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Old Timber Hits New Lows at Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Alum Ben Williams and StoryWood Music have donated a bass to the school made from reclaimed wood that once was part of the building

Bassist Ben Williams
Bassist Ben Williams performs at the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: Ken Franckling)

Some guitars become cherished after a lifetime of play – B.B. King’s “Lucille” comes to mind. Others are simply made that way.  

The latter is the case with a bass guitar crafted from century-old pine that was once part of the architecture of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. To honor his alma mater, bassist Ben Williams partnered with StoryWood Music, a North Carolina-based luthier, to salvage wood taken from the Washington, D.C. school in the midst of a three-year, $175 million renovation, which ended in 2017. The guitar was donated on June 12. 

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