Deatherage Music Company

History

"A violin and a fiddle are the same thing. You carry one in a case, and the other in a pillow sack." So explains Clinton Math Deatherage, an Abilene artist with an unusual medium. The grandson of a violinmaker, Deatherage whittled his first neck block at age nine; twelve years later, in 1970, he started his own business, with the goal of providing "Old World quality in a new instrument." Working with his wife, Jan, Deatherage hand carves and then individually fits seventy or more pieces for each violin, finishing up with an all-natural varnish. Altogether, he spends a minimum of two hundred hours on a single instrument. Through his work he has conferred with many Texas musicians, including the legendary Bob Wills.

(From the December 1993 issue of Texas Monthly, page 146)

Math Deatherage, master luthier, began his profession at the tender age of nine years old, when his father dared him to attempt to build a violin neck. From that time on, he has been honing the craft of string instrument making. Mr. Deatherage apprenticed under his Grandfather, who was also a violin maker, and another violin maker for a period of fifteen years.

In 1970, he started his own business, custom making violins, mandolins, banjos, and guitars. The store, Deatherage Music Co., has also been engaged in the retail business, selling and repairing stringed instruments and accessories. Deatherage Music is the largest repair and restoration facility in the Southwestern United States. Mr. Deatherage often says, "We feel a responsibility to each customer to do our very best. Everyone who comes through our doors is important. Do the job right the first time; let the customer know we appreciate the business." Mr. Deatherage has kept the operation small on this account. We understand that our reputation in the business community for expertise and fairness is paramount. We will continue to work to that end.

Math has carried on another tradition in the Deatherage clan, the art form of old time fiddle playing. He began playing at the age of six. Math's grandfather, John Deatherage, and his uncle Earl "Popcorn" Deatherage, a well-known dance band fiddler in the region, encouraged him to learn and perform the many Texas traditional tunes. In no time, Math began playing in fiddle competitions. He has won many trophies and ribbons down through the years of playing the fiddle and still competes when time permits. His daughter, Jennifer, is carrying on the tradition, winning fifth in the World Championship Fiddling Contest held at Crockett, Texas, annually. She is passing the skill to others through her teaching of the art form.

Mr. Deatherage was recognized in 1995 by his peers as being an outstanding violin maker in a competition held annually in Tucson, Arizona. He entered four violins in the contest and one first, third, fourth, and fifth. The first place winner was for tone and overall workmanship. There were over two hundred other entries. The Violin Makers Association of Arizona awarded him a nice trophy and four certificates of merit. Math was surprised and very pleased considering this was his first competition with other violin makers.

Deatherage Music Company manufactures four and five string Violins; Rosewood, Maple, Mahogany, and Mesquite Guitars; Four and Five string Banjos; Four, Five, and Eight string Mandolins; Violas and Cellos; and handles thousands of repairs every year. Deatherage Music Company also makes bows.

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Copyright 1998 - 2001 Deatherage Music Company, All Rights Reserved
1025 N. Willis, Abilene, TX 79603
Phone: (325) 672-6012
Email: guitars@deatherage-violins.com
Design: Camalott Communications
URL: http://deatherage-violins.com/~violin/history.html
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