Skip to Main Content

About The Book

New York Times bestselling author Allen St. John started off looking for the world’s greatest guitar, but what he found instead was the world’s greatest guitar builder.

Living and working in Rugby, Virginia (population 7), retired rural mail carrier Wayne Henderson is a true American original, making America's finest instruments using little more than a pile of good wood and a sharp whittling knife. There's a 10-year waiting list for Henderson's heirloom acoustic guitars—and even a musical legend like Eric Clapton must wait his turn. Partly out of self-interest, St. John prods Henderson into finally building Clapton's guitar, and soon we get to pull up a dusty stool and watch this Stradivari in glue-stained blue jeans work his magic. The story that ensues will captivate you with its portrait of a world where craftsmanship counts more than commerce, and time is measured by old jokes, old-time music, and homemade lemon pies shared by good friends.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Allen St. John is the co-author of the New York Times best-selling book The Mad Dog 100: The Greatest Sports Arguments of All Time, with radio personality Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo, published in May 2003 by Doubleday. St. John is a columnist for the Wall Street Journals Weekend section and a contributing editor at The Village Voice. He has written for a wide variety of national publications including The New York Times Magazine, Playboy, Salon, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, Men's Health, and Maxim.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Free Press (October 12, 2005)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743281980

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Only a guitar book in the sense that The Orchid Thief is only a book about gardening. St. John makes the case for the transformative power of certain objects and the not-so-quaint notion of craftsmanship." -- Allen Barra, American Heritage

"Clapton's Guitar delivers a fascinating tale that's bound to leave you longing for a Henderson of your own." -- Southern Living

"St. John . . . has created a memorable portrait of a likable, self-effacing craftsman at work. St. John writes, 'Some people simply have the gift of being able to make a piece of wood sing.' He doesn't come out and say it, but you know he's thinking it: Henderson is God." -- David Kelly, The New York Times Book Review

"Clapton's Guitar takes the reader on a craftsman's journey that [began] when . . . Eric Clapton first picked up a Henderson guitar." -- The Wall Street Journal

Resources and Downloads

Freshman Reading:

Appalachian State University (2014/2015)

High Resolution Images