Each guitar, bass, and ukulele designed and crafted by James Russell displays the three primary design elements of "voice, feel, and beauty." James' focus on these three qualities is fundamental in his design and building process. The magic and excellence of Russell hand made guitars, no matter the style or model, can be attributed to James' dedication to doing what it takes to produce instruments of resonant, balanced, clear voice, melt-in-your-hands feel, and immaculate, classic beauty.

This is the basic difference between production guitars and Russell hand crafted guitars. In the making of Russell instruments, attention is given to every detail along the way, from drawing paper to final setup, to lovingly create instruments of quality and individuality. Each instrument has its own life, its own identity. You will never see a production or manufactured Russell. Each guitar is individually designed and meticulously and artfully crafted by James himself.

James creates his guitars using master grade materials; he selects the finest woods, rosette inlay, and tuners. He makes his bindings out of complementary woods and carefully matches the various design elements, such as headplates, endgrafts, bridges, and fingerboards. He is dedicated to the beauty and refinement of form at all stages and in all aspects of the guitar building process. James has found that there is a grace and purity inherent in perfect form. "Refine, refine, refine," he says, is his key to attaining this grace and purity.

James has had the opportunity to examine and measure some of the great guitars of the 20th century, and what he has learned is integrated into his designs and structural elements. He also continues to read luthiery materials and compare notes with other accomplished builders. Every guitar he makes benefits from this ongoing investigation and development of ideas and techniques.

James is motivated and fueled to design and build Russell Guitars by a knowing that this is what he was meant to do. James is a maker of things, a maker of music, a maker of instruments. He is a lover of beauty, of form, and of music. The voice, feel, and beauty that distinguishes every Russell guitar, bass, and ukulele is a result of the care, love, and devotion that goes into each one.