Bluegrass legend Homer Ledford, an Appalachian band leader who crafted hundreds of banjos and guitars, has died at the age of 79.
His wife says Ledford died Monday evening of an apparent stroke at his home in Winchester, Kentucky, after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
The Tennessee native started making musical instruments as a youngster and earned a scholarship at 18 to attend John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.
Eventually he devoted his career to instrument-making and the Cabin Creek Band, which performed for 20 years and recorded a half-dozen albums.
The band's Web site says Ledford completed an estimated 57-hundred-76 dulcimers, 475 banjos, 26 mandolins, 26 guitars, 18 ukuleles, and four violins, among other instruments.
The Smithsonian Institution also houses a sample of his collection, including a dulcitar, an instrument he invented and patented.