In Memory of Jimmy Foster
Master Luthier & 7-String Jazz Guitarist
July 1, 1948 – April 26, 2011
Memorial Service for Jimmy Foster:
Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 3:00pm
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness
76320 Hwy 21
Covington, LA 70435
Hey Everyone. I’m not a man of words, so I don’t have much to say here. Jimmy was a great friend, and I already miss him so much. I wanted to have a page on the site where his family, friends, fans and players could leave a comment, a note, a memory, a story about Jimmy, a thought or a prayer, etc… Please feel free to leave a comment below.
[Picture by Simon Baker]
Filed Under: Foster Jazz Guitars » In Memory of Jimmy Foster
Rick Nick says
I spent many hours as a young man at Foster’s music shop in New Orleans. I watched as Jimmy and his friend Gene Pelas traded licks. I have purchased and owned many instruments in my life and never have I played an instrument that was setup to perfection like those at Foster’s Music. Jimmy always took the time to explain to myself and other customers in great detail anything we needed to know about our instruments. He spoke with great passion about his craft and his love for music. He often played incredible licks and then would offer you one of his many instruments to follow. His passing is tragic for all us who knew him. He is now in the company of his father and his friend Gene Pelas. Thank you Jimmy for taking the time to make me a better musician and human being.
Gary Brunner says
Jimmy Foster will be missed by all those whose lives he touched both as a player, mentor and friend. I will miss Jimmy’s quick smile and Louisiana drawl. Rest in peace and show them how the Seven String Guitar is played up there, Brother!
Don MacArthur says
this news is very saddening…the world lost a wonderful person, great guitar player and builder.
Pookie Anselmi says
I’ve been knowing Jimmy since his days on Bank Street where his store was located. He was one of the nicest guys I ever met.
I’ve been truly blessed to have him and his wife Stephan as friends.
My wife and I are praying for his family.
Pookie & Lucy Anselmi
Ed Vigueira says
Jimmy was a phenomenal player, a luthier without peer, and above all a gentleman. I always learned something every time I spoke to him or heard him play.
We’ll miss you.
Harold Odegard says
Jimmy, you built me an excellent guitar. I wish I were a better player in order to justify it’s beauty, sound and style. The few times we spoke over the phone assured me of the nature of guitar I was to get because you were a man of quality. Thank you for your help with my instrument. You will be missed.
Greg Arceneaux says
Jimmy touched countless people’s lives through his skill as a craftsman and musician. As long as his guitars continue to be played that legacy will also. He made our lives sweeter and more melodic and we can only hope we can do the same.
Lee Ramirez says
My sincere condolences to Jimmy’s family. Our prayers are with you at this sad time.
I met Jimmy and Stephan at a Guitar Show in Austin Texas back about ten years or so. I was impressed by Jimmy’s awesome
talent as a jazz guitarist and luthier. He talked to me as if we had known each other for a long time. I immediately liked him.
He had a kind and loving personality. Last year I talked to Jimmy over the phone. We talked guitar for a long time. I had made plans to go and visit him. But it was not to be.
Rest in peace, Brother.
San Antonio, Texas
Jeff Hale says
Jimmy has been constant source of information and encouragement for me. His guitars are excellent as was his ability to play. A truly wonderful person and friend who will be missed.
Glenn Rountree says
Jimmy will be sorely missed. He was the kind of guy that never met a stranger and was always ready to sit on the porch for a while, talk guitars, offer encouragement as well as the benefits of his vast experience. He shared his life and talent freely with everyone around him. He truly touched many lives. Rest well kind sir.
Aloha! A great person and a great player. I’ll truly miss you. This is so unbelievable, God Bless the Foster Family. Rudy
Gary Granger says
My utmost condolences to Mr. Foster’s family. I met him twice and both times were memorable. The first time I simply started talking to him at a music store and realized that he actually built this incredible guitar that I was enjoying. The next time( years later…) I called him up while I was in New Orleans on my extern rotation during Optometry school and he invited me over to his shop in Covington. I spent about 3 hours learning how he created those masterpieces and jamming on all kinds of great tunes with him. I was actually saving up to have him build me an archtop. He was a great musician, a superlative craftsman and a very open and warm person to be around. I was fortunate to have made that call and taken that drive to see him that day.
bob hardy says
I met jimmy and his wife at the chet atkins converntion probably 10 years ago. spent 4 days hanging with him.
he felt like an old friend by the end of the week and i came home with a beautiful archtop.
talked to him via phone from time to time and all i can say is he was an amazing guy.
Danny McKnight says
Jimmy made three guitars for me over the past few years and I made three trips from my home in Texas to his shop in Covington to get them when they were ready. Jimmy always gave me a warm welcome and treated me like the friend we had become to each other. Jimmy was a good and honest man, easy and fun to be around, a fine musician and a wonderful guitar builder. He indeed will be missed by his many friends.
