ABOUT US


Join

Join the Blue Ridge Luthiers for $20/year. Contact Larry Sakayama at larry.sakayama@yahoo.com or 540-520-6213.



About the Blue Ridge Luthiers

We’re an informal group in Southwestern Virginia, interested in the art and craft of making stringed instruments. We meet to share information, get advice, and build stuff together. Besides providing expertise and advice, other members can be sources of wood, tools, and supplies.

In addition to making instruments, many of our members are performing musicians.

Our members are mostly from the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas, but also include folks from Tazewell and Smith Mountain Lake.


Why We Exist

  • Promote the Luthier Arts
  • Provide a forum and mechanism for information sharing (instrument making, sources of materials, business issues, ...)
  • Resource sharing (tools, wood, books...)
  • Provide exposure and marketing for members instruments, repair work, performances
  • Solicit and give advice
  • Build stuff together
  • Play music together

As Chet said, “I’ve enjoyed learning who in our community shares the passion of lutherie and learning about what they do and what makes them unique . . . and as a result, I feel I have also met some new friends.”


Meetings

We rotate meetings at members shops. We generally try to have at least one main discussion topic or demonstration. Although we don't have a regular meeting schedule, we try not to let more than a month or two go by without one.


Steve Parks Signature Guitar

Our First Group Project

The Steve Parks Signature Guitar

In 2007 we hatched the idea of a group project - a project where we actually build an instrument together. Our plan was to either sell the instrument to raise funds for another project or donate it to a worthy cause.

While we were contemplating this idea, we heard that an auction was being planned to raise money for the Parks Family fund, a fund for fellow luthier and musician, Steve Parks, who was battling cancer. On October 19, 2008 we started our first project, the Steve Parks Signature Guitar. It was completed on March 28, 2009 and sold at the "Parks Family Fund" auction on April 4, 2009.


Other Stuff

Here's a list of potential stuff that members talk about. Some we've done, some are still on the to-do list, and some we've done and will do again.

  • Build another instrument for a charity
  • Organize a Trip (local or long distance) – We need someone willing to do the planning. Some trip ideas:
    • Wayne Henderson's shop
    • Audey Ratliff, mandolin builder – Bristol area
    • Violin makers convention
    • Huss and Dalton in Staunton – it’s close to home. Some of us have been there. They are extremely cordial and give a great tour. And, they make superb instruments. Huss and Dalton
    • Healdsburg Guitar Festival
    • Martin in Nazareth PA - Perhaps if we contacted them and told them who the audience would be, we could get a production manager or engineer to give us a more detailed tour and be able to answer technical questions we have.
    • Dinner and show at the Jefferson Center, the Lyric, or Lime Kiln Theatre.
    • A wood supplier like Custom Tonewoods
  • Guest Speakers - Get guest speakers to come talk to us. If a trip is hard to arrange, maybe someone will come to us.
  • Get a Group Gig – Maybe we can get a group gig at someplace (like the 3rd Street Coffee House in Roanoke). It would be fun, give some exposure to the group, showcase our instruments, and get some exposure for those who perform.