Huber Banjos just survives tornado devastation

Damage at the building that houses Huber Banjos and Cumberland Acoustic after tornados (12/11/23)

The series of tornados that hit near Nashville this past Saturday evening caused a huge amount of property damage, and cost the lives of six people. It also wreaked havoc on the building that houses Huber Banjos and Cumberland Acoustics in Hendersonville.

With his shop in the middle of this industrial building, Huber’s unit didn’t suffer much damage. All the inventory and equipment he and his staff use to fabricate, machine, finish, and assemble their pre war replica banjos remains intact, though they haven’t had power since Saturday, and don’t expect to have it back on until this weekend.

But as Huber owns this building, and therefore is landlord for several other units, the headaches are just becoming clear. Steve tells us that the end units both endured significant damage, and it has taken several days to clear away enough debris to get inside and see just how extensive the devastation actually is.

Who wasn’t so lucky is Steve Smith and his Cumberland Acoustic company, maker of high quality mandolin bridges and accessories, plus their own Redline mandolins and reso-guitars. Their shop, one of the end units, was nearly flattened. The roof is gone in multiple places, and both wind and water damage to the facility makes it uncertain just when they can get back to work.

Smith tells us that, while it is bad, it could have been worse.

“I was able to get all the finished instruments out (over 30, counting mine, Recording King instruments, and some consignments). Fortunately, they were in a room that was not hit.

We probably lost a fair amount of wood, but most of the ebony and rosewood is fine. Machine surfaces have rusted already. There is water on the floor in some places, and lots of roof damage, so hoping for no rain for a while.

I have no idea how long it will take to be operational again. It depends a lot on how soon the building can be repaired, if it can. The damage is extensive. Huber was lucky. Many other parts of the building are trashed.”

Huber is looking for contractors now, first to estimate damage costs for his insurer, then to begin reconstruction. Of course, following a major storm, contractors and trades people will have backups that can last weeks.

This is a serious blow for two manufacturers who have long supported the needs of bluegrass musicians.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.