Jimmy Smith


Meet Jimmy Smith — guitar player, guitar teacher, guitar repairman, and guitar builder extraodinnaire. Not only is he great guitar enthusiast, he’s a master craftsman, studio tech and all around nice guy who loves Fender Stratocasters and their shapely features.

After playing in a band through the eighties, where he maintained all the instruments and built sets for the band, Jimmy started repairing instruments, and building his own guitars. He opened for business in Olympia, Washington in 1999 before he and his wife, Lisa, moved his business to the Durango, Colorado area a couple of years later. They finally relocated to Corrales, New Mexico in 2009 as GRS Music.

Jimmy changed the name of the business to The StratAcademy around 2016, and moved to the current location on Corrales Road a year ago. The StratAcademy is made up of a small retail space, his repair shop, a music studio for practice, lessons and recording, and a larger shop where Jimmy builds guitars and holds seminars on building guitars where students build their own solid body electric guitars from scratch under Jimmy’s tutelage.


Jimmy likes to experiment with different woods and materials for guitar bodies and necks. He is experimenting with Oriented Strand Board (OSB), commonly known as flake board, to build guitars. This is the second OSB guitar he is building with a Les Paul style body. He built a Strat style guitar out of OSB which will have its own post after Jimmy finishes a video of him playing it so we can hear how it sounds.

Jimmy explaining the OSB process.
OSB neck for the OSB Les Paul.


This body is made of a hardwood that is very lightweight. It feels like a hard balsa wood. You can see neck and body templates in the shelves behind Jimmy.

A Texas Flag Telecsater body Jimmy got from a pawn shop.
Jimmy made this body out of 2x4s used to frame buildings.

Stay tuned for more about the StratAcademy.


21 thoughts on “Jimmy Smith

  1. Hmmm … custom made, strat-type guitars. The guitar body made from OSB board sounds interesting and the one made with 2 x 4.

    I have a pair of Fender strats, a Martin acoustic 6-string, a Taylor acoustic 6-string (built-in pick-up) and an Ibanez acoustic 10-string. The Ibanez is the most expensive and a tad unusual with the 10 strings. While Andrea is the piano and keyboard (Yamaha S 70 XS) player, she’ll occasionally play a guitar. That rounds out our music department. 🙂

  2. Another great piece of this story. I must have driven by his shop many times – maybe it’s time to stop in.

  3. Oh I love this. My brother builds guitars too and sells them on eBay. Jimmy looks like he has quite a work shop. I love how he has all the bodies made up and in rows. He’s creating a band with his hands. So cool (◡‿◡✿)

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