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Musical Instrument Maker to Employ People in Recovery

Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Co. in Hindman, Ky., will make high-end artisan guitars and other instruments. (@blondsoul/Twenty20)
Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Co. in Hindman, Ky., will make high-end artisan guitars and other instruments. (@blondsoul/Twenty20)
March 25, 2019

HINDMAN, Ky. – A manufacturer of musical instruments in Knott County opens its doors next month.

And Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company plans to employ people in recovery from addiction.

Doug Naselroad knows mountain instruments. He's spent decades making custom guitars, mandolins and dulcimers.

In 2012, he started the Appalachian School of Luthiery in Hindman, a woodworking shop where local residents learn how to build instruments.

He's received more than $800,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission to start Troublesome Creek, a maker of high-end stringed instruments that aims to provide meaningful employment for citizens, many in recovery from opioid addiction.

"We're putting Troublesome Creek in an existing facility,” he states. “It's beautiful. It's a million dollar woodshop. We already had the woodshop here, and we, of course, have people who need jobs, so Troublesome Creek is about putting our resources and our needs together."

Over a three-year period, a small group of employees will use Appalachian hardwoods such as black walnut and red spruce to manufacture artisan guitars and other instruments.

Naselroad says the goal for the factory is to eventually employ more than 60 people.

Most of the workforce will come from a program in Hindman that teaches people in recovery how to become luthiers.

"We had one fellow who came down very early on in 2013, and asked if he could make instruments in our shop because he needed something to do, he needed to learn guitar making just as soon as he got out of rehab," Naselroad relates.

Naselroad says the idea to start the company came from thinking about the needs of the community in Knott County, which never has had a local factory.

He says learning how to make instruments is a skilled trade requiring technical and artistic ability useful for many different types of work.

The region has a more than 100-year-old history of instrument building as the origin of the mountain dulcimer.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY