off the shelf” guitar can offer. Knowing that you were involved in every step of bringing the guitar to life will give you a sense of satisfaction that will last a lifetime. I have had the pleasure of this experience when Joe Hamilton built my OM-Custom acoustic.
The craftsmanship of my J Hamilton guitar is impeccable. The attention to detail is remarkable. Joe would send pictures of each stage of the construction so I could monitor the progress. Little things mean a lot when you are talking about an instrument that you expect to play for the rest or your life. Making decisions like off-setting the fret markers, or deciding to not install pick guard, makes the experience very rewarding on a personal level. The way a guitar looks and plays are very important, but the sound is king.
The tone of my guitar is what sets it apart !from any other guitar I’ve owned. The notes ring clear with the right amount of duration and separation. The intonation makes playing up and down the fret board a pleasing experience to the ear. I often use a capo and there is absolutely no problem with the guitar staying in tune regardless of where I have the capo placed on the neck. Best of all, you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy a custom built guitar.
I could go on about the aesthetics, playability, and sound quality, but if I had to choose one word to describe how I feel about my guitar I would say, “inspirational.” The guitar inspires you to become a better player. If music is something magical for you and you delight in simply sounding good whether or not you are playing in front of an audience, then I would encourage you to check out a J Hamilton guitar.
Thank Joe for an excellent musical experience
I went to a Blackberry Smoke concert and saw Charlie Starr playing a 335 style guitar with a unique fan tail inlay. I thought this was a beautiful, unique guitar and after some online research I found out that it was an "Elizabeth" model made by a guy named Joe Hamilton out of LaGrange, GA. I had never heard of him but loved his take on this classic design. I contacted Joe and we talked about woods and tone and about what I was looking for in a guitar and I felt like Joe understood where I was coming from. Joe listened -- but more than that I felt that Joe really cared about his craft. I could tell he put his heart and soul into the guitars he builds. During the build process Joe kept in constant contact, sending me pictures of the progress, asking questions about details concerning bindings or patinas or headstock veneers or pickup rings. Every little detail was discussed and addressed.
After a few months my guitar was done and when I opened the case I was blown away. It looked better than the pictures Joe had sent. He nailed the finish and patina I was after but still ahead were the big tests.......how did it play and how did it sound? I generally like to play an electric guitar unplugged first because IMHO if it doesn't sound great acoustically its not going to sound great through an amp. After a few strums I decided this guitar was going to be a winner. Each string and each note rang out, it played like buttah, it was very responsive to pick attack and it had sustain for days. Once I plugged it into an amp it confirmed what I heard acoustically. It was a great one. I don't know how he did it (maybe he has some "magic tone dust") but somehow Joe managed to create an instrument that makes me want to leave all my other guitars in the closet. He created a world class instrument that inspires me to play better and I get licks out of it that I never knew I had.
Buying a custom made guitar can be a great experience if you buy it from the right builder or it can a miserable experience, with thousands of dollars on the line, if you don't choose the right builder. Joe proved to be the right builder. He is an exceptional individual and a luthier of amazing talents who might just have a secret stash of "magic tone dust" waiting for your guitar in that "shack outside La Grange."
First, I'd like to say what a pleasure it was to work with you. Part of the fun of the process was communicating with you and watching our conversations come to life in wood and metal form. In an era of CNC machines and parts for the masses, it was refreshing to work closely with a true artisan to create something as cool and full of soul as the Coy Junior you built for me! The end result was nothing short of amazing. Everything I thought I wanted and some things I never thought of combined to make the exact guitar I was looking for. Here is just a short list of what makes this build stand out over any other guitar I own:
I like simple guitars. I'm in love with one pickup, no frills, Junior style builds that are chock full of tone, versatility, and attitude! I wanted this guitar to resonate like an old 50's single cut with a neck that maintained that eras fullness and roundness only slightly smaller and faster yet not 60's flat. I was looking for a woody vintage P90 tone that with a roll of the volume knob could go from rockin' to a clean tele-ish quack. Needless to say you nailed it! The neck carve is perfect for my hands and the contoured neck joint allows me to comfortably play higher up on the fretboard than other of my other Juniors. The custom rosewood stinger added a super nice touch and is way cooler than a painted version. The old mahogany wood choice and Tyson Tone Lab P90 are unreal and this thing resonates for days and sounds better than my vintage guitars! This guitar feels like an old friend that I've played for twenty years and really captures that old school vibe! I have it out of the case and on a stand and it's hard to walk by it without picking it up. It's the one that inspires me to play! Thanks again for all you do and I look forward to adding another J.Hamilton to my collection! P.S. I'm loving those Elizabeth's! -Ernie Beckwith