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Ben Seymour

Ben Seymour

Luthier and oldtime musician Tryon, NC (Polk County)

Ben Seymour has been building lap dulcimers of his own Kudzu Patch design and other stringed instruments since 1994, in addition to repairing a wide variety of acoustic instruments. From the beginning, all Ben’s instruments have possessed excellent tonal quality and exceptional volume, which are maintained in those he builds today. He has been drawn to build many of the dulcimer’s antecedents, including the German scheitholt, Icelandic lanspeiel, Norwegian langeleik, Swedish hummel, and French epinette des voges, to meet the needs of musicians and collectors around the world. Ben is also one of the very few builders who still produce Galax dulcimers, a form of the instrument historically produced only in the Galax, Virginia area.

Ben began his first Galax-style dulcimers after hearing that Jacob Ray Melton of Galax, Virginia, the last traditional builder of that dulcimer style, had passed away. He added it to his own line of instruments in order to preserve the Galax from disappearing into history. In building the first Galaxes, Ben carefully reproduced their special features by studying original instruments and photographs in Ralph Lee Smith’s preeminent history of the dulcimer, Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions. When shown one of his Galaxes, Ralph Lee Smith stated that Ben had achieved the “traditional-style instrument of the Virginia type.” Ben continues producing Galaxes, as he takes seriously his role in preserving the instrument’s Appalachian heritage, as well as his Kudzu Patch dulcimers and the antecedents of the dulcimer.

Ben is a member of the Guild of American Luthiers and is a graduate of the Chimneys Workshop for Violin Makers.

More information and photographs of Ben’s work can be viewed at www.kudzupatch.net.

Availability:

Ben will take on custom work and accept repair jobs. Ben takes individual students for dulcimer lessons, and is available for instructing groups in dulcimer playing and in giving presentations on the history of the dulcimer and its antecedents.

He can be reached at 828-863-4384 or kudzupatch@gmail.com. Since there is no signal nearby, he has no cell phone, so if he is working out in the shop, please leave a message on his answering machine. He will return your call promptly.

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