A Labor Of Love – Bill Hefner’s Custom Made Guitars
Millpoint, WV – Millpoint resident Bill Hefner is not only a fine musician, he also creates the beautiful guitars he and others love to play. His passion for building the instruments started in 2004 and until recently was a part-time avocation until he lost his job at a nearby quarry. He says going into full time work as a Luthier, or stringed instrument maker, seems a natural choice.
Hefner gets the wood for his guitars from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon and California, and says a variety of woods go into the instruments. He says a custom guitar can take anywhere from 130 to over 200 hours depending on the complexity of the inlays. Because of the exacting nature of the work, he relies mainly on hand tools. The inlays themselves are custom designed to match the buyers’ specifications.
Hefner also makes banjos and mandolins. He says the latter is a little more challenging since the top and back of the mandolin has to be hand carved due to the instruments curved surface. With some help from his son, Hefner recently expanded his shop to include a display area, and hopes to have it open later this fall. For now, he markets his guitars through music publications and word of mouth.
Hefner is also the artist behind the WVMR-FM guitar that’s being raffled off during the Autumn Harvest Festival celebration in late September. You can see it for yourself at the Opera House in Marlinton this Saturday during the Concert for Community Radio. The concert starts at 7:30pm and tickets are $7.00 at the door.