Roy Acuff was a legend in the world of country music. We could be here all day talking about all of the things he did for the genre. Fans and fellow performers loved Acuff. Today, his influence still echoes through country music.
Acuff never let his success, prowess, or popularity go to his head. In fact, when he played the Grand Ole Opry, he left his dressing room door open. He wanted everyone to feel welcome to come in and talk or play a song. Vince Gill, an Opry member and inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame, is one of those that took the opportunity. While performing at the Opry, Gill became close friends with the classic country icon.
Recently, Vince Gill made a major contribution to Acuff’s memory as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame. He donated Acuff’s treasured fiddle to the CMHOF museum. Currently, it is on display in an exhibit called Soldier’s Joy: A Fiddle Fit for Roy Acuff. In that exhibit, fans can see the fiddle and learn the story behind it.
Roy Acuff’s fiddle has an impressive backstory. Vince Gill and Mick Buck, the curatorial director of the CMHOF Museum, discussed the instrument in a video for the museum’s website. The video is also available on the CMHOF Museum’s Instagram account. Check it out below, then learn more about the fiddle.
More About Roy Acuff’s Fiddle
Roy Acuff’s fiddle took a long road to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. An Austrian luthier by the name of Jacobus Stainer built some of the most sought-after violins of the 1600s. Acuff’s fiddle is not one of those. However, it is a copy of Stainer’s instruments and was build around 1890.
Roy Acuff didn’t find the fiddle in some music shop and spend a pretty penny on it. Soldiers from the United States Army’s 348th Engineer Combat Battalion found the fiddle in the bombed-out husk of a music store in Frankfurt, Germany. They found the fiddle near the end of WWII.
American soldiers loved Roy Acuff during the Second World War. In fact, our servicemen voted him their favorite performer. So, when they found this fiddle that looked as good as it sounded, they sent it to Acuff along with a letter telling him how much he meant to the fighting men overseas. He liked it enough that it became one of his primary instruments. Acuff played it all around the world as well as on television appearances. So, it was well-loved and often used.
Vince Gill acquired Roy Acuff’s fiddle earlier this year. When he did, he immediately knew that it belonged in the CMHOF museum. About the donation, Vince Gill said, “It felt important that he be represented. It’s where it should be.”