From Headbanger to Hasid: One Man's Journey Since Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Photos and Story by Ethan McLeod

In the basement of his Silver Spring home, the bearded Z.Z. Ludwick sits in his workshop, carefully assembling the body of a cherry-colored violin.
Zev Zalman, or Z.Z., is a luthier—a person who builds and repairs stringed instruments—and operates the one-man business Ludwick’s House of Violin.
In the adjacent room, more than a dozen instruments sit in their cases in need of repairs. “It’s like being able to bring back a voice that was silenced and just sitting there,” Ludwick says of the repair work.

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The musical odyssey of Z.Z. Ludwick 

Once a heavy metal rocker, the Silver Spring resident has a rebbe and a new calling.

Story and Photo by Jared Feldschreiber

Zev Zalman “Z.Z.” Ludwick meticulously applies a piece on his latest violin. With power tools strewn on his work desk in the basement of his Silver Spring home, he repairs and builds from scratch string instruments, including violas, cellos and violins.
At 52, Ludwick is a luthier — an instrument craftsman — and a Breslov Chasid, as the followers of the late 18th century Rabbi Nachman are called. But this son of the owner of Brookville Supermarket in Chevy Chase was the bass player for the local heavy metal cover band SteelWynch in the 1980s.
“I have come full circle,” Ludwick says while stringing together one of his instruments.

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An Empty Vessel Makes the Best Sound
Story by Margie Pensak   Photo by Esky Cook

He started out as a hard rocker, but these days Z.Z. Ludwick is playing to the tune of Rebbe Nachman. Now his hands create song from wood and string, while his soul sings the music of ancient wisdom.

Ludwick’s House of Violin, as the name suggests, is just that — violins everywhere (and a cello here and there), overtaking many a room of Zev Zalman (“Z.Z.”) and Sherrie Ludwick’s cozy home on a tucked-away side street in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Z.Z., 53, the very unassuming, multitalented, heavy-metal rock star-turned-luthier/owner, graciously welcomes us at the front door wearing a black baseball cap that covers his closely shaven head. His long salt-and-pepper beard would suit a rebbe or an aging rocker — take your pick — but not his long, twirled Breslov peyos, which fall to the top of his black work apron.
Unfinished Andrei Dinu violins, made in Romania, line the wall of Z.Z.’s showroom — a converted bedroom sporting whimsical curtains with musical staves and notes. After varnishing, he will precisely plane the fingerboard to the appropriate arch, cut the bridge, and install the hardware and sound post. It takes between 250 to 300 hours to build a violin from scratch. Student instruments, the cheapest violins he sells, are priced at $1,300 to $2,000.

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August 15, 2016   DCist

June 6 2017  CTV News

You'll Never Believe What This Star Of Heavy Metal Parking Lot Does Now

Photos and Story by John Kelly

A razor-sharp chisel in hand, Zev Zalman “Z.Z.” Ludwick leans into the violin he is making and shaves off a sliver of wood. It curls up, a simulacrum of the Hasidic curls — payot — that hang on either side of his bearded face.
Classical music plays over the radio in the basement workshop of his Silver Spring, Md., home. I ask Z.Z. what sort of music he used to listen to.

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February 1, 2017    Mishpacha Magazine

August 31, 2016   The Washington Post

July 14, 2016    Washington Jewish Week