Hill (Custom Guitars)

product types: 

  • bass guitars
  • electric guitars


Hill Guitar started by Jon R Hill in 1989 in Vermilion, Ohio. After working from his father’s garage for a year he moved to a new location in Cleveland on Union Ave. He rented the 3rd floor of a mostly empty building (2500 square feet and with no elevator) which meant that all lumber deliveries and machines had to all be carried up the stairs. After four years moved again to a more commercial location on 36th Street. At this time Hill was offered the opportunity to make guitars for Dean. The Dean brand had been bought by Tropical Music of Miami, and soon they decided to move production to Florida. This meant that Jon Hill had to close his Cleveland operation and relocat to Plant City, Florida. While working for Dean n Florida Jon Hill learned about CNC Machines as well as the export trade. Although they were building some cool guitars as well as reissues of the classic Dean models Tropical Music ended up having to sell the Dean name to their distributor, Armadillo Enterprises and closed the factory in 1997.

This was a difficult period for Hill who had to work for various mill-work companies doing AutoCAD and programming CNC machinery - over the next 5 years he made very few guitars. He slowly began over the next several years to re-purchase tools, machinery, lumber, parts, etc., focusing on repair work and building a few guitars here and there. Then in April 2002 he quit his day job to take another swing at building guitars full time. Working out of his garage and a home/studio in the historic Tremont area in Cleveland, he started building again. He then set up another workshop just off of Denison on the near west side of Cleveland and employed 5 people. Hill built up the Hill Custom Guitars company again and was successful enough to sell Hill Custom Guitars brand to Dean in 2009. In 2010 he went on to establish Bootleg Guitars.

Source: Hill Instruments website (archived 2005)


Hill Guitars
6920 Union Avenue
44105 Cleveland , OH
United States
Ohio US

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