WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) – Bluegrass musician Homer Ledford, an Appalachian band leader who crafted hundreds of banjos and guitars, died Monday. He was 79. Ledford died of an apparent stroke at his home in Winchester after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, his wife, Colista Ledford, said. The disease causes progressive paralysis. He wanted to string a fiddle up to his last day, his wife said. The Tennessee native started making musical instruments as a youngster and earned a scholarship at age 18 to John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. He later attended Berea College, where he met his wife. Ledford graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1954 and taught industrial arts for the next 10 years, Colista Ledford said. Eventually he devoted his career to instrument-making and the Cabin Creek Band, which performed for 20 years and recorded a half-dozen albums. He completed an estimated 5,776 dulcimers, 475 banjos, 26 mandolins, 26 guitars, 18 ukuleles and four violins, among other instruments, according to the band’s Web site. The Smithsonian Institution also houses a sample of his collection, including a fretless banjo, an Appalachian dulcimer, and a dulcitar – an instrument he invented and patented. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!