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The Peculiar Business of Wayne C. Henderson: How Guitar Making Saved His Life


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Pencil art presented to Wayne on his birthday, drawn by Willard Gayheart.  Source:

Pencil art presented to Wayne on his birthday, drawn by Willard Gayheart. Source:

We travel to the homeland of American bluegrass to visit the workshop of guitar builder Wayne C. Henderson. His instruments are considered some of the best in the world. His current waiting list is ten years long. Wayne could charge big bucks for his instruments, but he’s not driven by money. He works by a different set of values. It’s a strange way to do business, but has surprising benefits. Once, those values ended up saving Wayne’s life.

This show has been a special collaboration between National Radio Project and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Thanks to student producer, Ben Hubbard, who wrote and edited this show under the guidance of independent media producer and UC Berkeley journalism lecturer, Claire Schoen.


Wayne Henderson, guitar builder; Virginia Parsons, Henderson guitar owner; Tommy Nichols, Baptist preacher and Henderson guitar owner; Uwe Kreuger, member of The Kreuger Brothers bluegrass group and Henderson guitar owner; Jim Lloyd, owner and proprietor of Lloyd’s Barber Shop in Rural Retreat, Virginia; Gene Thornburg, Henderson mandolin owner.

Executive Producer/Host: Tena Rubio
Contributing Producer: Ben Hubbard
Producer: Andrew Stelzer
Production Coordinator: Elena Botkin-Levy
Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
Associate Producer: Khanh Pham
Interns: Keisha Thomas, Asma Mohseni, and Patti Restaino

Special thanks to Wayne Henderson, Helen White, Claire Schoen and Virginia, Jennifer and Oscar Parsons.

For more information:

Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes – Wilkesboro, NC

The Smyth County Jam

Author: Radio Project

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