About Kal-Tone


Kal-Tone is a full service (and full time) stringed instrument workshop. We build our own guitars from board lumber and repair/restore acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, double bass, lap steel, etc. We also wind our own pickups, in house 3D CAD design, use a small CNC where precision is critical, and provide insurance evaluations and appraisals.

We are available Tuesday through Friday from 11-6.

Our days are busy making sure scheduled repairs are promptly completed on time, running loud/dusty machines while crafting our guitars, and we are occasionally taken out of the shop for various business needs.

Appointments are available if you require detailed evaluations.

Call/text/email to set a time.

Most basic repairs can be completed within 2-3 business days.



Kal-Tone (originally named “The Kalamazoo Guitar Shop”) was established in 2014 by Ry Charters and Jay Gavan  when Ry was moving back home from Seattle, where he had been managing the Dusty Strings repair shop. The first location was at 248 N Kalamazoo Mall from June 2014-16.


Co-Owner and Luthier. A professional guitar-maker since 1998, his broad experience in repairing, designing, and building stringed instruments is at your service. Educated by Gibson designers/luthiers, he has run several workshops, worked on historic museum pieces, and is now focused on creating a new era of guitar-making in Kalamazoo.
Learn more about Ry and see examples of his work at https://chartersguitars.wordpress.com/

Jay Gavan is an experienced Kalamazoo musician who also worked for Heritage Guitars in whitewood and finishing.
Years spent as a craftsman with Heritage Guitar, Inc., as a teacher of history, and as a multi-instrumentalist and recording artist have given Jay an eclectic range of experiences.

Karl Freye started his lutherie work at Brian Galloup’s school in the 90s, followed by an apprenticship in PA, and years of servicing music store’s repairs in the Kalamazoo area. He joined up with us in 2016.
Eliot Kuttner joined in 2015 as a full time apprentice and is bringing Kal-Tone into the modern era of CAD drafting and CNC technology.