Jackson Cunningham, Luthier

The Whitetop region in southwestern Virginia has a long tradition of fine luthiers. Martha Spencer's uncle Albert Hash was a well-known and respected fiddle maker that shared his knowledge of the craft with countless people. His daughter Audrey Hash Ham learned the fiddle making craft from her father as a teenager and has carried on the tradition since Albert passed in 1983. She has been featured in numerous articles, and radio/television programs such as CMT for her fiddle making, and along with her father, Inspired many people over the years to start instrument building. Jackson Cunningham apprenticed under Audrey in fiddle making for several years.


Jackson grew up in southern Oregon and was immersed in woodworking from as early as he can remember. His step-father was a skilled carpenter and craftsman, always having woodworking projects around the house he built from the local Sugar Pine and Douglas Fir trees. Jackson learned these skills at a early age and has been a woodworker for over 20 years. So, it was natural to combine his music and his craft to become a luthier.

After making and repairing various instruments over the years, he moved to southwestern Virginia, and after meeting  Audrey Hash Ham of Lansing, North Carolina in 2005, he immediately began building fiddles. 
Since then, with the generous help of many local luthiers, including Wayne Henderson, Don Wilson, and Mac Traynham, he has started building archtop guitars, and banjos, as well as fiddles, 
He currently works out of his shop at home in Rugby, Virginia.


Here is a video that tells a liitle about Audrey Hash Ham:

"Because he's a fine bluegrass and old-time musician, Jackson has a natural knowledge of the purpose of a good instrument. He also sees the beauty of the instrument and strives to make a beautiful instrument as well as a usefull one.
The tone and craftsmanship in his fiddles is excellent. He has extreme patience in making sure his fiddles are of the finest quality
."   -Audrey Hash Ham, Virginia Master Fiddle Maker

See Audrey Hash Ham,in the book "In Good Keeping", a collection of Master Folk Artists and Aprentices from Virginia by Virginia State Folklorist John Lohman.


You can see and play one of his instruments at any Whitetop Mountaineers shows as well as displays at festivals. His instruments have been displayed at Virginia's Musical Heritage Crooked Road Tours and at The Gathering in the Gap Festival in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, Floyd Fest, The Albert Hash Memorial Festival in Whitetop, Virginia,  ASU Fiddlers Convention in Boone, NC,  The Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Compitition and Music FestivalThe Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at Ferrum College, as well as others.

 For more info, email Jackson:  lonelyoaks@yahoo.com, or call: 1-540-239-6906


Check out EbruTV's "Rythym and Roots" series to see a feature on the Whitetop Mountain Band and see and hear about Jackson's fiddles.............................

Thanks to Carly Burke at mountainlightjewelry.com for the pictures from The Ferrum Folklife Festival.