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Hickler Banjos
I grew up listening to old time and bluegrass music due to my father's eclectic musical tastes which ranged from jazz to blues and folk. My dad was an accomplished amateur folk performer and influenced me and other family members to take up acoustic instruments. My dad passed away in 2011, but right up to the end, in his 80s, he still liked to learn new songs. The first instrument I built was an Appalachian dulcimer made of oak plywood. I was about 14 years old. I made an attempt at full-time lutherie at about age 22, but did not have the requisite business sense. I finally got back to building in the 1990s. We lived in a 100 year old house in Framingham Massachusetts. I set up shop in the basement where I made my first complete banjos. Because of the age of the house, the basement cielings were so low that I could stand straight only in one small area. I guess I really wanted to do it! I moved my family to Arizona from Massachusetts in 2001. I am a volunteer in a unique musical group Jam Pak Blues 'N' Grass Neigborhood Band, which offers free music lessons to neighborhood children. We play on stage at local festivals and enjoy a lot of support from the bluegrass community. At the end of 2009 I went into lutherie full time and more recently moved my shop into a commercial space in Tempe, Arizona.
Mesa, Arizona
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