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.


Lunar Eclipse


This is the super moon eclipse from full moon through the full eclipse. We’ve had varying cloud cover tonight, and as it got closer to the full eclipse, the clouds became more dense almost completely blocking out the moon. They thinned out a little at the maximum eclipse, but the eclipsed moon was fuzzy looking through the clouds.

Route 66 on Route 66


I have posted pieces of this mural in the past, but I don’t think I ever posted a panorama of it before. The mural is on the north facing wall of a condemned building on 2nd Street and Central Ave (Old Route 66), across from the street from the Sunshine Building in Downtown Albuquerque. I remember years ago there were offices in the building. The interior is split into two levels. When you walked in the front door, you faced the floor of the upper level at about eye level. Depending on where the offices were, you either had to go up stairs to the upper level or downstairs to the lower level.


Jimmy Smith’s 16 feet long Fender Stratocaster with a real Strat for scale.

When I first saw the giant, 16 foot long, exact replica of a Fender Stratocaster that Jimmy Smith built, I was so impressed with the quality and workmanship of the monolithic guitar sculpture, the question of why would Jimmy go to all the trouble to build it never crossed my mind. It’s art pure and simple with so much care and attention to every detail of the iconic guitar first produced by Leo Fender’s electric instrument company in 1954. Buddy Holly bought a Fender Stratocaster in 1955. When Holly played in England in 1958, the shape and sound of Holly’s solid body electric guitar mesmerized John Lennon and Paul McCartney, providing inspiration to the two teenagers that would eventually change the course of contemporary music. We can only imagine what Buddy Holly would have achieved if he had lived, but in that short time before his untimely death in 1959, Buddy Holly unleashed the Fender Stratocaster on the world, and made a significant contribution to the rock & roll revolution. The Stratorcaster is memorialized at both Buddy Holly’s and Jimmy Hedrix’s grave sites. Holly’s Stratocaster is carved on his headstone, and there is a sculpture of Jimmy Hendrix’s stratocaster, strung for his left handed playing, at his grave site. To me there is no mystery about why a master craftsman like Jimmy Smith would build a monolithic sculpture of Leo Fender’s Stratocaster. A stratospheric work a art to commemorate a work of stratospheric art.

My friend Joel trying to play the big Strat.
Jimmy’s artistry and attention to detail is exquisite.



Jimmy has to keep it in his shop. When he puts it out in front of his shop, The Strat Academy, people climb on it for photos and selfies and it gets vandalized.


Stay tuned, and you will learn more about Jimmy Smith and the Strat Academy in upcoming posts.