About Jason Z. Schroeder: The Schroeder Story

Schroeder Story

Schroeder Guitars is a true custom guitar shop that emerged on to the boutique guitar scene in 2005. With a handful of orders from enthusiastic guitarists, Jason quit a career of nearly a decade to live out his dream of building guitars for a living.  The first round of guitars began delivery in 2006 and into 2007.  By 2009, the Schroeder Radio Lane model had won Premier Guitar Magazine’s “Premier Gear Award” then went on to earn the “Artisan Award” in the December 2009 year end issue. According to Premier, “The Artisan Award is bestowed upon the pieces of gear that embody elegance, beauty and craftsmanship. We’d hang them on our wall if they didn’t sound so damn good.” Other Artisan Award winners were legendary builders Paul Reed Smith, Bill Collings and Michael Tobias.  Jason’s Chopper TL also won the Premier Gear Award in 2012.

Jason’s creations grabbed the attention of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Neale Heywood and eventually Lindsey Buckingham in 2008. The Mac’s 2009/2010 “Unleashed” tour included two Schroeder Guitars in the set. Jason continues to build guitars for Fleetwood Mac. By 2010, Schroeder Guitars was becoming a buzz-worthy brand in the high-end guitar market known for creative designs, exceptional handmade quality, best-of-the-best tonewoods, and superior sound.

Jason is obsessive about guitar design and construction. Since building his first guitar in his parents’ garage in 1988, he has been passionate about guitar building. His persistent quest to build the best guitar possible left him dissatisfied with the current selection of hardware that he could use on his guitars. So in 2007, Jason began researching and designing his own wraparound bridge, including discussing materials and design improvements with senior builders. Due to the demand from other builders, Schroeder Guitars now offers these bridges to the public directly and through the Stewart MacDonald catalog. Schroeder Guitars has recently added the Stopbar for Tune-o-matic bridges as well as the innovative Top-Adustable locking studs.  More products are in the works.

Jason and Elizabeth Schroeder have harnessed the company’s reputation to draw attention to, and raise money for, worthy causes. Since 2006, through the donation of guitars they have raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research (American Cancer Society, Relay for Life). See the Josie Guitarand the Julianne Guitar in the Guitar Gallery. Schroeder Guitars has also donated guitars to raise money for two guitar builders, one who lost his shop in an explosion (see Zerofret) and another who was assaulted over a parking space (see Suckerpunch).

The 2005 Schroeder Guitar Tour made a wave in the high-end guitar community and helped establish Jason’s reputation as a legitimate builder. Faced with skepticism from potential buyers who had never experienced his work, Jason built a demo guitar specifically to tour the world. The concept was simple, try the guitar and ship it to the next interested guitar player. The “Tour Guitar” started in California, made its way to the East Coast of the United States and back on its first leg, eventually going through Europe twice and then back again. By the time the guitar was retired to the Schroeder Vault, it had made its way to the Fleetwood Mac rehearsal space at Sony Studios for several weeks. Along the way, Jason asked guitar players from all over the world to brutally critique his work. This input gave Jason a unique insight that only years of building could have otherwise provided.  To read more about the Tour Guitar click HERE.

Schroeder Guitars was one of the initial builders invited into the Premier Builders Guild (PBG) in late 2009 and officially joined in 2010. Jason remained with the Guild until 2012.  PBG is a guild of some of the best luthiers and amp builders on the planet including Roger Giffin, Gene Baker, Saul Koll, Johan Gustavsson, Dennis Fano, Bob Gjika, Mark Bartel (Tone King), and Two Rock Amplifiers. The interaction with these builders has not only been a huge inspiration but has also acted as a catalyst for exponential growth in the consistency and quality of Schroeder Guitars.  Other than the camaraderie with other builders, Jason also joined the Guild to enter a license agreement for his production models to be built by Gene Baker.  A small number of Edge’s, Radio Lanes and Choppers were built in 2010 and 2011 as part of this license agreement. These guitars are denoted as “Handcrafted in Arroyo Grande, CA.”  While Jason remains close with the other builders, the relationship between PBG, the corporation, and Schroeder Guitars dissolved in the beginning of 2012.

Jason is increasingly known for his “passion-builds” and there is no better example than the GI Guitar. This guitar was designed and built to answer the question, what might wartime guitars have looked like.  The thoughtful detail that went in to this guitar have garnered worldwide attention.  The guitar also was accompanied by a 10 minute video describing the hypothetical scenario under which this guitar could have been made in the 1940s.  More on the GI HERE.

Jason grew up a son of the musical director at his family’s church. He played in bands since the age of 12. A multi-instrumentalist, he played bass and guitar in jazz band throughout junior high and high school. He was also the resident accompanist for singers in talent shows, playing guitar and piano. After graduating college with a Master of Science in Hydrogeology and obtaining his Professional Geologist registration, he joined Clear Cut. Clear Cut was voted Northern California’s Best Band by Enjoy Magazine in 2010 and voted Best of the North State numerous times. Their CD California has been featured regularly on Yahoo Music’s online radio.  Jason is continually writing, recording, and performing music and always uses Schroeder Guitars for performing.

Jason is involved with several bands including Clear Cut (Mark McAbee) and the Nathan Thomas Band. Jason recently recorded an album with Bruce Turgon, former bassist for Foreigner and has opened for Styx, America, Ratt, Great White, and Chris Young, among others.  Jason has also written a soundtrack for an as yet unreleased movie and also provided music for multiple ad campaigns for MD Imaging and Shasta Regional Hospital.

Schroeder Guitars was featured in Electrified, a book by Robert Shaw (author of Hand Made, Hand Played: The Art & Craft of Contemporary Guitars).

Schroeder Guitars and Schroeder Guitar Parts are made exclusively in the United States of America.