About Rickert & Hale

Call Us: 1-706-896-0909 Email: don@donrickertdesign.com About Us Don Rickert, Ph.D. Don Rickert, an Ergonomist, Industrial Designer and Luthier, has, for the past 15 or so years, been designing and building custom musical instruments. Before that he was deeply involved in the invention of Interactive TV, Internet Banking and teaching Design Research Methods in the Industrial Design department at Georgia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. at the George Washington University, School of Business. Don founded D. Rickert Musical Instruments in 2007. Jesse Hale, Ed.D. Jesse (AKA Randy) Hale, whose guitars are branded “J. Hale”, is also a song writer and publishing... Read more →


Rickert 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. 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... Read more →


Introduction Before I start, what are the criteria for judging the sound quality of musical instruments? I hope that the reader can agree that this is largely subjective, and often, culturally relative. Take the Great Highland Bagpipe. That there are two kinds of people in the world; those who love the bagpipes and those who hate them has been attributed to many, including, as I recall, Winston Churchill. Many of us love (at least in limited doses) the uillean pipes; however, I have known many Irish, meaning those who actually live in Ireland, who refer to them as “rat-chasers”. Finally,... Read more →


Tap-tuning is an art (grounded in science) that is shrouded in mystery. While some luthiers tap-tune only by ear, computer-assisted tap tuning allows the luthier to actually see a computer-generated frequency spectrum graph when muting a specific spot on the plate (e.g., top or back). Computer-assisted tap tuning has only been possible for a few decades. Until very recently, it was too expensive for most luthiers, as the software required used to cost many thousands of dollars. Finding the correct spot to mute is way beyond our scope here. There are known “ideal” fundamentals (i.e., note perceived by the human... Read more →


We are Rickert & Hale, Luthiers, a collaboration between me (Donald Rickert) and fellow luthier, Dr. Jesse Randy Hale of J. Hale Guitars. Now, after more R&D time than I would have ever imagined, we are readying our actual “first articles” to evaluators in the Western U.S. and in Nashville, TN. We set out to design and build the BEST bouzouki possible, employing materials and design elements that have been plausibly related (by us and others) over the years to superior sound and playability. The Sessioneer Spartan Bouzouki—Our initial Offering The Sessioneer Spartan is a relatively small-bodied (< 14”) traditional... Read more →


We are Rickert & Hale, Luthiers, a collaboration between me (Donald Rickert) and fellow luthier, Dr. Jesse Randy Hale of J. Hale Guitars. Now, after more R&D time than I would have ever imagined, we are readying our actual “first articles” to evaluators in the Western U.S. and in Nashville, TN. We set out to design and build the BEST bouzouki possible, employing materials and design elements that have been plausibly related (by us and others) over the years to superior sound and playability. The Sessioneer Spartan Bouzouki—Our initial Offering The Sessioneer Spartan is a relatively small-bodied (< 14”) traditional... Read more →


Email: don@donrickertdesign.com Phone: 706-896-0909 My name is Donald Rickert, I am a musical instrument designer, inventor, craftsman/maker, musician, luthier and Professional Industrial Designer/Design Researcher. I have been a luthier since 1970, transitioning to full-time professional luthier in 2006. See more details about me. About My Company, D. Rickert Musical Instruments My company, D. Rickert Musical Instruments, formally established in 2008, is based in Hiawassee, Georgia, USA. My business partner is luthier, Dr. Randy Hale. Our new joint venture, Rickert & Hale, Luthiers, will focus on mandolin family instruments. Please check out our new website: www.RickertandHale.com. See more details about D.... Read more →


Call Us: 1-706-896-0909 Email: don@donrickertdesign.com Introduction Several months ago, a number of volunteers from the Facebook “The Irish Bouzouki” and “Octave Mandolin” groups kindly completed a survey about Big Mandolin/Irish Bouzouki Attribute Preferences. The survey also queried participants about pricing preferences and tolerances. Volunteers were also solicited from my own Facebook business page, D. Rickert Musical Instruments (aka DonRickertMusicianShop) as well as my personal Facebook page, Donald Rickert (aka Donald.rickert1). I wish to once again thank everyone who participated. Our new company, Rickert & Hale's initial offerings in the octave mandolin/cittern/Irish bouzouki space will take the findings summarized below into... Read more →