Jerome Garbutt Jr. says
The times I remember speaking with Jimmy when I was younger, I always remember walking away glad. I also remember Foster’s Music when I was real little. My father (Jerome Sr.) was the amplifier tech there, and my uncle (Gene Pelas) was a luthier there as well as a close friend of Jimmy’s long before the store opened. I’m so glad that I got turned on to playing guitar and taking it seriously, and Jimmy definitely played a part in it. I always try to reach out to those who knew Gene and Jimmy from those days. I show Jimmy’s website to people at my job and I love to tell them what I know about the history. I send to his family my condolences and wish them comfort.
Let us not forget a true guitar legend. RIP in peace Jimmy Foster. I will always remember you with my/your guitars in hand.
You said I can do it and I brought a tear to your eye and mine as well. So now “Chip Sings Bob Dylan”
Your friend, Chip…
Mark Guest says
Way too young to pass, Jimmy. You were a wonderful luthier, musician, and player. Also very generous with your encouragement. You’re already missed.
rose anne bivens says
Jimmy Foster is someone I felt privileged to have met. He and Stephan played at our daughter’s wedding, and our son has a guitar or two that Jimmy made. A rare combination of nice, simple and immensely talented, I will miss running into him at the neighborhood grocery store, and pray to Jesus for strength for Stephan and peace for the rest of his family and friends. What a comfort to know that he is at home now, and I like to think checking out David’s harp! Thank you God for the gift of Jimmy and of music.
I had known Jimmy Foster for about 35 years and I will miss him dearly.. Jimmy was an an amazing luthier but he was also an incredible guitar player as well and I learned soooo much from him! He was always kind and generous with his time and talents! The guitar world has lost not only a great luthier, guitarist but, a wonderful human being!!
The angels in Heaven are now playing 7 string Jazz guitars, instead of harps.
arne woldar says
I’m shocked and saddened by this news, and offer all my condolences to Jimmy’s Wife and Family. Jimmy truly left a masterful legacy and that’s really all we can ask for in life. I actually had my Foster Avalon on my lap when I heard the news. We talked many times & I always felt honored speaking to him… by his mastery, kindness, and love for the guitar.
When I picked up my Avalon I called him because I had an issue with the tailpiece, and the thing of it was, that I wasn’t the original owner. He could have told me anything, but what did he say? “Pack it up and send it off to me… I can’t have anyone out there sullyin’ my good name”! Jimmy, NO one could EVER sully your good name.
Rest in Peace
James Gaulon says
I guess everybody here has just about said it all, my feelings exactly!! I bought my first nice Bass & Amp from him on Banks St in the early 80’s and the last time I saw him was at his shop awhile back ago, and how many can say you love or loved what you do as much as he did and it showed in his spirit? What I always remember the most was something that had nothing to do with music, when he said to me, how can I ever forget you with your name being Jimmy!! So thanks for all the fond memories from Banks St to the Shop!! You made my life as a musician most enjoyable!! Rest in peace my friend, Jimmy, from Jimmy.
Davy Mooney says
Jimmy was a great guy, a great musician, and a great luthier. I play his guitars (I have two of them!) every day and think of him. I have fond memories of driving over the causeway from New Orleans out to his house to hang out, shoot the breeze, get a setup, and trade solo tunes. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Jimmy
Kenny Kazmir says
I am deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Jimmy’s passing. He was an inspiration to me in the world of guitars and his advice and guidance over the phone will never be forgotten. His honesty and integrity will be DEEPLY missed in the industry (where those qualities are getting harder to find) and to those who knew him over the phone or by life-long friendship.
God bless his family and loved ones and know that as long as a treasured guitar is strummed with love,Mr. Jimmy’s spirit will live forever.
Oliver Bradford says
I just found out about Jimmy’s passing from another friend and musician. I live in Denver, Colorado and purchased a 7-string (Basin Street) from Jimmy about a year ago. I’m a New Orleans native and my family reside in Covington. The instrument that Jimmy built for me is nothing less than the very best craftsmanship, and I am so very greatful that I got to know Jimmy in the short time that was left. The thing that comes to mind about Jimmy is his relaxed, cheerful personality. He exemplifies everything that I love and miss about New Orleans. His approach was gentlemanly and kind. I was looking forward to paying him another visit at his shop in June and sitting down with a beer in hand just shootin’ the breeze and playing music. I will never part with the instrument he built for me, and I will always remember him as I’m playing it. My condolences go out to his wife and family.
Fleur de Lis refugee in Denver, Colorado
Joe Manuel says
Jimmy was a great friend and mentor to me. He was always patient, kind and ready to help anyone. If we all had Jimmy’s easy going manner and positive attitude what a difference it would make, in all of our lives and for this world.
A master craftsman, musician and a true genius. Thank you Jimmy.
