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Mid-state man one of the nation's few custom trombone makers


FLAT CREEK, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Among its many other distinctions, Middle Tennessee is home to one of the nation’s handful of custom brass instrument makers.

Roy Lawler has been making trumpets and trombones for more than three decades. His instruments are made by hand in his Flat Creek, Tennessee, shop.  

“I don’t have a shop full of trombones right now because as soon as I make them they leave. Cause they’re made to order. Naturally, when it’s done, the player doesn’t want me to hang on to it. I can’t keep it a secret.”

Lawler’s parents were both musical and Roy trained at the Boston Conservatory. As a teenager he apprenticed with a man who repaired brass instruments. Lawler eventually opened his own shop and slowly worked his way into building the entire instrument.

He has no formal training and sees his mechanical ability as a God-given talent.

“I’m not going in to try to prove that I can make the best trombone or the best trumpet or the best brass instrument because it’s got my name on it. I’m going in each day to bring glory to God.”

Every Lawler trombone is stamped with Psalm 51. It’s a song lyric written by the biblical King David that reads in part “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

You can use the link below to listen to the complete interview with Roy Lawler in his Flat Creek workshop.