About Rickert & Hale: Makers of Mandolin Family Instruments, Including Octave Mandolins, Citterns, Irish Bouzoukis and Mandocellos

Rickert & Hale, Luthiers to Vend at the Hoppin' John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention 2022

DSCN1171Rickert Musical Instruments will be showing one of its Violoncellos da Spalla, as well as many other great instruments at Hoppin’ John 2022. Our new venture, Rickert & Hale, Luthiers, will have lots of instruments to show and try out as well, including at least one of their new octave mandolins.

Sessioneer Spartan plan view full Rickert Musical Instruments (bowed strings), together with its partner, Rickert and Hale, Luthiers (mandolin family and guitars), will once again be showing finished and in progress instruments at the 2022 Hoppin’ John Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention. The festival will take place September 15-17, 2022 at the Shakori Hill Community Arts Center near Pittsboro, North Carolina. That is central North Carolina. People come from throughout the Southeastern US, including Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and, of course, North Carolina.

Ruby S VdS front finalWe will have at least one of our in-progress violoncellos da spalla to show. As surprising as it might seem, a large number of American traditional fiddle players and enthusiasts are also baroque music enthusiasts. We have actually sold more violoncellos da spalla at (or shortly following) the Hoppin’ John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention than ANY other instrument.

The in-progress violoncello da spalla that we will be showing is actually available for purchase right now. It is the same model (Standard Model) played by several renowned violoncello da spalla players. If you are interested, feel free to contact us to discuss. We will only be building a few more of the Standard Model; henceforth, we will only be taking commissions for the Standard PLUS Model, which costs considerably more.

Rickert Musical Instruments

Phone (US): (706-896-0909); mobile (706-400-1481)

Email: [email protected] or [email protected].

List of Instruments We Will Be Showing

Rickert & Hale Octave Mandolin, guitar shaped body (in progress)

This instrument is about the same size as a Taylor GS Mini guitar, with a radical Florentine (i.e., pointed) cutaway. It has a very playable 22.72” scale.

I will post some illustrations of this new instrument in the next day or so.

Rickert & Hale Octave Mandolin, Irish style teardrop body

This instrument has the basic appearance of what most call an Irish bouzouki, but with a shorter 22.72” scale. Irish bouzoukis generally have at least a 25” scale length.

Rickert & Hale Irish Bouzouki, teardrop body

This is the instrument pictured at the beginning of this post. It is a traditional Irish bouzouki with a 25.4” scale.

Some J. Hale guitars

We are still deciding which ones we are going to bring. Stay tuned for an update on this.

1930s (we think 1934) Gibson TG-0 tenor guitar

This tenor guitar has been restored to the point that it is quite playable. The original banjo tuners have been replaced with incredible Rickard Cyclone banjo style tuners. They look exactly like traditional banjo tuners but have a very modern gearing system with and unheard of 10:1 ratio! – and they do not slip like traditional pegs. They look really good as well.

Recording King Tenor Banjo with upgraded proper banjo tuners

This is a relatively cheap tenor banjo. We have set it up for what is often called “Irish tuning”, which is G D A E, an octave lower than a mandolin or fiddle. We also got rid of the cheesy economy style tuners and replaced them with high-quality proper banjo tuners (Stewart-MacDonald 5-Star).

Vintage Bowl-back Mandolin (1970s)

This “tater bug” mandolin was made in Japan, where some of the best bowl-backs were made in recent times. It is a Yamaha as I recall. Very playable and in excellent aesthetic condition.

Strings and accessories

A wide selection of strings for most instruments, capos, shoulder rests, and such.

Bowed instruments by master luthier Donald Rickert

Violoncello da Spalla (in progress)

If you don’t know what a violoncello da spalla is, click here for a description.

The short explanation is that it is a very small 5-string cello that is suspended by a shoulder strap and played across the chest more or less under the chin. It is an 18th Century (i.e., Baroque) instrument that is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, particularly among experienced viola players who are Baroque period enthusiasts. Why violists and not cellists? Because of its playing position, one holds the bow like a viola or violin, which is backwards to a cellist. One or two of our customers have actually competed in the “Non-Traditional” fiddle category at Hoppin’ John.

The instrument we will be bringing to Hoppin’ John this year will, barring any miracles, be under construction. You will be able to see the inside of the instrument with the neck not yet attached. We are actively selling this instrument. We know of at least two fiddlers who are planning on using violoncello da spalla in an Old-time string band.

To read about my vision for cellos in general, and specifically the violoncello da spalla, in Old-time music, click here.

Tenor Viola

This is basically a smallish viola strung and tuned like an octave fiddle. This means that it plays almost as low as a full-size cello. We have brought instruments like this to Hoppin’ John in the past and they have always been a big hit.

Small Viola d’Amore

This is a essentially a violin with sympathetic strings running under the fingerboard in a channel and then across the lower level of a double-decker bridge. You won’t belief how cool it sounds. The one we are bringing is not super expensive.

A plethora of vintage fiddles and fiddles made by Don Rickert

We have some really nice fiddles made by Don Rickert over the years. We also have some really nice vintage instruments restored in our shop. Finally, we have some pretty decent “student” instruments as well.

A nice selection of new and restored vintage bows

We do not any longer try to make money selling bows. Unless a bow is a very special high-end bow, the profit margins are too low for the trouble. That being said, we have several dozen almost new and vintage bows. Some of them are really excellent.

Hope to see you at the Hoppin' John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention 2022.


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