Made In Virginia 2013: Henderson Guitar Shop, Mouth of Wilson

Henderson Guitar Shop

Henderson Guitar Shop

You probably won’t want to go to Henderson’s Guitar Shop to buy your 12-year-old a guitar so he can play “Stairway to Heaven.” That would be a bit over the top. Wayne Henderson’s guitars—played by legends like Eric Clapton, Gillian Welch and Doc Watson—cost $3,000 to $5,000 if you buy them in his Grayson County shop, and about $25,000 to $30,000 if you buy them from a dealer. By all accounts, they’re worth every penny. There’s even a book about one of his guitars, Clapton’s Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument by Allen St. John.

Henderson, who began making instruments in 1964 (and recently hired his 28-year-old daughter Elizabeth Jayne, an environmental lawyer, to work with him in the shop), uses exotic woods like Brazilian rosewood and mahogany, for example. But, “Appalachian red spruce is the best you can get,” says Henderson who makes about 20 instruments, mostly guitars each year.

An accomplished musician and master in his field, having won a 1995 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Henderson also plays with the band, the Virginia Luthiers, a group of his former students, that started informally years ago and plays weekends. The group plays less for money than for the simple joy of it explains Henderson, whose cousin, the folk musician Estil Ball, first taught him the finger-style of picking.

Each band member has an instrument shop: Gerald Anderson of Anderson Stringed Instruments and Spencer Strickland of Anderson-Strickland String Instruments, both of Troutdale; Jimmy Edmonds of Edmonds Guitars in Galax. Together, they have 150 years of instrument-making experience.,

View All the Made in Virginia Awards 2013 Winners:


Angela Bacskocky Bags, Richmond

Page Stationery, Richmond

Cestair Sheep and Wool, Augusta Springs


Reginald’s Homemade Nut Butters, Richmond

Good News Granola, Palmyra

Honey Habanero Sauce, Spotsylvania


Henderson Guitar Shop, Grayson County

Big Lick Amps, Salem

Cabin Creek Musical Instruments, Whitetop


Frierson Designs Surfboards, Virginia

Hope Springs Farm Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Orlean

BB Bat Company Youth Baseball Bats, Virginia Beach


Edmund Davidson Knives, Goshen

Natural Woodworking CO., Floyd

Old Dominion Leather Nectar, Lynchburg

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