"A legacy of innovative craftsmanship"
Joseph Kovacic, the founder and CEO of J.K. Lado & Company, was born in Croatia in 1945. After serving in the Yugoslavian army, he began training as a professional luthier at the Zagreb School of Guitar Making in Zagreb, Croatia. Following his studies in Zagreb, Joe completed two years of additional training at Crossman Guitar Works in Vienna, Austria.
In 1968 Joe emigrated to Canada and accepted a position with Turner Musical Instruments, a division of Gibson Guitars. Following two years with Turner Musical, Joe relocated to Hagstrom Guitars as product inspector for one year.
After developing a strong skillset in English, Mr. Kovacic launched Joe's Strings in 1971 from a Toronto basement shop on Gerrard Street.
In 1973, Joe incorporated Lado Musical and opened a retail shop located on Kingston Road, in Toronto. In addition to building custom guitars under the Lado name, Joe had an exclusive repair contract with C.F. Martin Guitars for all Canada based customers.
During 1976, the international demand for Lado Guitars prompted a relocation and Lado moved to a larger production facility in Scarborough, ON.
By 1981, Lado had again expanded into a new, larger facility on R.R. #1 in Uxbridge, ON. Increasing support of the Lado brand called for a production and administration staff of 13 employees.
Lado entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1987 for building a 14’ 3” tall, 309 lb “Earth” model guitar. After producing the “largest built and presumably loudest playable electric guitar" , Lado maintained status as a record-holder from 1987-1991.
The 1988 Lado catalogue shows Lado Guitars again moved into a larger and better equipped operating facility on Warden Avenue in Scarborough, ON.
During 2003, Mr. Kovacic launched the Lado School of Lutherie. Approaching retirement, Joe wished to pass on his passion for guitar making, unique craftsmanship, and trade secrets to younger generations of luthiers. The Lado School of Lutherie will continue to pass on it's legacy of craftsmanship until Joe's final retirement.
Today, Lado Musical Inc. produces selected models of Lado guitars and basses on a limited basis from a private production facility in Ontario, CA.