December 2012 O.Henry

Page 71

Instrument of Peace How the resurgent ukulele — mastered by Greensboro craftsman Bob Rigaud — is transforming the world, one song at a time

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


By Stephen E. Smith • Photographs by Cassie Butler limpsed from the highway, the exterior of the two-room, woodframe workshop behind Bob Rigaud’s modest Greensboro home isn’t particularly intriguing. The Southern sun has faded the beige siding, and half the shop is a converted garage dating from the 1930s. Riserless steps lead to a nondescript door. But once inside, once the door opens on the shop’s contents, creative energy radiates from the walls, ceiling and floors — and from Bob Rigaud himself. Rigaud is a luthier (a builder and mender of stringed instruments), and he’s crafted guitars for big-time singer-songwriters such as John Hiatt, as well as for a goodly number of strum-and-hummers down the block. Potential customers and first-time visitors to the shop can’t help but be amazed by

December 2012

O.Henry 69

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