Joseph Kovacic was born in Croatia in 1945. After serving in the Croatian Army, he began training as a luthier at the Zagreb School of Guitar Making in Zagreb, Croatia, followed by two years additional training at Crossman Guitar Works in Vienna, Austria. Joe imigrated to Canada from Croatia in 1968 and began working for Turner Musical Instruments, a division of Gibson Guitars for two years, followed by a job with Hagstrom Guitars as an inspector for one year.
In 1971, having reached a workable level of English, Joe began his own business called Joe's Strings from a basement shop on Gerrard Street, in Toronto, Canada. In 1973, he formed Lado Musical Inc. and opened a retail shop on Kingston Road, in Toronto. In addition to building Lado Guitars, Lado had an exclusive repair contract with C.F. Martin Guitars for all of Canada.
Around 1976, the demand for Lado Guitars had grown so much that he moved to a bigger facility in Scarborough, Ontario. The 1981 Lado catalogue shows Lado Guitars to have moved again to a new facility - this time located on R.R. #1 in Uxbridge, ON, with a photographed staff of 13 employees.
In 1987, Lado built a 14' 3" tall, 309 lb Earth model guitar, deemed the "largest built and presumably the loudest playable electric guitar" by the Guinness Book of World Records. The record was held from 1987-1991.
The 1988 Lado catalogue shows Lado Guitars to have moved from the Uxbridge factory to a new one on Warden Avenue, in Scarborough, ON. In 2003, Joe started the Lado School of Lutherie. This was a way to slow down his pace as he was reaching retirement, and also to pass on his unique craftsmanship and trade secrets to a younger generation of luthiers. Today, Lado Musical Inc. is located in Lindsay, ON.