Don Rickert Musician Shop (D. Rickert Musical Instruments): Your Source for Unique Bowed and Fretted Instruments and Accessories Ranging from Baroque Period to Today’s Cutting Edge
It is quite clear that we are the place to come for the unique stuff…things you just cannot get at either the corner music store, traditional violin shops or the online mega-stores. What are these things that musicians, and the occasional museum, come to us for?
Over the 9 years we have been in business, our analysis of search engine “hits” to our websites and online store, corroborated by actuals sales records, indicates that we are best known, in descending order for the following:
Modern Travel and Backpacker Violins
The world’s finest and more models (to meet different player needs)…5 base models; all customizable!
Best and most innovative. Ours have been played by some of the greatest fiddle innovators in the world. Our instruments are on some CDs by some of the greats, including the musician responsible for the re-birth of the octave violin, Darol Anger (and most recently Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, their “Abundance” CD).
For our current offerings, see…
5-String Violins and Violas
There are only a few other 5-string violins in the same class as the models we offer. We offer our own Fat Strad Deux 5-String Mezzo Viola (violin length with viola ribs and bass bar) and the Realist 5-String PRO e Series.
These are the 19th Century instruments used by itinerant Dancing Masters (Dance instructors), and the inspiration for our modern travel violins and fiddles.
Musical curiosities, especially cigar box fiddles, made to master violin standards (i.e. not cheap!)
We do not currently have any of these for sale, but when we do, they always sell quickly. Contact us if you want us to make you one (email, the Contact Us link or telephone…all available at Don Rickert Musician Shop). Get your head around a minimum of $1,000 before calling!
There are fake “replicas”, readily available on eBay (modern violins “dressed up” to look sort of like Baroque Violins, and authentic Baroque Violins, which are the kind we sell. Some of the finest Baroque musicians are proud owners of our higher end instruments.
The prices for our authentic Baroque Violins range from $2,800 to $8,000
We also sell true Baroque bows (average price: $280).
When one purchases an instrument from us, part of the buying process is specification of period setup. We refine the setup preference with consultation, either in person at our studio, on the telephone, video conferencing (e.g. Skype) and email.
We also offer period setup as a stand-alone service. See…
While we have not advertised parlor guitar setup, particularly setup for Civil War re-enacting, we have set up quite a few modern guitars as plausible mid-19th Century gut-strung guitars. We have even set up re-enactor guitars with synthetic gut strings (generally Nylgut) that can be played with a stiff leather ukulele flat pick!
Genre-specific setup (violins and fiddles)
Either in conjunction with a period setup or a contemporary setup (the most common case), we do absolutely correct genre-specific setup, including, but not limited to:
- Classical violin
- Scottish Highland fiddle
- Irish Fiddle (and its many regional sub-genres)
- Old-Time Fiddle (New England, Southern Mountain and everything in between)
- Bluegrass Fiddle
- Cajun Fiddle
- Gypsy Fiddle
Things For Which We Appear to Be Not So Well-Know (Yet)
These are violins and fiddles from the Post-Baroque or Pre-Modern Period (about 1770s) to the present (modern violins and fiddles). We offer a number of setup and accessorizing options to replicate any specific period or playing style from 1770s to the present day.
Our regular violin / fiddle offerings include instruments by:
- Emmanuel Wilfer (Conservatory to Master level German [Bavaria] instruments: from $2,500 to about $4,600)
- Heinrich Gill (Conservatory to Advanced level German [Bubenreuth] instruments: from $1,750 to $2,350)
- David Gage Realist PRO E-Series (Acoustic-electric Professional level American-Eastern European hybrid instruments: from $1,850)
- Revelle by Connolly Music, New York (Intermediate to Master level American-Chinese hybrid instruments: from $990 to $1,800)
- Calvert by Calvert Violins, Baltimore (Advanced to Master level American-Hong Kong hybrid instruments from $1,850 to $2,700)
Please see our article, The New Breed of Hybrid American-Chinese Violins
We are very pleased to announce our “Golden Era Old-Time Fiddles”. These fiddles replicate the very best (and most sought after today by Old-Time fiddlers) of the so-called “factory fiddles” imported by the millions from Markneukirchen, Saxony, German and neighboring Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic) during the years from 1880 through the 1920s..
We also have the best collection of authentic early 20th Century fiddle accessories that you will find anywhere. We are one of the few makers of late 19th Century and early 20th Century chin rests on the planet.
