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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Introducing the Don Rickert Musician Shop

Posted by Don Rickert on

The Don Rickert Musician Shop is the new 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. 

Look forward to some really interesting mandolins, octave mandolins, mandocellos, parlor guitars, acoustic bass guitars, tenor guitars and the like. They will start showing up soon as R&D instruments in our new Custom Shop.

Don Rickert at Hoppin John 2014Our 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.

Jeff Atkins 2Don’s main work is the role of owner, designer and luthier 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.

In addition to his many roles with Don Rickert Musical Instruments, as time allows, Dr. Rickert accepts engagements as a 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. The fact is that his work as a highly sought Expert Witness in patent infringement civil actions provides substantial self-funding to our continuous research & development while remaining independent from slavery to venture capitalists. 

Our email is and phone number is (404) 828-0136. 

Mailing address:
Don Rickert Musical Instruments
726 Hall Creek Road
Hiawassee, GA 30546

We are not a “brick-and-mortar” retail establishment; however, many customers do 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. 

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?

At first glance, the Don Rickert Musician Shop 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 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 outrageously cool, such as the recently completed 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).

BOTTOM LINE: We are not, in any way, the online store for an average violin shop.

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