In celebration of Sonic Unyon’ Records' 25th anniversary, the label has teamed up with Hamilton's Jillard Guitars on The 99 James North Project — a limited edition run of 25 custom guitars made from wood reclaimed during the meticulous restoration of 99 James Street North, a four-story Victorian that was brought back to life in 2015. The instruments represent a design collaboration between Jillard Guitars, Terra Lightfoot, Chrisy Hurn of Basement Revolver, Mark Milne of Tristan Psionic, Birchway Sound, and Cottage 13 Tattoo.

Fashioned from Douglas fir beams and joists from a building erected in 1872, the substantial guitars of the 99 James North Project are imbued with the unique heft of history, and also celebrate more recent milestones: Birchway Sound's fifth anniversary, Jillard Guitars' tenth anniversary, Cottage 13 Tattoo's 20th anniversary and Sonic Unyon Records’ 25th anniversary.

The 99 James North Project speaks to the care and precision of Jason Jillard’s craft as a luthier, as instruments made from reclaimed wood such as this contain aesthetic idiosyncrasies that might normally be factored out — imperfections such as stains and knots must be navigated and incorporated into the design. This process results in sturdy instruments of rich and uncommon character that deliver pure, true sound. This exclusive run of instruments feature Canadian hardware and parts, including Graphtech Labs Hardware, McNelly Pickups, and D’Addario Strings. Each handmade guitar comes with a limited edition Fifth Gear guitar pedal from Southampton Pedals, limited edition clothing, and more from these great Canadian companies.

Proceeds from the sale of these guitars are being donated to Hamilton-based An Instrument for Every Child, an empowering organization that promotes music education regardless of socio-economic position and aims to provide access to instruments and skilled instructors for children from all walks of life.  

Each guitar package is being sold for $3,999 (tax included) and includes a 99 James North custom guitar, limited edition clothing, a copy of the limited edition Now We Are 25 triple-vinyl compilation from Sonic Unyon, custom Jillard Guitar strap, a limited edition 99 James guitar pedal from Southampton Pedals, and more items from our sponsors. Payment plans are available, and guitar packages will be available for pickup mid-September 2019.

To get involved with this project, visit jillardguitars.com/99james. You can try out some build options online at jillardguitars.com/99james-body-selection.

Check out specs and pricing at Jillard Guitars

Read more about the project at CBC Hamilton.