Instrument Making

Lyle Reedy

Fiddle maker

Brevard, NC (Transylvania County)

Long-time Transylvania County resident Lyle Reedy first became interested in building fiddles when he moved to North Carolina nearly a quarter century ago. He learned by self-instruction, trial and error, and the advice of local instrument-makers. "Most of the wood I use is local, much of it grown in this county and obtained from a friend who has a small sawmill. All of the carving is done by hand, with power tools used minimally for a few operations, such as drilling peg holes. Many of my tools are home-made, for both economy and functionality."

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Ben Seymour

Luthier and oldtime musician

Tryon, NC (Polk County)

Ben Seymour has been building dulcimers of his own Kudzu Patch design and other stringed instruments since 1994, in addition to repairing a wide variety of acoustic instruments.  Later, Galax-style dulcimers also became part of his regular line of products.  From the beginning, all Ben's instruments have possessed excellent tonal quality and exceptional volume, which are maintained in those he builds today.  In the past few years, he has been drawn to build many of the dulcimer’s antecedents, including museum-based historical reproduction scheitholts, langeleiks, hummels and epinettes des V

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Jason Lonon

Woodworker, blacksmith

Marion, NC (McDowell County)

Born in 1979, Jason Lonon grew up in McDowell County where he spent a three-year apprenticeship with master furniture maker Hugh Bowman. Jason has always had a love of history and working with his hands. He grew up on a small farm where woodworking was a natural part of learning to help around the homestead. It was the years spent with Hugh Bowman, however, that helped him realize his ability to make a living as a fine woodworker.

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Ernie Lossiah

Cherokee flute maker, musician, artist

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

Ernie Lossiah makes and plays the traditional Cherokee flute. He also carves wood and stone, and he is an artist who works in pencil and in pen and ink.

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Alfred Michels

Luthier and fiddler

Creston, NC (Ashe County)

Alfred Michels was born and raised in Germany, and he apprenticed with a master violin maker in Europe. Since 1982, he has made, repaired, and played stringed instruments in western North Carolina.

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Kevin Fore

Oldtime banjo player and banjo maker

Galax, VA (Carroll County)

Kevin Fore grew up in the Beulah/Lowgap area of Surry County. He plays Round Peak style clawhammer banjo and is one of the youngest native tradition bearers of the style. Kevin took an interest in the traditional music of his community after he graduated high school and a doctor advised him against his hobby of racing cars on a dirt track. "I'm allergic to dust," explains Kevin, "so I started going to square dances where Benton Flippen was playing."

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Charlie Glenn

Instrument maker

Banner Elk, NC (Watauga County)

Born in 1945 in Watauga County's Bethel community, Charlie Glenn learned how to make banjos and dulcimers from Stanley Hicks, a well-known instrument builder and humorous character who was the uncle of Charlie's wife Shirley. Charlie first became fascinated with building instruments when he visited a community barber, Willie Glenn, who made instruments in his basement. His grandfather had also made a banjo, which Charlie often admired as it hung on his grandmother's wall.

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Clifford Glenn

Instrument maker

Watauga County

Clifford Glenn is a traditional instrument maker and musician from the Sugar Grove and Beech Mountain area of Watauga County North Carolina. He has been making dulcimers and fretless mountain banjos for more than five decades in a tradition that dates back to his great-grandfather Eli Presnell. Presnell made a pattern in the 1880s from what was supposedly the first dulcimer in the hourglass pattern in the region. That instrument, according to family stories, was brought on horseback by a mysterious "man from the west" (probably Kentucky), and while he stayed the night a pattern was made.

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Lo and Mary Gordon

Luthier, oldtime musicians

Brevard, NC (Transylvania County)

After a more than a dozen years in Transylvania County, Lo and Mary Gordon are central figures in the local oldtime music scene. The Gordons host a Tuesday-night jam session at their family shop in Brevard, Celestial Mountain Music, and are the hosts and founders of Brevard's Halloween Fest Music Contest. They are also accomplished musicians who have performed all over the Southeast.

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Paul Graybeal

Instrument builder, mandolin player

Zionville, NC (Watauga County)

Paul Graybeal grew up in the Creston community in Ashe County where he was surrounded by traditional mountain music. Over the years he developed his instrument building and repairing skills and has produced almost 100 guitars, 50 mandolins, a number of dulcimers, a banjo, and many miniature instruments. Paul has played guitar since he was a young teenager and he now plays mandolin with the Dark Ridge Boys.

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