Abita Springs, LA
Barry Branco says
Sad News, I build archtops as a hobby and would visit Jimmy’s website all the time just to see if I could pickup a tip here and there and would also watch him work on Youtube mainly to hear him play he had a great touch and was a great craftsman.
Michael R. Anderson says
First I must say to Jimmy’s family that every guitar player and all who enjoyed listening to a great guitar player are deeply saddened this day. Several months back Jimmy reset the neck and refurbished my 1974 Gibson Dove Custom and it has never looked or played better. He was a man who took great pride in his work and he will be missed by all who ever met him or heard him play. When I last saw him he gave me an autographed CD he had recorded and I will keep and cherish it forever. I am forever grateful that I was given the chance to actually sit in his shop and to not only listen to him play but to actually play my own guitar in his presence. What an honor that was. Again my condolences go out to his family. Yes there will never be another like him he will indeed be missed by all of us.
Michael R. Anderson
United States Army Retired
David Adam says
This prince of a man will truly be missed.
Michael Susano says
Man, what a loss. I remember going to the Banks St store when it was just the small area in the front, later expanded to the back, then later still to Vets Hwy. Jimmy was always such a gentleman and all around good guy and great guitar player. Praying for you and family, Jimmy…
Dave Hirschman says
I’m still in shock having just heard the news. I ordered my first guitar from Jimmy 17 years ago. I was in pursuit of a 7 string tele style guitar and back then in the pre-internet days that wasn’t so eady to find. After some investigative work and numerous phone calls someone steered me to Jimmy. I called, he answered, I introduced myself and after speaking with him for 15 minutes got out my check book and mailed him a deposit never having heard of him or seen a picture of (let alone the real thing) one of his instruments. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. We became good friends. I will always cherish his instruments, his CDs and the memories of the time we spent together and our regular phone calls.
A phenomal luthier, A marvelous guitarist who never got the recognition he deserved. His playing was always joyful and uplifting. Most of all a warm, gentle soul and great human being. This world is an emptier place without him. I will miss him greatly. My hearfelt condolences go out to to Stephan and Andy.
Svare and Jean Forsland says
Two months back my wife and I spent the afternoon playing guitars with Jimmy at his shop. He had just completed some finish touch ups on one of my hand made twelve strings that I use in studio and concert work. Few would I trust for this work. I had never had the opportunity to play with him or really hear the subtleties of his dexterity on the guitar. We played some duets on The Third Man theme, Windy and Warm and other gems that I was wishing we had tape rolling , alas it was not but the memory remains and through we hardly knew Jimmy we feel honored to have been so graciously received and made to feel at home. As we left he presented up with two of his CDs that we have greatly enjoyed. Peace to your heart brother. Svare and Jean Forsland
John Reese says
I just stumbled upon this web site and was completely amazed with the craftsmanship and of these instruments. I’m sorry for y’alls loss.
Dean Meredith says
I am really sorry to hear of Jimmy’s passing, today is May 15, and I just heard about this last night from a friend. When I evacuated for Katrina, I left my 5 guitars at home, thinking they would be fine. We’d all be home in a few days… anyway my priceless (to me) Les Paul Deluxe given to me by may father in 1972 floated for two weeks in the water. When I returned home three months later there it was, I thought totally ruined and unsalvageable . Anyway, Jimmy being the master luthier that he was, brought this guitar back to life and made it better than new. I visited Jimmy a dozen times since 2005, and always enjoyed talking with him and trying to get a handle on how to play that damned 7 string he makes!! Jimmy repaired all of my guitars and I probably had them adjusted more than I needed to just as an excuse to hang out at his shop to talk and play his fantasic acoustic guitars that I really loved. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t been up there to Covington in about a year. He was a great guy and I am very sad today. I remember him all the way from Banks Street in the 1970s.
Tony Marshall says
From Brittany in the extreme west of France I would like to send condolences to Jimmy’s family. I was truly saddened to hear of his passing. I have three of his beautifully crafted 7 string guitars and they are the best instruments I have ever owned. Although we never met personally, I did speak with him on the telephone, he was a generous and kind man and always gave the impression he had time for you, in fact a true gentleman. Apart from his great talents as a luthier he was also a fine 7 string player. I know he will be sadly missed by all who came into contact with him.
Lance Lafargue says
Jimmy was a good friend. I’ve known him since Banks Street in the 70’s – he worked on my basses and guitars, but mostly as I got into rebuilding pianos and doing more woodworking, Jimmy shared everything he had. He spent countless hours giving advice on equipment, jigs, woodworking, finishing, ideas, ideas…… We laughed a lot and he was always generous. He obviously had a great mind and was a great craftsman/artist. A humble guy. He was generous, caring and trusted folks to a fault. I fear his kind are becoming harder to find. I will miss picking up the phone to laugh and share what we are working on. I truly loved him and will miss him – Love to Stephan.
