Beltona began as a partnership between Steve Evans and Bill Johnson in the UK in 1990. A luthier and engineer respectively and sharing an interest in resonator instruments, they set out to produce a couple of instruments for themselves replicating the best features of the originals but also making adjustments and improvements where they were needed. A business grew from this, producing the finest quality, handcrafted metal instruments at a time when these were not being made by anyone else.
Beltona is a highly specialised and innovative enterprise and continues to break new ground by producing quality, handcrafted carbon and glass fibre instruments. The idea for this came in the mid-1990s primarily to cut down on production costs and time to be able to keep the instruments affordable. The unexpected discovery of the other advantages of this material over metal was a huge bonus. The improvements are in the areas of sound projection, weight, strength and ease/speed of production. With the success of this development, Beltona had, by 2002, moved from producing both types of instruments to concentrating solely on those made of resin. The first instruments made were tricones (the most difficult instrument to construct) followed by single resonators, ukuleles, mandolins and then innovative electro-resonators and mandola. Beltona moved from the UK to Steve’s native New Zealand in 1998 and, by the early 2000’s, Steve was sole owner of the business. Beltona was based in the UK once again from 2013 to 2023 and after ten interesting and fruitful years in the UK, Beltona returned to New Zealand in September 2023.
Steve was photographed at work in his workshop and featured in an international advertising campaign for Credit Suisse – True Specialists