Hugh has always had a fascination with wood working from a very early age. Soapbox racers, ice boats, kayaks, furniture, house framing and canoes are all on the “been done” list. He is now a licensed automotive and truck mechanic teaching his trade as a Technical Studies teacher in a young offenders full security facility. Hugh has been teaching “at risk” students for nearly ten years and really enjoys the challenges of teaching these youth. He has four years until retirement and will be building banjos full time then – watch out!
Hugh became interested in building banjos over 10 years ago when his wife brought home a beautiful Jake Nuefeld banjo that belonged to one of her band
mates. He noted that the banjo was a perfect mix of mechanical systems and wood brought together in order to make a wonderful sound. A kit banjo was quickly ordered and assembled on the kitchen table over Christmas break. Surprisingly, it sounded really good. The hook was set and Hugh was hooked . . .
Since that time Hugh has built many banjos, Banjo-lutes, Appalachian dulcimers, banjoleles of all types of configurations. No two instruments have been the same – each one is unique because he builds each one individually according to a list that he and the customer discuss. He is often asked how long it takes to build a banjo but is unable to give a true answer because each one is different than the other. Typically, it is about 8 to 12 weeks from the confirmation of an order until delivery of the instrument. Hugh uses local woods as much as possible and chooses each piece himself. He chooses and slots each fretboard using fixtures he designs for his trusty Shopsmith machine. Hugh owns and operates a music store in Rockwood Ontario with his wife and has his son managing it. Music plays a big role in the Hunter household with all of its members playing in one band or another. Hugh's band is called Blue Yonder, and you can see him playing his creations with them here at their website.