Acoustic-Electric and Electronic Violins
Unless you have been following Dr. Rickert’s experimental instruments over the past decade, you might not know that our workshop has produced quite a few electric violins and MIDI-capable electronic violins (as well as some truly odd contraptions). A few of these have entered in and done quite well in major international new musical instrument design competitions.
You might not be aware that Dr. Rickert has lectured on electric musical instrument design in major University Industrial Design programs, including the Georgia Institute of Technology (better known as Georgia Tech), where he was an Adjunct Faculty Member when living in Atlanta.
Dr. Rickert designed and built his first electric violins, mandolins, basses and guitars about 40 years ago. We still have an intact electric bass from among Don’s early work.
We have not seen the point of introducing new electric violins or mandolins until such time as we had some designs that were unequivocally better than any thing else on the market. That time has arrived!
We Design and Fabricate Live Performance Rigs
Note: This service will be listed very soon at the Don Rickert Musician Shop
When using any kind of amplified instrument, especially violins, in live performance, the live performance rig is essential. Relying on the sound engineers to cobble together a way to plug into the main sound reinforcement system and personal monitor system is ill-advised and done at your own peril. If you are using effects processors of any kind, the interconnection of these processors is extremely complex, as the correct sequence of the effects in a "chain" is critical. Getting the order wrong will often result in nothing working properly. Most professional performance have an expert design his or her performance rig.
With four decades of designing live performance rigs for amplified fiddles, violins, mandolins, banjos, guitars, basses and even instruments such as dulcimers and accordions, combined with live performance demonstration of experimental electric and electronic violins in major musical instrument design competitions, we have the knowhow and experience to design a rig for you!
- Cost ranges from under $1,000 for a living room setup to several thousand dollars for a large venue setup.
- Our performance rigs are guaranteed to work.
- If you ever tried to do it yourself or rely on the sound technitians, you know what I am talking about.
- Our rigs are ready to be plugged in and send the right kind (e.g. correct impedance) of balanced signal to the master sound board.
Mandolins, Octave Mandolins and Mandocellos
The Octave Mandolin is a mandolin family version of a tenor guitar or tenor banjo that is tuned in the Celtic G-D-A-E tuning (in other words, an octave lower than a mandolin). The only important differentiator from the tenor guitar is that, instead of four individual strings, an octave mandolin has four (occassionaly five) pairs (called "courses") of strings. Each string in a pair is tuned in unison.
A mandocello is to a bowed ‘cello what a mandolin is to a violin. The mandolin is tuned like a violin and a mandocello is a large mandolin tuned like a ‘cello. The primary differences, of course, is that mandolin family instruments are played with a plectrum rather than a bow and they have twice as many strings…actually four, or sometimes, five pairs (called courses) of strings, each pair being tuned in unison.
These instruments are seeing increasing use in Celtic music, Progressive Bluegrass and In Alternative Old-Time (aka "Neo Old-Time", "Old-Time Punk" genres.)
Included here are guitars that replicate instruments from the early 19th Century (called the "Romantic Period") to the 1930s. In the interest of being able to offer quite affordable instruments (all well under $1000), these guitars are customized/modified modern factory-built instruments of the "parlor guitar" type. This basically means that they have much smaller bodies than contemporary guitars. They would not have been called parlor guitars in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. They were simply called guitars.
These are meticulously accurate hand-built replica instruments and cost between 5 and 6 times as much as our modified factory-built reproduction instruments. Hand-made in the workshops of D. Rickert Musical Instruments (Don Rickert Musician Shop)
Even though D. Rickert Musical Instruments has never sold a regular production banjo of any sort, old blog articles we have published over the years about the difference between tenor banjos and Irish tenor banjos and related banjo articles continue to be the NUMBER ONE (i.e most popular, predominant, persistent, etc.) topic that leads visitors to our blogs, and sometimes even to our online store, Don Rickert Musician Shop.
- There is no "Irish tenor banjo", per se
- More on Irish Tenor Banjo
- So You Think You Know about the Banjo in Irish Traditional Music?: Part 1
- So You Think You Know About the Banjo In Irish Traditional Music?: Part 2
If we saw even a hint of possibility that anyone would actually buy a new tenor banjo from us, we would design and build a really nice one. We are considering instituting a “bounty” (i.e. finder’s fee) program to start rescuing vintage tenor banjos from their imprisonment in hundreds (or even thousands) of small music stores, flea markets, antique shops and pawnshops throughout the U.S. We would then restore and sell them.