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Ledford, Homer (1927-2006) | Eastern Kentucky University - Special Collections and Archives

Name: Ledford, Homer (1927-2006)

Historical Note:

Homer C. Ledford (1927-2006) is recognized throughout Appalachia and beyond as a master craftsman of dulcimers and other instruments, a skilled musician, and a creative man filled with joy and gentle humor. Born in Ivyton, TN, Ledford showed a strong talent for carving and music at an early age. At 15 he made a fiddle out of curly maple from a tree in his father's hog lot. In 1946, while attending the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, he crafted his first mountain dulcimers.

Ledford attended Berea College in 1949, later transferring to Eastern Kentucky University, where he received a BS degree in industrial arts in 1954. He taught industrial arts in high schools in Jefferson County and then in Clark County until, in 1963, he left teaching to become a full time luthier. During his lifetime Ledford completed 6,014 dulcimers, over 500 banjos, 36 guitars, 36 mandolins, 4 fiddles, 2 bowed dulcimers, and an autoharp. He invented the dulcitar, the dulcibro, and the ducijo. A fretless dulcimer, a dulcitar, and a fretless banjo by Ledford are a part of the musical instrument collection at the Smithsonian.

In addition to his work as a luthier, Ledford was an accomplished musician, able to play 13 different instruments. In 1976 he organized a bluegrass group, Homer Ledford and the Cabin Creek Band, which performed throughout Kentucky for well over a quarter century. The band performed in Ecuador in 1989 and at the Ireland International Bluegrass Festival in the early 1990s.

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