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I started out playing guitar, two or three years earlier than the banjo, but I didn’t get very far. A poor teacher and a poor guitar ended my first attempt. That was when I lived in Kentucky. As a boy, I’d grown up around bluegrass but it wasn’t until later, when I moved to Colorado in 1956, that I really got into playing music.
In this lifetime there were two things that inspired me to build banjos, besides playing. First, I grew up intrigued by building with metal and wood. My mother was in the antique business in Kentucky and I would go looking for treasures of the past with her. In the process, I became interested in antique firearms to the extent that by the time I turned 14, I was a professional gun trader. It was during those years in the trading business that I fell in love with the use of wood and metal as an art form and began learning vintage design techniques with those materials.