Spencer Strickland has been part of The Henderson’s guitar building family since we opened our lutherie in 2016. Spencer worked with Gerald Anderson, Josh Reese, and Don Wilson making the Gerald Anderson Lutherie “Wayne Worthy”. Presently, since the passing of Gerald, Marty Howard has joined our lutherie family.
Spencer Strickland grew up in a family steeped in music from Lambsburg, VA. His mother sang, and father played guitar in a family gospel band that performed at churches and community events.
At the age of ten, Strickland’s father placed a mandolin that he had traded a pocket knife for in the hands of his young son. After showing him a few chords and “licks”, Randall realized his son had musical potential and began mandolin lessons with local musician and studio recording engineer, Wesley Easter.
Since his first mandolin lesson, Strickland has gone on to win prestigious awards such as 1st place mandolin at the 2004 and 2008 world’s largest Old Fiddlers’ Convention held in Galax, VA. 1st place in the 2005 Merle Watson Mandolin Championship held at MerleFest, as well as the “Best All Around Performer” award at the 2004 Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention, and first place guitar in the 2019 Galax Old Fiddlers Convention. Strickland has also won numerous other blue ribbons from fiddler’s conventions he has attended since childhood.
When Spencer was around 13 years old, he met local musicians and instrument makers Gerald Anderson & Wayne Henderson. Spencer’s father hired Gerald to build a handmade mandolin for his son, and a friendship was born. In the fall of 2004, Spencer began an apprenticeship through the Virginia Folk life Program with Gerald Anderson. The apprenticeship led to a partnership business known as Anderson & Strickland String Instruments.
Together, Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland made up the musical duo “Anderson-Strickland”. The two friends performed together regularly, and were also both members of the “Virginia Luthiers Band” along with famed luthiers and friends Wayne Henderson and Jimmy Edmonds.
After relocating back to his hometown of Lambsburg, VA, Spencer now works for himself under the name of “Strickland String Instruments”, and has built over 60 guitars, 19 mandolins, and assisted Gerald Anderson in the making of over 100 instruments.
In August of 2009, Spencer began playing for the award winning Kenny & Amanda Smith Band, and toured the roads for over two years as the band’s mandolin player.
Strickland has also filled in as mandolin player in numerous other bands, including The Gibson Brothers.
In March of 2013, Spencer joined “The Church Sisters”, playing mandolin and rhythm guitar in the band for nearly 6 years.
Spencer was featured on the 2015 album “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited”, playing mandolin with The Virginia Luthiers and The Church Sisters. Other artists on the recording include Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Steve Martin, Marty Stuart, and many others.
To date, Strickland has opened his case to perform as far from the mountains his Virginia home as Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Canada, France, and many other venues in nearly every state across the USA, including the Historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.