The Reeves family of Alleghany County claim kinship to Homer and Cleo, the Reeves Brothers, and Nashville star Del Reeves. Though Floyd Reeves did not carry on the family tradition as a performing musician, he made a name for himself making fiddles and doing repair work for many of the area’s musicians. Starting in the early 1980s, Floyd made more than 50 fiddles, and he repaired fiddles and other instruments and re-haired bows around his home in Sparta.
Floyd grew up hearing traditional mountain music. His mother and brother both played guitar, and he had several uncles who played music. One uncle was particularly adept on the fiddle. “He knew music through and through,” Floyd said. “That’s what got me interested in the fiddle.” Just as he began to play, he went into the military. “That’s what messed up my playing.” After service, Floyd stopped playing music seriously.
Floyd kept his interest in the instrument, however. His friend Tom Barr from Galax, Virginia, was making fiddles and convinced Floyd to try his hand at making one. “Tom and I got together,” Floyd recalled, “And I got to fooling with it.” With Tom’s help, Floyd made his first fiddle, and he was hooked. “I just kept doing it.”
Floyd continued working on his craft, making more and more fiddles. He made most of his instruments after retiring from the Department of Transportation in the 1980s. Floyd modeled his fiddles after Guarneri violins, and his instruments had a strong bass tone. He sold fiddles to people as far away as Maryland and Florida, and his instruments were played by local musicians. Jeff Michael has several of Floyd’s fiddles. He was a mentor to Joe Sweeney of Galax, who learned to make fiddles from Floyd.