My journey to becoming a luthier began when I fell in love with country music as a small child. Inspired by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, by the age of 9 I had picked up the guitar. I was an artsy, introverted kid, and playing the guitar was the first thing I felt that I was good at- this instrument gave me the confidence to express myself in a way I never had before. A couple years later I began playing the cello, and by high school my time was split playing in a church band, post-hardcore and punk bands, and in my high school’s Philharmonic orchestra. In 2006, I had the unique opportunity to travel to New York City and perform at Carnegie Hall for a band and orchestra festival which was a highlight of my adolescent years.
College came, and after changing majors several times, I was in crisis mode wondering what the heck I was going to do with my life. While driving home one day after a particularly difficult Microbiology lab class, my eureka moment came. ‘Repairing and making musical instruments!’ My inner voice shouted at the top of its lungs, ‘that has to be a job I could do!’ I rushed home to my computer and immediately began researching how to make it happen.
I moved to Phoenix in January 2013 to attend the Roberto Venn School of Luthiery. It was at this school in its rigorous 5 month program that I built my first two guitars and confirmed that luthierie would indeed be my life’s passion.
I graduated from the course in June 2013 on a Friday, and began working at Milano Music in Mesa, Arizona the following Monday. Here I spent the first five years of my career repairing all types of instruments, both fretted and orchestral, from beginner to professional quality, and I was a favorite tech amongst the many musicians that brought their instruments in for service. Throughout this time, I acquired additional experience in building my own acoustic guitars, and worked part time as a workshop assistant to luthier Evan Fourness at Fourness Violins in Chandler Arizona, assisting in electric violin making. In 2017, I began the business that what would eventually become Nikki’s Guitar Shop, and I parted ways with Milano Music to pursue a luthier position at Acoustic Vibes Music in 2018. During my time at Acoustic Vibes Music, I was privileged to help with both service and sales of some of the finest acoustic guitars on the market today. Also at this shop, I performed repairs as a Taylor Guitars Silver Level tech and as a Martin Warranty Repair Center.
In November 2020, I took the leap to working in my shop full time as Nikki’s Guitar Shop. I enjoy creating a personal relationship with both player and instrument and providing the finest quality of service. As a lifelong player myself, I realize the deep connection that we have with our instruments, and I fully appreciate the faith a player entrusts in me when they leave an instrument in my care. It is my mission and life’s work to honor that relationship, and offer repairs and restorations with only the finest attention to detail & impeccable craftsmanship.
Josiah picked up the guitar around age thirteen, tuned it up, strummed an Am chord and never looked back. He’d spend his teenage years skateboarding, building skateboard ramps, and playing music. Being a crafty, hands-on type person, his guitars were taken apart and put back together many times, just for fun. He began modding his guitar’s electronics with parts found from Radio Shack. When he acquired an amp head without any speaker cabinet, he decided that making a speaker cabinet from scratch was a wise undertaking, and so began his love of carpentry with a musical purpose.
He began his career by attending the Spring 2009 class at Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, where he built his first acoustic and electric guitar over the intensive five month course. Upon graduation, he had the unique opportunity to join the staff for the Fall 2009 class as a Workshop Assistant, where he completed another acoustic guitar and began helping with wood milling and teaching students. Josiah was asked to join the staff as a full time instructor starting with the Spring 2010 class. His teachings were focused on the acoustic guitar, but he found a love for electronics during the vacuum tube amplifier course as well, which he would later go on to assist teaching. During his teaching career, Josiah taught hundreds of students how to make acoustic guitars, electric guitars and basses, vacuum tube amplifiers, electric guitar pick ups, and effect pedals. After 7 years, Josiah retired from his teaching position and began designing and building handcrafted, one-of-a-kind custom guitars and basses under the name Brother Coyote. Brother Coyote Guitars are locally made here in Mesa Arizona, and his craftsmanship is truly spectacular. You can learn more about Brother Coyote Guitars by contacting us, or visiting BrotherCoyote.com
As a repair tech for Nikki’s Guitar Shop, he enjoys assisting with difficult electronics troubleshoots, creating custom wiring harnesses, making jigs and fixtures, and generally helping out with any other particularly complex repairs where multiple hands are needed.