Woodrow Instrument Company, located in the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, specializes in building, selling, and teaching the Woodrow, an upright variant of the traditional Appalachian dulcimer. The creator of the Woodrow, Dan Williams, has always been a string instrument musician. Inspired to build his very first Woodrow prototype in the late 1980s, his friend, Woodrow, provided Dan a woodshop in which to experiment. Eventually, happy with his results and satisfied with what he had built, Dan decided to name his creation after his friend.
Like its relative, the mountain dulcimer, the Woodrow has frets along the do-re-mi scale pattern, and the player needs only to navigate one string set to play it. Ease of playability is at the heart of the Woodrow Instrument Company’s philosophy, which is to share Western North Carolina culture and empower everyone to play music. The Woodrow is based on the traditional mountain or Appalachian dulcimer. It functions like its traditional kin, but the player holds the instrument the way they would a guitar or ukulele.
Visitors to Woodrow Instrument Company can see examples of the four standard Woodrow body shapes, each of which pays homage to other traditional instruments. Each Woodrow is constructed from wood including ash, gum cherry, maple, sapele, black walnut, purple heart, and oak, utilizing particular woods to create certain sound characteristics. Each instrument sold comes with instructions and staff promise that anyone interested can learn to play the Woodrow before they leave the shop.
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10 am-6 pm