Paul Tletski says
I’m very sorry to hear about Jimmy’s passing. I just found out from the article in Premier Guitar magazine. I am an amateur luthier who really appreciates Jimmy’s work. I’ve contacted him over the years letting him know how great I thought his work was. He was always kind and encouraging to me. I will miss him.
Colin james Danenberger says
I fell sad that he is gone i fell bad that he has passed away.I fell for the family.and friends who knew Mr foster.I personally never meet him but i was on the website a lot.And my big question is who is running the company now? But it is just a back in my mind kind of question.I fell bad for the foster family and wish you guys the best of jazz times 🙂
José Neto says
I was very sad when I opened the site and read that Jimmy had died. It was a shock. Have one of his guitars was my dream. But more than a luthier, Jimmy represented the music in art form.
God bless the family (Que Deus abençoe a Familia, oramos por ela)
Sorry the English
Chris Censullo says
My condolensces to Mr. Foster’s family and friends. A true legend, whose work will live forever!
Bat McGrath says
I’m a Nashville songwriter who purchased a Basin Street archtop from SoundPure. Soon after, I called Jimmy to tell him how much I was enjoying this wonderful instrument. I mentioned that I had no right owning such a beautiful guitar as I wasn’t a real jazz player. Jimmy immediately encouraged me and went on to say how much he enjoyed country musicians and what a great talent songwriting was. We talked for almost an hour and he invited me down to meet him and see the shop and play some music. Sadly, I didn’t get there soon enough although we spoke on the phone a couple more times. What a beautiful man! My sincere condolences to his family and friends for their loss. He made a difference.
Jerry Fanfarelli says
I think of Jimmy often in my thoughts. We used to talk on the phone since I live in CT. We had some great conversations about the guitar and about life. He had invited me down to see the shop and I was hoping to come down this summer.
In just the few short months that I knew him, I knew that he was a very special human being.
We hit it off right away and we had a common bond, the guitar, but more than that, by our conversations, I
knew that he was a kind, caring and generous man………. I will see you again my friend, and when I do, we’ll play for all eternity!
Lester Kenyon says
Last night I looked up Jimmy’s website to get his phone number. I was shocked and deeply saddened. Jimmy had just done a neck reset on my Martin several months ago and I was going to bring him my tele and strat for action tweaking. I had only met him and Stephan two times, but within those two times and phone conversations, I felt like I knew Jimmy all my life. His spirit was gentle and his work was perfect. He let me play a few of his models and then he proceeded to play for me and my wife as we sat there astonished by his beautiful music. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to you Stephan.
I just find Jimmy’s videos on you tube this year and i was impressed by his talent an all aspect of guitar, from the build to the play.
I would like to send condolences to Jimmy’s family and a thought to Jimmy, he was very inspiring to me.
Jay Wolfe says
A very Classy, talented & generous man. Taken way too soon. He will be missed.
I was very sad to hear that Jimmy has died. I met him a couple of years ago at the Arlington guitar show and found out he was a very nice man who was very willing to give me some advice and a little guitar lesson on seven string guitar. I loved his seven string Chet style. He will be missed.
Joseph Romano says
August 21,2011…a very sad day in my life…upon hearing of Jimmy’s death…I met Jimmy at a NY guitar show I had attended with my Grandson in l998…My grandson spotted him playing at his booth was very impressed and called me over…I played one of his guitars and knew I had to have one…I had since purchased a Crescent City Elite delivered in Nov. of 2000. Jimmy and I became great friends and nowhere could anyone have found a better one. I visited him in 2000 to pick up my guitar and it has been a love affair ever since…Rest in peace dear friend and great artist..
No. Babylon L.I.N.Y.
Bobby D says
I first met Jimmy at his auto and body shop. Jimmy did refinishing on the side for tippet’s music 69 ’70, He fixed a broken headstock on my Les Paul bass. Was shocked to read of his passing this morning.RIP jimmy…bobby d
Dave Erkin says
Jimmy was so talented and so full of love for the music and the craft – and what a craftsman. He was tremendously generous with his time and hospitality, so much so that I wondered how he had time to finish enough guitars to make a living. I once gave him a small piece of Mesquite (about 4 x 10 inches) which I had milled from Texas firewood and bookmatched, to show him the nice figure and color of the air-dried wood. He was enthused and excited about my description of how easy and pleasant it was to work. I had used it for fingerboards and head plates and he thought it had great potential. Like so many, I left Louisiana ahead of Katrina and never returned to get that special order started. God bless him and his legacy. // Dave Erkin // J Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers, 1964-65.
I just learned of Mr. Jimmy’s passing today. I am shocked. My sincerest condolences to Mr. Jimmy’s family.
