View Full Version : Whatever happened to Retronix guitars?

12-08-2013, 01:37 PM
I remember first seeing J. Backlund Design Guitars many years ago, and falling in love with the unique aesthetics of them (particularly the JBD-200). Unfortunately for me, actually getting to play one was always just about as impossible as was affording one of the USA models (which was all they offered).

After an extended period, I decided to look them up again earlier this year, only to learn that they'd done an economy line of the JBD-800 on Kickstarter. Great price of $500 for a sweet-looking guit...but just my luck, I came too late to the party, as the Kickstarter deal had reached its financing goal, and the time to jump on that train was long-gone.

Reports from folks who were 'in the know', and got their Retronix guitars, were encouraging, which was nice (though I'd be lying if I said it didn't bum me out even more).

Anyway, great to hear they succeeded...but now what? Goin to the J. Backlund site, you can still access the link to the now-discontinued Retronix Kickstarter site, complete with video, but I haven't heard anything new.

Are the 800s in regular production? Are they planning to release additional models (coughJBD200cough)? Where can I go to find updates? The Backlund site makes it sound like things are at a standstill, which I hope is not true.



12-08-2013, 07:09 PM
Ouch! I guess maybe I have my answer :(.

John Backlund
12-09-2013, 10:35 AM
Steve, Retronix is alive and kicking, and the R800 six string and R800B Bass are still being made, and there's going to be a new Kickstarter project up this month for the new Retronix R-100, which is the affordable Korean-made version of the roughly $4000(+) JBD-100 customshop model. I believe it will be a 30 day project if my information is correct. The re-introduction of other 'old' JBD models as affordable Retronix branded guitars will follow as quickly as time and funding permit.

It's a long slow grind to get this stuff made and 'out there' though, and years were spent investing a lot of time and effort into making the JBD 'boutique' models, which were fine guitars, but very expensive and time-consuming to produce with what was essentially a one-man shop. In the past year, many changes have been made, and the emphasis now is to produce unique and interestng guitars that are much more affordable.

However, beyond the upcoming Retronix R-100 introduction, I don't know the precise schedule for introducing new 'JB inspired' Retronix models such as the JBD-200, though I cannot imagine that it won't be made at some point in the not-too-distant future, as it was one of the better-selling JBD models. Personally, I'd like very much to see that model added to the Retronix line, as I would the JBD-400.

Beyond that, I personally continue to develop prototypes that could potentially become production guitars at some point, and expect to have three new prototype models displayed at the upcoming winter NAMM show, the Marz 6, Katalina 700, and my newest design, the Neptoon 1500.

I have little to do with the day-by-day operations of the J. Backlund Design or Retronix companies (I live about 1200 miles away from Chattanooga) but do get appraised of developments within the company regularilly, and I know that they are very happy with the new direction the company has taken, and I'm personally VERY pleased and encouraged by the shift to the affordable Korean guitars, which is something that I've always wanted to happen with my guitar designs.

You can contact Kevin Maxfield at kevin@jbacklund.com as to the availability of the R-800 or other upcoming models. I can always contact him on the behalf of others too. My email is: johnbacklund@hotmail.com I'm also on facebook blathering on about the guitars and posting progress photos of my prototype builds (constructed in the Netherlands by Marco Krijger), so information can often be found there too.

John Backlund

12-10-2013, 09:59 PM
Thanks so much, John, for the information. I'm legitimately stoked to hear that the 800 got funded and produced, that it was not a one-time thing (especially since I didn't hear of the Kickstarter drive until after it had ended), and that new models are in the works which mere mortals such as myself can afford :).

As an aside (feel free to skip this part if you'd like), I first saw the JBD-200 in an ad in (I believe, anyway) Vintage Guitar magazine MANY years ago; in the ad, the 200 was red, and another guitar (perhaps it was the 400) was a nice deep blue color. They intrigued me from the start (well, from the moment right AFTER I asked myself "What the hell is that???" LOL), and I've always been drawn to what I've come to think of as the 200's radical space-age take on a Tele. Killer design, and the Korean 800s have some really sweet features. I'll be on the lookout for the new Kickstarter project.

Thanks again.


John Backlund
12-11-2013, 09:11 AM
...and that new models are in the works which mere mortals such as myself can afford :).

I hear you there. I eventually was able to get two JBD guitars for myself, a JBD-100, and a JBD-200 (though I only have the 200 now due to a trade deal to get two new prototypes built), but not because I could actually buy one. I could never afford to pay what they cost. As for guitars, I'm basically on an Ibanez Artcore budget, and boutique customs just aren't in my universe. I can't tell you how happy I am to see the much more affordable Retronix versions of my guitar designs being made after all these years.

I now have three Retronix R-800's, two six strings and a bass, and I'll be able to get a couple of Retronix R-100's from the upcoming Kickstart project, so things are definately looking up.

12-11-2013, 10:22 PM
Yes, I'd imagine it certainly feels good to finally be able to afford the guitars you designed :).

Unfortunately, the 100 is just completely impractical for my needs (I have to be able to play sitting down with no problem), and it's also just not my vibe. The 800 is a very cool design, but alas, it's just not where my heart is. As mentioned, I've been digging the 200 since I first saw it years ago, and if one is ever made available on my budget, I'll definitely consider it.

I'll keep an eye on the builder's forum for updates: although the 100 isn't my bag, I'm very interested to see the project succeed.

Thanks again, John.