Wayne C. Henderson of Rugby, Virginia is one of the best kept secrets in the world of guitar making. He’s not even that much of a Secret. He’s played at Carnegie Hall and has made instruments for some fancy musicians including Doc Watson and Eric Clapton. So, Wayne’s been around….
He’s also a friend of my family. My mom went to high school with him and my dad used to be a “General Loafer” as Wayne refers to the fellers who hang around the shop…
In my opinion, there are two reasons those general loafers hang around. Number 1 is that there is a lot of beauty that comes out of that shop despite the clutter… and Number 2 is that if you don’t hang around, there is no way your guitar will ever get worked on.
My good friend Sarah (who lives in Minnesota) ordered her guitar two years ago. She schlepped her way to Southwestern Virginia back to Wayne’s shop and gave him the size and dimensions she was looking for. While she was there, they picked out the wood for the back Wayne clamped the sides to bend them into shape.
This past August, Sarah wanted to check on the progress. Calling Wayne was not really working. He’s always out of the shop and a phone call isn’t really urgent enough. So Sarah and I both went to Virginia to see what had happened.
We got to the shop and started our own “General Loafing”. I got obsessed with a wooden mind tricking puzzle sitting there, and Sarah inquired about the progress, and found the guitar in the same shape she left it… bent sides and a back.
Since we were there, and we just kept hanging around, Wayne just started working on her guitar. They picked out her top out of spruce, and then he sanded it down to the right thickness for good resonating glued it together, added some ribbon to the inside of the sides of the guitar, put the sides and the back together and added another piece (i can’t remember what that piece was called) and then we loafed our way on back home….
Patience IS a virtue. Good things come to those that wait. There are many more sayings that can make Sarah feel better about how many trips to Virginia it will take to get her Henderson Guitar.