- About us
Thanks for your interest in the Don Rickert Musician Shop, which is the online retail face of Don Rickert Musical Instruments, premiere designer and maker of innovative custom and historic musical instruments. Since starting our musical instruments enterprise in 2007, we have dealt primarily in those of the bowed variety (e.g. violins, fiddles and related instruments such as octave fiddles). We have also designed and made a number of fretted instruments along the way: mandolins, parlor guitars, acoustic bass guitars, tenor guitars and the like. We will soon be branching out in a serious way into the world of fretted musical instruments. Stay tuned for this.
Our business is owned and run by Donald Rickert, Ph.D., IDSA, who has been playing, designing, making and modifying stringed musical instruments of many types for more than 40 years. Dr. Rickert is a Professional Member of the Industrial Designers Society of America (designated IDSA)
We started out as a general product research & design firm in 2005, when we were incorporated as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the State of Georgia, USA. The original corporate name, which is still in effect today, is Wiederholt & Rickert Partners, LLC. The two founding Members were Brad Wiederholt and Donald E. Rickert, Ph.D., IDSA. In 2007, Brad left the firm to pursue his high-technology interests. Donald Rickert became sole Owner. It was at that time that the DBA (a designation for “Doing business as”) Don Rickert Research & Design and the DBA Don Rickert Musical Instruments were established.
Dr. Don Rickert continues to conduct business under the Don Rickert Research & Design. These days, such work is primarily in the area of IP (Intellectual Property). He is a respected Consulting Expert and Testifying Expert Witness in patent and trademark civil matters related to musical instruments and consumer electronics. He has, in fact, served as lead Testifying Expert Witness in several major patent infringement lawsuits in the United States District Courts.
Don’s main work is the role of owner, designer and maker with Don Rickert Musical Instruments. He is joined in this work by Jeff Atkins, master craftsman, luthier and varnishing wizard. We also engage other top luthiers (stringed instrument makers) from other “boutique” musical instrument companies on a contract basis from time to time.
Our email is don@DonRickertDesign.com and phone number is (404) 828-0136.
Don Rickert Musical Instruments
726 Hall Creek Road
Hiawassee, GA 30546
We are not a “brick-and-mortar” retail establishment; however, many customers choose to visit our studio and workshop in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains (part of the Appalachians). Being shopkeepers for a corner musical instrument shop would be completely at odds with our multifaceted focus on continuous research & development, innovative instrument design and customization, combined with our creation of meticulously accurate replicas of historically significant fiddles. We get our fill of selling strings and accessories, re-setting sound posts, replacing warped bridges, and the like as vendors at a select set of fiddlers’ conventions and festivals.
The nature of our business demands that sales be conducted primarily online. We have done this for some time. The predecessor to the new “Don Rickert Musician Shop” was called the “Adventurous Muse Store.” We initially operated under the name “Fiddle and Bow Shop.”
What Makes us Unique?
Oh, Where to start…?!
At first glance, we could look like an online store that sells select good violins primarily in the $800 to $4,000 range, with a pretty good selection of bows and cases. A closer look reveals the following:
- Part of the purchase of a new violin is customer specification of stringing and accessories appropriate for one of a number of historic periods, ranging from contemporary all the way back to the late 1700s. Consultation with us about correct setup for specific genres (orchestral violin, Old-time, Irish, Scottish, Cajun, etc.) is also included with the purchase of one of our instruments. As far as we know, this is completely unique to our company.
- We make and sell one of the largest collections (6 different models) of meticulously authentic Baroque (1690-1770) violins available anywhere.
- We have a large selection (about 50) of high quality true Baroque bows that is second to none.
- We make and sell the finest innovative and ergonomically perfect travel/backpacker violins in the world. Several dozen customers a year opt for one of our travel violins, despite the fact that they cost from 3 to 4 times as much as our apparent competitors.
- We make and sell one of best 5-string violins that money can buy (note: There ARE some very fine 5-string instruments by competitors)
- We make the most advanced and best-sounding octave violins and octave violas (aka “chin cellos”). Dr. Rickert has been researching acoustic octave violins for more than 15 years. He has designed a number of such instruments over the past decade, each new one better than the rest. We sell a lot of these. A number are owned by top recording aritsts.
- As far as we know, we are the only musical instrument company selling over a dozen high-quality replicas of the highly sought Markneukirchen (Saxony, Germany) “factory fiddles” roughly from 1880-1920s. The original “Markies” were, themselves, replicas of historic violins. They have been the favorite instruments for fiddlers, in the U.K,, Ireland, as well as the U.S. for more than a century.
- We are one of the only U.S. based sources of extremely high quality Chinese-made Tertis wide-body violas, in sizes from 15” to 16.5” (note: viola size is designated by the length of the instrument body, from the saddle to the neck joint).
- We actually have a bona fide “Custom Shop”, which has made over the years, custom instruments ranging from pretty normal to a 10-string 3” wide pochette (pocket violin)…4 playable strings with 6 sympathetic strings running under the fingerboard (similar to the Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle and the Baroque Viola D’Amore). Then there was the electric cigar box fiddle that we made for “Reverend Snake”, at the time the fiddle player of the “Prodigal String Band.
BOTTOM LINE: We are not, in any way, the online store for an average violin shop.