Born and raised in East Tennessee, Lynn Dudenbostel developed a love of music at an early age. Even though the opportunity to play in the elementary school band was still two years away, he began clarinet lessons while in second grade. It wasn’t until his early teens that Lynn became interested in stringed instruments. First taking up the guitar and banjo, it was some years later when the mandolin caught his ear. During that time Knoxville was a hotbed of bluegrass, and after being exposed to many great mandolin players in the bands that would come through town, Lynn started his search for a mandolin. The search led him to a luthier named Gene Horner in nearby Westel, Tennessee. Visiting Gene’s shop on Saturday mornings when other local musicians would drop in, Lynn became fascinated with not only the mandolin, but the thought of someday actually building his own.
The opportunity to build finally presented itself when Lynn and his wife Amy were married in 1987. It seems Amy wanted a dulcimer, and that was just the open door Lynn needed to take over part of the basement, acquire tools, and start building. After four dulcimers were complete, Lynn still wanted to build mandolins, but felt that it would be wise to build a guitar or two as an intermediate step to the more complicated F-5 he really wanted to build. So, in 1989 the first guitar was finished and Dudenbostel Stringed Instruments was born. He was not prepared for the success he was about to have with the guitars, and it was another 7 years before the first F-5 came from his shop.
Inspired by the vintage Martin guitars and Gibson mandolins of the 1920’s and 1930’s, Lynn became a full-time luthier in 1997, and continues to build traditional style guitars and mandolins in his shop in Maryville, Tennessee.