Jort Heijen – Red Layer Guitars

My name is Jort Heijen, 30 years old and living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I like to build guitars… a lot. It’s the one thing I can’t stop doing. After I quit school when I was 18, I wandered around not knowing what to do next. In 2011 I was working as a bicycle mechanic in my hometown and spending my money on guitar parts, woods and hardware. When my boss asked me if I wanted to take over the bicycle store, it hit me… I didn’t wanted to end up working all my life fixing bikes. I just wanted to spend time building guitars… So that’s when I decided to move to Amsterdam and attend to a 4-year woodworking school as this was the closest thing to guitar building. In those years I realised a lot of my dream, I attended three internships at Adamovic Basses in Haarlem where I learned a lot of skills I could use for my guitars. In my third year, I got the opportunity to get a CNC-machine from my uncle (who happened to have one left…). I dedicated this machine to build guitars and parts only. Also that time I was becoming a big fan of Meshuggah (a Swedish extreme-metal band) and I wanted to start working on my own 8-string guitar that I could use to play their songs. Very coincidentaly their bassist, Dick Lövgren, was going to visit Adamovic to try out one of the basses in between their tour in Europe. It was part of my assignment that time to help building it. The first 8-string guitar that I built was very much inspired by this bass and I decided to make it my main model. Soon after, in the start of 2015, I found a workshop (where I now also live right next to!) That’s when I got really creative and motivated to start my own brand which is today: Red Layer Guitars.