Octave Mandolin

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 →


Ordering Information While semi-standardized, each Sessioneer Bouzouki is built for the individual buyer, at least for now. If you wish to discuss buying one of these instruments, give us a call or send an email. Looking forward to talking! Phone: 1-706-896-0909 Email: Don@DonRickertDesign.com Note: If you are a highly-skilled player with a history of high-quality videos on YouTube, we are open to discussing a discounted price in exchange for demonstration videos of our instruments. Let’s agree up front that there will be no hurt feelings. I mean, I am a player, but at nowhere near the skill level necessary for... 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 →


Call Us: 1-706-896-0909 Email: don@donrickertdesign.com First things first: I have a new Violoncello da Spalla under construction. The violoncello da spalla in many ways is the bowed equivalent of a 5-course mandocello or citttern, with the extra 5th course being on the low (i.e., low C) end rather than the high (e.g., high E or A). We continue to make these as well as our new Big Mandolin family instruments. Here are some photos of the instrument in its current state. Click on any of the photos for a larger view. When it is paired with a lucky future owner,... Read more →


Call Us: 1-706-896-0909 Email: don@donrickertdesign.com This is an update of an article that first appeared on the D. Rickert Musical Instruments site in March 2019. Introduction This article is Part 2 of 2 and a follow on the article, The New Mandolin Family Part 1: Ancient Mesopotamia to Orville Gibson. We will pick up with other developments staring in the 1960s and culminating in today's New Mandolin Family of instruments. Here I will discuss the large-bodied tenor range instruments of the New Mandolin Family. These instruments are often called ‘octave mandolins’, ‘citterns’ and ‘Irish bouzoukis’. There is considerable confusion about... Read more →