December 02, 2016

Lake Effect Guitars is headed up by owner Paul Jollineau. Paul has been building for four years. Paul loves the technical aspects of acoustic, electric, and bass guitars.

What inspired you to become a luthier?  It started out as a hobby when I was collecting older models of Fender basses. I found that I needed to buy a few that were in pretty rough shape. As time went on, I started doing some repair work on the side for friends. My career was in the motorcycle industry being with Kawasaki Motors Corp.,U.S.A. in Irvine, CA. for 35 years. 

Lake Affect Guitars
As I started to prepare for retirement I realized that opening a guitar repair business was what I wanted to do after retirement. This allowed me to combine my technical skills with my love for music.   Before retiring from Kawasaki, I wanted to gain a formal education in the technical aspects of guitar building and repair. I attended the Guitar Craft Academy at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, graduating in the fall of 2014. Prior to graduating, I opened my guitar repair business in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

In 2015, my wife and I relocated to our home state of Michigan and I opened my guitar business here. I hadn’t planned to do any building. One day my father-in-law told me he had some northern ash available for me if I wanted it for guitar building. That was the spark I needed to get started, especially with the wood grown locally. In the summer of 2016, I started building my own brand of Lake Effect Guitars.

What kind of customer do you build for?  My initial target customer is guitar and bass players in the great lakes region of the U.S. I am producing a simple straight forward model that is designed to give a clean, noise free sound. It is my own body design and I plan to emphasize the regional local wood source and manufacturing location. Also, I use quality components with the desire to build a very reliable guitar for a gigging or studio musician.

Clients of Note:  My most notable client is in the repair part of my business. Stacy Heydon who is now a music producer in Orange County, CA was the lead guitar player for David Bowie during the Golden Years Tour. I did the setup and repair work on his recording studio guitars.

What are your favorite materials and finishes to work with?  I use one piece ash to build my bodies. I use a stain finish with a polyurethane clear coat. For the necks I use maple with either a rosewood, ebony, or maple fretboard. Necks are finished with Tru-Oil. Pickups for my guitar builds are exclusively the Nordstrand Shush Puppy. I use a standard wind in the neck position and a hot wind in the bridge position. For bass models, I plan to use Nordstrand Jazz Bars.

Why Nordstrand?  I started out as a customer looking for a pickup set for a Fender Mustang bass that I was working on. In a search, I found the NM4 offered by Nordstrand Pickups. I ordered and installed the set and was very happy. Because of this experience, I decided to try a  NJ4SV in a Jazz Bass I was working on. I was thrilled with it’s noise free tone.

Upon getting my repair business started, I wanted to have inventory of a quality pickup that I could recommend and install for customers. Because of my own experience, I contacted Nordstrand about being a dealer. That was also a positive experience and Adrian got me setup with my initial order. I appreciated Nordstrand’s willingness to work with a small shop to get started. When I picked up my order, I met Carey, Stew, and Mo also. When you have a company like Nordstrand to work with that provides a great product and a great relationship, that is the best. As it turned out, my contact with Mo extended to Musicians Institute also as he was an instructor there while I was attending.

Learn more about Lake Effect Guitars at

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