Nacogdoches shop owner hand-makes Native American-style cane flutes

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches residents are accustomed to hearing the banjo and mandolin from the Oldtime String Shop in downtown Nacogdoches.

Lately though, the sounds are more reflective of an Indian village thanks to the shop owner's love of all American instruments.

No Strings Attached in the Native American cane flutes Steve Hartz was playing Tuesday.

The musician was testing out one of his latest handmade river cane flutes. The artisan likes making them as much as playing them.

"I get this local cane and this is one that is just dried," Hartz said. "You cure them with a fire and I'll paint designs on them and some of them I leave more like regular cane."

The sound and appearance are pretty much like the flutes used centuries ago. However, Hartz makes a few adaptations for the comfort of his customers.

"I turn a little mouthpiece and put them on, and I also put a little wooden platform up here because it makes it more playable," Hartz said.

It is just one of the reasons why the flutes remain hot selling items. You really don't have to be a musician to enjoy playing a native flute.

"They're real easy to play. That's one of the things I like about them," Hartz said. "They're real relaxing. The Native American concept is that it's a spiritual thing. You just play a melody. You can set out on your back porch if you're all stressed out and kind of unwind and play 'em."

A stop at the Oldtime String Shop is the next best thing.

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