As a teen ager, we’d go to Foster’s on Banks street to get work done on our guitars and basses. Later in life I moved to Covington and was surprised to learn that Mr. Jimmy lived just a couple miles away from me and that he had his shop right here. I visited a couple of times and had work done on two guitars. My Jimmy was a good man and a great luthier and player. I only wished that I would have gotten to know him better. A true gentleman.
Rest in peace, Mr. Jimmy
Jerry LaMont says
I am stunned to learn of Jimmys passing ….just cruised over to see what was new on his site and saw this page. I met him at the arlington tx guitar show and talked to him for quite a long while. Not only about jazz playing and guitars but about cars. He told me that he was an old paint and body man! He gave me one of his C.D.s and was very warm and easy to talk to.
His guitars are works of art and his playing style was unsurpassed on the seven string. My sincere condolences to his family
Ted Ludwig says
Jimmy was a wonderful person and I used to hang out with him as much as possible. He was one of the finest guitar makers and solo 7 string guitarists in the world. I learned so much from him. I have 3 of his guitars ( 1 Royale and 2 Crescent City Elites) and think of him every time I play them. He will surely be missed.
Miss You My Friend
Michael J. Rouillier says
Jimmy and I went way back to the old shop in the Mid City days. He and Gene worked on every guitar I owned from circa 1973 until recently. He was a person I respected, and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy and his family.
I did not have the privilege to know Jimmy Foster, but one of his guitars (a 6-string flat top acoustic) found its way to my home in Freiburg, Germany. I wanted to contact him about it in May… I am really sorry about his apssing away, and I often think about the man in the video when playing. The voice of his instruments, at least, will live on, and I am sure he would be proud of this.
Clay Sevier says
I was fortunate to have known Jimmy. I’ll miss him always. Not only a Master player and builder, but a swell guy too. I have to laugh because I think he was perplexed at me bending strings on his seven string. What a great man! I’ve never seen guitars of such quality and having him tour me through his shop was something I’ll always remember. I just feel blessed to have known him… My heart goes out to his family and friends…..Cheers and Best regards, Clay Sevier
Donald Stover says
With the passing of the wonderful Jimmy Foster, this old world is a sadder place. Today, as everyday since I received the guitar that Jimmy made for me it sits on my guitar stand. That guitar has become my constant companion in all my musical journeys. One thing I
have had trouble figuring out; whether I like the guitar he made for me better than that wonderful unique Jazz Guitar Style sound. We’ll
miss you Jimmy. Sleep Warm my friend.
Charles Austin says
What a fine person and fantastic craftsman and player to boot. I knew the legend of Jimmy Foster for years before I finally had a chance to meet and talk and watch him do work on my guitars. I was always kind of intimidated when visiting Banks Street only to find out it was my own insecurity. What a great and giving guy he was when I finally got to spend a little time with him. He tried to convince me to take up the 7-string, ” it’s just another string”,. It looks easy when you’re the master. God bless Jimmy and his wife and family. Play on Jimmy.
Rodney Wanye Davis says
Jimmy Foster and his father and my father helped me growing up to understand what quality and honesty is. Being without them now is tough to deal with for me.
These people are the reason I play guitar and all instruments today. They inspired me then and inspire me now.
These people are the reason I build Fairchild 660 tube compressors,tube microphones, Pultec tube equalizers to show them my respect.
When you grow up in New Orleans with amazing people like this around you giving so much to the community it makes you want to be able to add your love and art to the community as well.
I learned everything i know from these masters and I know they are eternal beings of vibration,love & light.
peace,love & blessings to you forever Jimmy,
Rodney W Davis
barry hagan says
I’ve just logged onto MR FOSTERS page by chance, and just from the 5 minute Video i can see he would be a hard act to follow.!! R.I.P. JIMMY.
I just wrote a retrospective on Jimmy; I can tell by reading this that his fans and their appreciation for him have not diminished. The man was obviously a prince in the music world, and a heck of a guitar maker. Rest easy, Jimmy, but keep those angels sweating to keep up with you on their new seven strings!
Carl Naquin says
All very true, Jimmy is missed as is my nephew Gene and Gene and Jimmy’s fathers. All were superb guitarists and master craftsmen, I don’t know who will be able to provide the fine level of craftsmanship they had.
Don Vappie says
I have not been able to compose my thoughts into words. And now, 10 months later, I continue to be at a lose for words. I just happened to see if the site was still here.
I will play my Foster guitar as much as I can for that is what Jimmy told me it was made for, “to be played”. My thoughts have always been with those who were closest to him.
Arthur Weiss says
ich bin sehr erschüttert, über diese Nachricht! (seinen Tod)
leider bin ich nie in den genus gekommen einmal eines seiner hochgepriesenen Instrumente zu Spielen.
da ich leider nicht so viel geld habe, aber ich habe mich sehr über seine Musik gefreud, ein Toller Gitarrist.
ich wollte nur meine betroffenheit kundtuen, ich werde für seine Familie Beten.
