Red Layer Guitars Designs and Makes One-of-a-Kind Electric Guitars With AutoCAD

Customer Spotlight
Image of electric guitar with purple LED lights in body and fret

As a teenager, Jort Heijen first started building guitars with his dad in their garage. At first, they stripped old guitars and replaced parts on them, buying and selling along the way. But they became curious about building the guitar body itself. From then on, Heijen was constantly building and making guitars, all by hand. 

Working in bicycle repair and sales at a store in the Netherlands, Heijen realized it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Building guitars was his passion. So, at the age of 24, he quit his job, sold his car, and moved to Amsterdam where he enrolled in Hout- en Meubileringscollege, a four-year vocational school devoted to woodworking and furniture building.

While in school, Heijen began learning AutoCAD, especially after he purchased his first CNC machine to cut out the wood for his guitar designs. After working by hand for many years, AutoCAD brought entirely new possibilities.

Electric guitar with wood body
Courtesy of Red Layer Guitars.
Handcrafted components to assemble electric guitar
Courtesy of Red Layer Guitars

Growing Red Layer Guitars

On average, Heijen designs and handcrafts about 10 guitars per year. He officially started his business, Red Layer Guitars, seven years ago after graduating from university. Over the years, Heijen has grown the business from his very first sale all the way to showcasing his guitars internationally, including the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) conference. Customers range from enthusiasts to studio musicians and even his favorite guitarist, Fredrik Thordendal.

Heijen is also starting to experiment with acrylics and aluminum that he hasn’t seen in guitar designs before. With AutoCAD, he has the freedom to explore. “Once it’s set in an AutoCAD file, it is possible. It can be made. That’s pretty much how I see it,” he says.

Red acrylic electric guitar with yellow acrylic inlay
Courtesy of Red Layer Guitars.
Electric guitar with aluminum body
Courtesy of Red Layer Guitars

See Red Layer Guitars Designs in Motion

Discover how Heijen designs and makes his electric guitars.

Courtesy of Red Layer Guitars.

Read More

Learn more about Heijien’s guitar business and approach with AutoCAD. 

Heather Miller

Heather Miller is a freelance writer and editor, producing thought-leadership content, blogs, and customer success stories for a variety of organizations from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

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