83-year-old Jefferson Award Winner making guitars to deal with grief

Playing the guitar is what James Schaffer says helped him beat the blues.

"When my wife passed away for the first month I was devastated.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t cry," said James Schaffer.

Luckily, Schaffer had another love.

"I love music.  I’ve loved guitar all my life and I’ve had love for blues music all my life," said Schaffer.

Schaffer’s wife died two years ago from cancer.  Fortunately, right before she was diagnosed he started building guitars.

"I can build a Steel-string guitar in three weeks if I’m working on doing nothing but one guitar. That’s why I can build two or three at time because while the glue is drying on one you can work on another doing something else," said Schaffer.

The 83 year old says he didn’t have the easiest childhood and admits to living a lot of his life in a selfish state of mind. He also acknowledges making some mistakes but says the only thing any of us can do is keep striving to be better.

"I don’t have to look in anybody else’s mirror.  I can’t tell anybody else what to think or feel. I only look in my own mirror.  That’s all I’m worried about," said
Schaffer.

So far, Schaffer has made 44 guitars for churches, charities and disabled Veterans.

Every guitar is sealed with a blue bird, a symbol of his love for his wife and the desire to make her proud.

adwpadmin

adwpadmin

More News

STORMTRACKER 18 WEATHER
Osseo
30°
Menomonie
Chetek
29°
Durand
30°
Ladysmith
29°
Neillsville
31°
Rice Lake
29°
New Richmond
30°
Black River Falls
33°
Medford
27°
River Falls
32°
Duluth
25°
Green Bay
38°
La Crosse
34°
Madison
38°
Milwaukee
39°
Twin Cities
Weather Outlook: Dry today, then snow tonight with tricky travel…

Weather Outlook: Dry today, then snow tonight with tricky travel…

A Winter Weather Advisory will take effect for Buffalo, Jackson, and Trempealeau Counties from 6 p.m. today until 6 a.m.

Connect With WQOW
Top Stories

UPDATE: 4 from Loyal, including 3 kids, killed in Apostle Island kayak incident

Sheriff Michael Brennan said Erik Fryman, 39, and his kids 3, 6 and 9-years-old died. The mom, Cari Mews, 29,

NEW: Missing Mondovi man found dead Wednesday afternoon

According to Mondovi Police Chief Colin Severson, the department is looking or Nathan D. Kummer who was reported missing by

UPDATE: Gas leak contained in Boyd

Boyd's fire chief told News 18 crews were digging up a leaking water line at Double D's Saloon and workers

Sex offender faces new charges in Eau Claire

A convicted sex offender living in Eau Claire is charged with two counts of first degree sexual assault of a

UPDATE: Middleton shooter was employee of business where he opened fire

The Middlelton Police department sent a phone message to residents about an active shooter.

Scroll to top
Skip to content