Ps. Jimmy Foster ist zwar körperlich nicht mehr da, aber er Lebt weiter in seiner Musik und hat so vielen menschen etwas gegeben das unbezahlbar ist.
I am very shocked by this news! (his death)
Unfortunately I never got into the genus once one of his highly acclaimed instruments to play.
I do not have much money, unfortunately, but I was very gefreud about his music, a madman guitarist.
I just wanted kundtuen my dismay, I will pray for his family.
Ps Jimmy Foster is indeed physically gone, but he lives on in his music and so many people has been something that’s priceless.
Neal Anderson says
I recently met Mr. Leroy Fauntleroy who worked closely with Jimmy Foster for the past 10 or 12 years. I quickly took a liking to Leroy and was fascinated with his stories of building guitars with Jimmy. I have now visited twice with Leroy to play some music and I have never heard so many fine things and praises said about an individual. Obviously from listening to Leroy and all of the things said here on this page, Jimmy had to be as fine a person as he was a guitar player and luthier. Wish I had the pleasure to have met him before he left us. He surely will never be gone. His kindness and fine works will live forever.
SHIRLEY & LONNIE WALTERS says
I [Shirley] talked to Jimmy several times over the cellphone and once he was in line at a fast food restaurant getting breakfast for him and his wife. He was always willing to talk even tho he didn’t know me. We had ordered all of his CDs up to that time and we continue to play them a lot. He was a wonderful guitarist and I am sure he was a wonderful person. I am hoping his wife has new material for another CD. We will be looking forward to it if there is one. Our sympathy goes out to his wife and family as I am sure he will be and is greatly missed.
I met Jimmy at the Long Island guitar shows in the 1990s. He was so friendly and a great player . I bought a couple of his CDs a few years back and really thought he was so musical–relaxed and warm, a virtuoso. His guitars were real nice and had a style of their own. I recall he had a small body acoustic round hole once which I played in an impromptu jam with some guys at his table( which he graciously encouraged). He commented he had never really played it and thought I sounded really good on it–I think it was more his guitar , but a nice compliment from good guy. In a world of mass marketing and production Jimmy had his own thing and will be missed by the guitar world.
James Dawson says
I just found out that Jimmy had passed. Jimmy built me 5 guitars over the years I knew him. I was in awe with his playing. Jimmy taught me so much about guitar repair and life. Jimmy was one of the nicest people I’d ever met. It’s been a year and I just found out. My heart is broken as I meditate on the good times we had.
keith Justus says
I never knew the man personally but I consider him a great influenced on my own love of the 7 string archtop guitar .I wandered on his web site and I ‘ve often returned to wish upon his beautuful guitars and to hear his smooth easy going guitar style.In a world full of hype and pretension I was drawn in to Jimmy’s honest down to Earth approach.
It is hard to believe that it has been 18 months since Jimmy died. Now we have laid his loving wife Stephan to sleep in death as well. She passed away on October 1st 2012. The cancer she was fighting for 25 years took its final toll. Her soft voice and velvet sounds as a singer are silenced. We have been playing her CD’s at home and in the car. She loved people, and life and God. She will be so missed and we are praying for her mother Coral Lee. This is really hard to take. Such love, such talent, such a beautiful person is now in our memories. We will see you and Jimmy again Stephan rest well.
Mike Castigliola says
I met jimmy when I was only 15 at his Banks St shop when I brought my guitar in for a repair. I made many visits to that shop in the years that followed and it was always a pleasant experience. It sure was a treat if you caught Jimmy and Gene jamming together! It must have been just months before he passed that we corresponded by email when I bought a few of his cd’s . We chatted a little about the old days and I told him how much I enjoyed my visits to the shop . He was a friend to everyone that knew him. To me he was a special inspiration as I went on to make guitars to, He would sell me binding for guitars I was making. He would give advice freely. I am very saddened to hear of his passing , i just found out today when checking out the website . I will sure miss him.
Peace to his family
Rest in peace my friend…….
joel mathews says
i am a unlucky man because i don’t get a chance to meet such a man like jimmy foster.
FOSTER I MISS YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
Randy Smith says
So sorry to hear about Jimmy’s passing. When we lived in Slidell, Jimmy was kind enough to take on a project and restore The Gibson mandolin left to me by my grandfather. He did a beautiful job, and I always remember Jimmy and his workshop when I look at that mandolin.
Rest in peace, and play on!
Dean Taylor says
…and, while we grieve the passing of a friend, let us also celebrate the beautiful life that was Jimmy’s: the gift of music that was his, in abundance! The creating of non pareil guitars so that others might express themselves, and the lyrical, expression of music that Jimmy was capable of when he played, too!
(what beautiful guitars!)
Darrell Hartman says
my condolances to Jimmy’s family. I too as many others here have commented had numerous visits to Bank St. store. Always enjoyed friendly atmosphere around Jimmy, his Dad and Gene. Ever helpful, so knowledgeable. Will be sorely missed. They worked on my old Gibson L7 many years ago and its still playing great. Stephan, Gail and my prayers are with you.
