Jennings Chestnut evolved into a master builder of mandolins, banjos, violins, and guitars. Born in 1942, Chestnut had been a fan of bluegrass music since he was six years old. During the 1950s, Chestnut played and sang country and bluegrass with several bands. In the next decade, he traveled with his family to bluegrass festivals all over the country. In 1971, he built his first mandolin and in 1985 he and his wife, Willie opened Chestnut Mandolins, a full-service music store in downtown Conway.