John began working on guitars with his father, Scott Baxendale. He started in 1996 at his father’s little shop in the Denver Folklore Center repairing old Kay and Harmony student model guitars.
John helped his father with the start-up of the Colfax Guitar Shop, where he worked part time through high school. In 2001 he assumed full-time responsibility at the shop handling a majority of the repair work. During his nine years at Colfax Guitar Shop he repaired more than four thousand instruments. He also restored many antique and vintage guitars including several pre-war Martins, pre-CBS Strats and Teles. While at the Colfax Guitar Shop John started building his own guitars that were greatly inspired by his restoration work on fine instruments.
John decided to venture out on his own and opened the Colorado Guitar Company with a focus on guitar repair and restoration. During this time he honed his guitar building skills and started to focus on his own brand of acoustic guitars, JC Baxendale Handmade Guitars.