Alex Todt has been part of the music scene in Bristol, VA for many years. After playing with several local bands and obtaining a degree from Radford University, Alex began repairing instruments while working at a music store in Radford. After a stint at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts Alex found his true passion in the music world, making custom built guitars and violins.
"Virginia is blessed with many useful woods for instrument building. From Figured Maple to Black Walnut and Poplar, many tonewoods can be found in Urban landscapes and on surrounding farmland. I enjoy using locally sourced timber as a replacement for some traditionally used imported woods. Also, my customers always appreciate it when I can pinpoint the sawmill and plot of land that the timber for their instrument came from."
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Luthier & Instructor
Hailing from the heart of the Appalachian musical world in southwest Virginia, Jayne Henderson is a Luthier - the maker of stringed instruments such as ukuleles or guitars. Presently living in Asheville, NC, Jayne says she still makes trips back to Virginia to “teach inlay techniques at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion and do finish work at my dad's shop located in Mouth of Wilson.”
“I use mostly local materials - walnut my dad harvested and put in the attic of my Granny's cellar 40 years ago, and I also use maple, oak and ash. I love using walnut! It has a great tone, similar to mahogany, but it is plentiful and beautiful and since it is right out our back door, we can all enjoy its shade until it is ready to become a guitar.”
More details about Jayne's business can be found by visiting her web page >>
Luthier & Musician
For over twenty-five years Larry Hinkle has been a cabinet and furniture maker in the Fredericksburg, VA area. After work slowed down due to the recession, he started making ukuleles in 2011 because as Larry says: “I love playing them.”
“In 2003, I invested in an Alaskan sawmill after Hurricane Isabel blew through Virginia. I use this sawmill to harvest lumber out of exceptional local trees that have blown down from storms. To me, this lumber has a provenance that provides a story of where the tree grew and of folks who interacted with it. I like to think this attribute of local wood is passed along and helps make my instruments extra special.”
“My favorite wood is a stash of English and black walnut that grew next to historic Kenmore Plantation in Fredericksburg that is beautiful for ukulele bodies and wonderful to work. I like to use cherry for necks and fretboards. Lately I've been salvaging old piano soundboards which I fantasize some of which could possibly be Appalachian spruce if not Adirondack spruce.”
Additional information about Larry and his business can be found his website >>