R. Gerald Alvey

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Dulcimer making has long been considered an art. The exquisite design is also functional, and the best instruments sound as beautiful as they look. Homer Ledford, a legend among dulcimer makers, is known for his innovative but traditional craftsmanship. A biography and a step-by-step guide to dulcimer making, this classic book illuminates and celebrates the work of a master craftsman, musician, and folk artist. This new edition presents a foreword by Ron Pen, director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky, and an enlightening afterword featuring a conversation with Ledford. In an era when Americans are rediscovering their musical roots, Dulcimer Maker offers a unique look at a bluegrass legend.

Goes well beyond the numerous scholarly and technical articles written over the years about the dulcimer. Ledford’s comments complement Alvey’s writing and the fine photographs. -- Choice

Even if you don’t know a dulcimer from a dobro, this is a fine biography in its own rights, a slice of real life profiling an innovative master of his craft and practicing musician. -- Pegram (TN) Advocate

There is a certain amount of how-to in the book (thank goodness someone cared enough to keep the written log) and even more who-does, but for musicians the core of this tribute and testament is the music-making instrument itself, the sound-in-the-ear as well as the visual object itself, which are both works of art. -- Rockland (ME) Courier-Gazette

One of the best luthier biographies to be published in recent memory and a must-read for fans of the mountain dulcimer. -- Sing Out!

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Homer Ledford, Dulcimer, Appalachian music, Musical instrument makers, Kentucky


Cultural History


Photographs by Jerry Schureman with a foreword by Ron Pen.

Dulcimer Maker: The Craft of Homer Ledford
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