J. Kennedy Guitar Repair

About Us

Justin Kennedy, Luthier

"Guitarists like me because I don't let my personal biases get in the way. I let geometry, physics, and the individual players' preferences guide my work. Bassists like me because I don't treat their instrument like a second-class citizen."

Luthier Justin Kennedy is a Fender Gold and Taylor Silver Certified luthier that has been fixing, tweeking, modifying, and improving guitars since his parents bought him his first bass guitar in 1993 (which he promptly took apart and reassembled). Justin’s repair and technical skills were taught by years of guidance by world renowned guitar tech Tom Weber (Van Halen, Poison, Nine Inch Nails, Reba McEntire, The Cult, Billy Corgan, Bush, Dio, and more) in Cincinnati, and master luthier Matt Friedman of Acacia Instruments in Southampton, PA. At the age of 15 Justin was introduced to Tom Weber who expanded his instrument knowledge base with helpful tips and first hand examples thanks in part to Tom not kicking Justin out of his shop even though he had stayed there way too long ("Justin, don't you have homework you should be doing?" -Tom Weber circa 1997). With that experience, coupled with reading every bit of tech advice in guitar and bass magazines he could find (this was pre-internet), Justin began working on friends' and bandmates' instruments in his late teens. In his early 20s he began his tutelage with Matt Friedman focusing on custom lutherie. After a short time spent building instruments Justin turned his focus to learning repairs, again returning to Tom Weber's shop to learn ("Justin, don't you have a job you should be at?" -Tom Weber Circa 2005).

In early 2009 Justin opened his first commercial location inside the Toedtman School of Music, then went to work as the in-house guitar guy at Chrome Dome Audio where he stayed until mid 2011. In July 2011 he moved into his first stand-alone shop in Fairfield, Ohio (the 'ol Commercial Dr. shop) where he stayed until mid-2017. After 6 years spent building a dedicated client base and training assistants Joe Bartone and Nick Blasky in the tiny shop on Commercial Drive, Justin moved his shop to a larger facility to better facilitate custom guitar manufacturing and more efficient work flow on repairs. Officially opening in August 2017, J. Kennedy Guitar Repair now operates at its current Centre Park Drive location serving as a full service custom lutherie and guitar repair shop.

Justin has worked on guitars for Walk The Moon, Fleet Foxes, Umphrey's Mcgee, Freekbass, For Today, Taproot, Smile Empty Soul, Public, The Griswalds, members of Bootsy Collins'  Rubber Band, and members of Megan Trainor's band. Justin has operated as Walk the Moon's touring guitar tech, and has also guitar tech'd for Jackson Browne, Tal Winkenfeld, and The National. Justin's guitar building alter ego is Bridge Builder Instruments, where he builds insane guitars and basses. Additionally, Justin has played bass for Cincinnati based bands Lift the Medium, Atlantis Becoming, and Pluto Revolts.

Joseph Bartone, Luthier/technician
Joe began working at J. Kennedy Guitar Repair part time as Justin's assistant in 2013. Doing nearly all of his training in-house has tailored Joe's skill set to be virtually identical to Justin's, and his work is of the highest quality. Specializing in finish work, set ups, nut replacement/repair, acoustic saddle work, and fretwork, Joe's attention to detail is apparent to many of our customers, as nearly every guitar passes through his hands at some point while at the shop. Joe's "fret-prints" have been felt on hundreds of instruments throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding areas. Joe is a Silver certified Taylor Guitars repair tech, and many of the Taylor Guitars that come through the shop end up on his bench at some point during their stay. Joe currently plays guitar for the Cincinnati based band Lift the Medium, and has previously played for the West Coast based band House of Floyd (Pink Floyd tribute), and Cincinnati based bands Atlantis Becoming and Patchwork.

Tiernan McKinney, Luthier/technician
Tiernan Started working at J. Kennedy Guitar Repair in July of 2019. He studied lutherie at the Guitar Craft Academy at Musician's Institute in Nashville, TN where he graduated in June of 2019. He is a Fender Silver Certified technician, and has previously worked for Gibson and Washburn Guitars. Tiernan can do nearly everything in the shop, from routing and high level woodworking, to finish touch ups, fret-work, and final set up. Tiernan also builds custom guitars and basses (his crazy shaped 7 string guitar projects have been a staple of shop "decorating" since he started). Tiernan also works for local schools in their music education programs and plays bass in the band Mask of the Charlatan.

Nick Blasky, Technician
Nick began working at J. Kennedy Guitar Repair in early 2017, focusing on set ups and fretwork. Prior to working for J. Kennedy Guitar Repair Nick won recognition from the NAMM Association for his work setting up ukuleles for Amahi Ukeleles. A naturally gifted musician and multi-instrumentalist, Nick has played both bass and drums for many Cincinnati based bands. He can also play nearly any Rush song you can name on guitar, making him cool to musicians, but a hopeless dork to everybody else. 

Warranty Service 
The Fender Family of brands (Fender, Squier, Gretsch, Jackson, Charvel, EVH)
Taylor Guitars
Stonefield Instruments
BC Rich
Michael Kelly
US Music family of brands
KMC family of brands

J. Kennedy Guitars & Repair is excited to help you keep your instrument maintained at its peak shape to help you get the most out of your guitar so you can hone your musical potential!

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