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Lawrence Smart first became fascinated with acoustic music and stringed instruments while attending high school in Salt Lake City, and was soon playing fiddle and a variety of fretted instruments in sessions with friends. During this time he also began buying what he describes as “crappy instruments,” taking them apart and making them playable. Later, in college, he built his first instruments, a clawhammer banjo and a dulcimer, “just for fun.”


During a five-year stint teaching special education, his enjoyment of music and fascination with handmade instruments only grew stronger. So he took a leave of absence for a year, went to Vermont, and learned to build guitars under the direction of George Morris. He has never looked back.


Lawrence has now been building instruments full-time for more than three decades, growing his craft and business in McCall, Idaho before moving his shop to Hailey, Idaho. His signature can be found on many instruments commissioned by some of the most recognizable names in acoustic music – as well as hundreds more built for everyday players who are passionate about the music they make, the tools they use, and the joy they create.


When he’s not building, Lawrence can usually be found somewhere skiing, hiking, paddling or biking.

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