Christmas is jazz guitar time for me. It just seems to fit, So I always go to Jimmys page to hear him play. I have been a amature guitar maker for 20 years and while listening to guitar jazz I watch his building tutorials too. I always feel lifted afterwards. So Im shocked to learn of his passing . He built great sounding guitars. Im sure his playing was a reflection of his personality as well. Im blessed to have heard and watched this man use his hands to make music. Thankyou Jimmy
Kevin Peck says
So sorry to see Jimmy Foster has fallen asleep. Hope to see him in paradise. My husband who I am writing this for is an avid guitar enthusiast he has looked at Jimmy’s site before and was just looking at it again and found the news of his sleep. He was happy to see though that he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Hope his family is doing well and look forward to the day when Jimmy will make music again in better times. Sisterly and Brotherly love the Pecks in Homer Ak
Geoff Espeland says
I lived in New Orleans from 1982-1985. In that time I made many trips to Foster’s Custom Finishes. I did a lot of browsing and buying. Jimmy always took the time to talk with me even if I wasn’t buying that day. In 1985, I commissioned Jimmy to build a Tele style custom guitar for me. It is still my fav. I’m sure he will be missed by all who knew him.
Phillip Kehoe says
I got to meet Jimmy on the 24th of April 2011. He received me as he apparently did everyone, with warmth and an open easy smile.
I got a full tour of the shop and a near private concert up in the front room. I left with the feeling that I had just met a teacher and a potential friend. Sadly, it was not to be. I now find myself about to purchase Jimmy’s shop to make furniture in. His level of craftsmanship and artistry will serve as an inspiration for me to strive to be all I can in my own chosen field. Bless you Jimmy, I will seek out your CD’s and start my days with them playing in your shop.
Met Jimmy and Jeff Hale at a guitar show in St. Louis. Their booths were side by side. Jimmy insisted that I play this really expensive guitar that he’d built. That thing was heaven, but far beyond my budget. He invited me to come down to Louisiana sometime and visit his shop. So I did. Took the wife with me and Stephan and he entertained us while his wife in the process of recovering from Cancer! I’ve wanted a Foster guitar since playing that first one and unfortunately, was never in a position to commission one while Jimmy was still with us. I am thankful that Jimmy playing Polkadots and Moonbeams has been captured on video.
Larry Haley says
I never met Jimmy but he built me a custom solid body electric guitar and for more than a year I had weekly phone talks with him about the guitar which I had a vague idea for design and Jimmy made it a reality. When I got it, it was a true work of art, slim neck, abalone pearl border on the body, fretboard and head stock. At the time, he giggled to himself mostly thinking i was nuts wanting the pearl work done. at first he inlayed the abalone border but called me and said it didn’t work because the pearl absorbed light and didn’t show up. He put some more thought to it and put a white reflected in the grouted channel around the body before he inlayed the pearl. That innovation worked great. It wasn’t long after he finished my guitar, Jimmy asked me if he could talke the design and make a dozen or so of them and to take them to the Namm show. I said of course. He took my guitar and the others and sent me a photo of all of them on display when he sent my guitar. It was a masterful job he did on the guitar and I was amazed. I think of Jimmy every time I play it. I talked with him not too long before he died and we discussed another of my crazy ideas for a guitar. I miss him. He was a master luthier, consumate musician and an all around really nice man. It was an honor to get to know him as I did. Rest in peace Jimmy.
Brian Branch says
I have the absolute privlage of owning a 1970 stratocaster that Jimmy repainted in his auto shop the 70s. It is by far the most amazing instrument that I own. It has a few chips here and there . The clear coat has turned yellow making the multicolor glitter spinkled into black glows in a beauitiful soft green. Even after all the years and countless shows this guitar still looks stunning. I have spent two years restoring it back to its former glory and can only hope that Jimmy would be proud of what it looks and sounds like . I wish I could have met him and traded a few licks with him. I can only say his work is amazing. I never met him but I do miss him.
Darrell Hedrick says
Sorry I am so late was unaware until tonight, but got to thinking about the Banks St. shop while playing my acoustic that I got there in 1978 and did some Googling–here I am. One never realizes how they may touch other peoples lives by a seemingly small action, but Jimmy steered me to this guitar and it has been a faithful friend ever since, I only wish that I could play it as well as it deserves. For the last 15 years or so I only play in church, where I told someone last week that I would get a new case when this beat up old one has as many dings in it as I have in me. Thank you Jimmy for giving me something that I can honor our Creator with. May I extend my very belated condolences to your family.
