Harold Wayne Turner

At age five, Harold Wayne Turner picked up a banjo for the first time. Within a short period, he taught himself to pick out a rough approximation of “Cripple Creek.” This childhood experience began a lifelong love for music that eventually led him to become a respected luthier, a maker of stringed instruments, both in his local community of Pickens, South Carolina, and among the wider society of professional luthiers. The woodworking tradition in Turner’s family can be traced at least as far back as his grandfather, Wil Turner, who learned the art of making violins in the early 1900s. Harold Wayne’s father never mastered the art of making instruments, but he was an exceptional woodcarver. Turner supplemented the woodworking skills he picked up from his father with the expertise of his cousin, Freeman Patterson, who kept the instrument-making tradition alive in the family. A noted violin maker in the Carolina hills, Patterson passed on both technical skills and an emphasis on artistic creativity to Harold Wayne.