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About Kal-Tone

Kal-Tone is a stringed instrument workshop. We build our own guitars from board lumber and perform difficult repair and restoration work on acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, double basses, lap get the idea! The Sandbox is our retail shop where we sell Recording King Guitars, Kal-Tone originals, and vintage/rare instruments that we fix and setup.  Come by for a visit any Tuesday-Friday between noon and 6pm.  We provide insurance evaluations and appraisals, wind our own pickups, and design and build many of our own parts with help from other makers here at the Jerico collective in Kalamazoo's Edison Neighborhood.


Kal-Tone (originally named “The Kalamazoo Guitar Shop”) was established in 2014 by Ry Charters and Jay Gavan. At the time, Ry was moving back home from Seattle, where he had been managing the Dusty Strings repair shop. Jay was painting guitars for Heritage Guitar in Kalamazoo, which is where Ry and Jay first met and worked together in 2002. Kal-Tone’s first location was downtown on the Kalamazoo Mall from 2014 to 2016. The shop is now located in the Jerico collective at 1501 Fulford, where it shares a three-building complex with shops that build electric scooters, fix cars and pianos, wire electricity, make records, sell great coffee, and create fine smelling beard oils! Come on down, get a coffee at the Fido Motors Cafe, and drop in to check out the shop.


Co-Owner and Luthier, Ry Charters has been a professional guitar-maker since 1998. He has broad experience in repairing, designing, and building stringed instruments. 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. Click HERE to learn more about Ry and HERE to see examples of his early custom guitars.
Co-owner and Finisher, Jay Gavan spent nearly a decade with Heritage Guitars, learning “whitewood” as well as lacquer finishing. Jay is also an experienced Kalamazoo musician who plays with various bands, teaches guitar, and directs young musicians in the Kalamazoo Academy of Rock.
Anna Joy Tucker manages our shop, and coordinates the repair and manufacturing schedule and parts supply. She also spends time on the workbench as she assists in the technical side of repair and building.  Her formal education is in ecclesiology and music performance, and she plays often around Kalamazoo.  

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