geoff menzer says
I was fortunate to meet Jimmy in 1997 at the Classic Guitar show on Long Island.I had already played a Gretsch 7 string which I liked,then had to sell it (and other guitars to pay school fees! Fifteen years later I decided to order a custom built 7 string (from another country) and before I had had time to really use it, I tried Jimmy”s guitars and realised how much easier they were to play,than the one I had purchased.If I’d known about Jimmy before,I would surely have bought one of his instruments.I remember what a gentleman and easy going person Jimmy was,and am sad that such a great luthier and playing talent has been lost at such a young age.I do have all his CDs to reming me how good his playing and sound were.Rest in Peace Jimmy!
michael shcaferkotter says
i also knew jimmy, and gene and the guys on banks street around 1974. it was an experience to go over there about quitting time, and see everyone with a guitar in hand playing together.
when away at college i would travel the 250 miles to have jimmy setup the guitar. when other folks would play the guitar, they would always ask, “who setup this up?”.
jimmy’s attention to detail on the instruments has had a long lasting effect on what i expect from an instrument.
when in his shop, he would show me around every time i visited. if i asked a question about a part, he would often dig around find something and hand it to me and say ‘take it’.
thank you jimmy for sharing.
Danny Campo says
I heard of Jimmy’s passing only a few months ago and just discovered this place to pay a little tribute to this very nice man.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy about 12 -15 years ago as Gibson recommend him as the local Luthier who should work on my vintage ES 335. Well Jimmy was not taking outside work at that time but loved the guitar so much, and just wanted to help me he made an exception. The old guitar played beautifully for a few years and then it needed new frets, I knew right where to go.
I only wish I had know Jimmy longer as he was a wonderful musician, unbelievable guitar builder, but most he was one of the good guys.
PS: I carried around that ES 335 in a cardboard case held together by duct tape, Jimmy suggested I get a better case, so he dug under a counter and brought out a much better “new” case and asked with a slight smile, “is 50.00 OK”? The Gibby stills rest comfortably in that 50.00 case lol.
Larry Haley says
Jimmy built me my dream guitar in 1988-89. It was a lightweight strat style body with ebony fingerboard and a lot of abalone shell. I asked him to inlay a line of abalone on the edge of the face of the guitar body, continue the abalone on the ebony fingerboard and keep on going onto an ebony facia on the head stock. He had tremendous patience with me. Clearly he built high end archtops and my fear was that a small solid body electric with tons of pearl on it would only be considered frivolous by him. After it was completed he asked me if he could make a dozen similar in style, though less fancy. I agreed and so he built the guitars and I see people all over the country and even in England treasuring their on Foster F5, which is the name he settled on for the dozen guitars.
He was a superb guitar builder, one of the very best. I spoke to him a few months before he died about a refurbishing of my Foster guitar since I had played it professionally for nearly 20 years. I expected to drop it off with him and then I heard of his death. It is so sad. Not only was he a great guitar talent, as a maker and a player, he was a very fine man, a true gem. He is still being missed by anyone who ever met him. RIP Jimmy
Palm Beach County, Florida
After having reverted to 6 string for the past year following a thumb injury, I have returned to my beloved Foster Elite 7 string. It is a source of inspiration to me in the same way Jimmy’s personality and kindness inspired others. Jimmy Foster lives on in his creations.
I met Jimmy in the fall of 2010. Earlier in that year I purchased a Foster guitar from a local Pawn Shop. The guitar had some wear and tear and the Foster tuning keys were the only indication it was original. Around mid October I got on the internet and found Fosters phone number and gave him a call. I explained to Jimmy what I thought to be one of his guitars and asked if he would take a look at it. He gave me his address in Covington and the day to go by. When I arrived I was welcomed by Jimmy and he introduced me to his wife, Stephan, who was battling cancer. After spending a half hour or so chatting we went in his shop and took a look at my guitar. When he opened the case he smiled and said it was one of his and asked how much I paid for it? I told him $800 and he said that I made one hell of a deal. Jimmy was going to redo the whole instrument for $1700. I agreed to bring it back in May when I got my taxes. I asked him if he would sign my guitar and Jimmy told me he never signed any of his guitars. He gave me a tour of his work shop then sat down in his guitar room and played a couple songs which I have us together on video. At the days end Jimmy did autograph my guitar and gave me a picture of every guitar he designed. I was saddened to hear of Jimmy’s passing, but I will never forget that one day spent together. Also, I have the only Foster guitar he has ever signed.
Bob todd says
Jimmy was a very fine man and if asked a question about guitars you could count it as gospel. I remember calling him just before he died about this Est 125 Gibson I had purchased if I paid too much for it and immediately replied to me that I got it at a bargain price. I purchased my Johnny Smith Model Gibson from Jimmy and sold it to at a fair price.
Know Jimmy loved God and kept his word true to the end. I always think about my friend and the kindness he showed to me and everyone whoever knew him. Rest in peace my friend.
Roy Stubenrauch says
Sure do miss you my friend.