ATTENTION!: You most likely got to this page via a search engine rather than visiting the Adventurous Muse Storefront. This is a custom service, available ONLY at our new store, Don Rickert Musical Instruments (www.RickertMusicalInstruments.com).
Note: The listed price is for a simple inkwork decoration. Actual cost will usually be much greater.
The decoration of musical instruments has been done for hundreds of years. Such decoration has included inlay work of various types, painting, etching, carving, application of gold leaf and "rosing", the Norwegian nickname for "rosemaling", which is the tattoo-like inkwork one sees on Hardanger Fiddles.
Some Historic and Recent Examples:
- Giovanni Paolo Maggini (c. 1580 - c. 1630) embellished many of his violins with inlaid patterns on the backs of the instruments.
- Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) made some instruments with lovely inlay decoration, for which he charged huge sums of money, according to lore.
- For hundreds of years, Norwegian Hardanger Fiddles have been elaboratly decorated with inkwork, called "rosing".
- Many of the Southern Mountain Fiddles of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries sported decoration composed of inkwork, dyes and mother-of-pearl inlays.
- The Welsh violin maker, Tim Phillips has applied whimsical inkwork decoration to some of his instruments.
You can see examples of violin and fiddle decoration, including that done by Don Rickert Lutherie, in the following photo galleries:
- Historic and New Rosed and Inlaid Instruments
- Old Hardanger Fiddle with Elaborate Rosing (Inkwork)
- Rickert Pochette with Celtic Rosing (Inkwork)
- Don Rickert Tattooed Fiddles
Learn more details about all of the above in our article, Tatooed Fiddles by Don Rickert Design.
Don Rickert Lutherie:
We have produced custom instruments for several years with combinations of inkwork, etching and inlay (see Cigar Box Fiddle Authentic 1860s Style Special Edition and Whiskey Box Pocket Fiddle by Don Rickert Design). We are now expanding our capacity to do simple or elaborate inkwork on several instruments made by Don Rickert Lutherie.
The instruments are:
- The New Custom Series of Fiddles by Don Rickert Lutherie
- Bluegrass Pro Fiddle by Don Rickert Lutherie
- Performer Fiddle by Don Rickert Lutherie
- The Aberdeen Fiddle by Don Rickert Lutherie
- The Classic Old-Time Fiddle by Don Rickert Lutherie
- The Dublin Fiddle by Don Rickert Lutherie
- Octave Violin, Rickert-Fiddarci, Darci Jones Model
- Octave Violin, Rickert-Fiddarci, W.S. Mount Model
- Glasgow Pochette
- Neil Gow Pochette
- Adventurer IId Travel Violin
- Mountaineer II Backpacker Fiddle
- Neil Gow 21C2 Travel Violin
- Flat-Top Flatiron-Style Mandolin by Don Rickert Design
In all cases, these are instruments for which we do the varnishing, as inkwork is done on sealed bare wood BEFORE the varnish is applied.
The price for our "rosed" instruments varies according to the following factors:
- The complexity and size of the design
- The method by which the inkwork is applied: On relatively flat surfaces, such as a pochette, travel violin or the ribs (sides) of a Rickert Customizable Fiddle, a process called dry ink transfer can be used. On surfaces with complex curves, such as the top or back of a Rickert Customizable Fiddle, the inkwork must be done by hand by a skilled pen-and-ink or tatoo artist...this is almost exactly like the process a tatoo artist must use when tattooing a person (except with pens rather than an electric tattoo needle).
- Original Custom Design vs. an Existing Design: There literally thousands of existing tatoo stencils (called "flash"), which can be modified to "tattoo" an instrument. A completely original design is certainly possible, but involved extra effort and, thus, additional cost.
We are able to apply just about any design imaginable to your instrument. The varnish is applied OVER the design, making it about as permanent as a tattoo on a person. We DO reserve the right to reject offensive images. After all, it is our name on the label inside the instrument.
Needless to say, one of our instruments with custom inkwork is NOT returnable. That being said, we bend over backwards and give you a "Photoshop" visualization of what your instrument will look like after tatooing. We proceed when you sign-off on the visualizations and agree on the price.
Now, that is a lot more than you get before getting your body tatooed!