Barry Schultz is a native of Fresno, California, and yet has lived and traveled worldwide to discover and learn traditional songs and tunes on the fiddle. He specializes in music that dates pre-1800. He is a very talented musician and is greatly welcomed here at the California Autoharp Gathering.
When attending Roosevelt High School, Barry first learned the harmonica from his grandmother. She was a master of both melody and rhythm on that instrument. Barry’s father was a collector of music on old-time ’78 rpm records and encouraged his son to learn traditional music. The music of Roy Acuff was a favorite.
When Barry turned 14 years of age, he learned the guitar and soon found himself playing both the guitar and harmonica at the same time. He began to compose his own music. Barry also played with several Fresno area garage bands.
In his late ’20s, Barry first began to learn the fiddle, and to this day has spent a lifetime dedicated to that instrument. In 1984, Barry moved to Seattle and joined a thriving music scene and performed at many music festivals throughout the United States. A favorite festival that Barry attended was the fiddle festival held yearly in Port Townsend, Washington.
Barry toured the southern states, including the Appalachian areas, to learn the songs and tunes from old-time fiddle players. Two influences in Barry’s life were Armand Barnett and Clyde Davenport, who both befriended Barry and showed him the secrets to old-time fiddle playing. Barry also befriended Charley Acuff, Roy’s brother, and learned many tunes from him.
While stationed in Seattle, Barry became well known in square dances all around the Pacific Northwest. He found work in a violin factory, and began building his own style of violins based upon the masters of that time. He had opportunities to play Amati and Stradivarius violins. Barry has also played and performed music in Italy and Croatia.