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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Philosopher King Special Edition Fiddle by D. Rickert Musical Instruments

Posted by D. Rickert on

The Philosopher King Special Edition Fiddle by D. Rickert Musical Instruments is available now at Bearded Man plan viewthe Don Rickert Musician ShopThis instrument, setup for professional performance and/or advanced competition fiddle playing is made entirely (except for the carved head) in the workshops of D. Rickert Musical instruments in Hiawassee, GA, USA.

From time to time we make special edition instruments. These are not regular production instruments, but rather one-offs. Typically, we make these “specials” when we want to show off our best and/or most unique work at shows.

Bearded Man scroll detail viewWe call this special edition instrument the “Philosopher King Fiddle.” That name sounds a lot cooler than “Violin with a Bearded Man Head Finial.” We could have set it up for violin playing, but we decided to set it up as a profession performance or competition fiddle.

This instrument has the classic Stradivari shape and it is graduated as a Strad. Other things that you may want to know about the instrument are listed below.

Materials: Old moderately flamed European maple back and ribs; tight grained very old spruce top; Indonesian ebony fingerboard with highly decorated shell inlay.

Neck and Finial: The neck is carved and shaped by us from old European maple. The finial part of the neck (i.e. “scroll”) is carved in China by a workshop that specializes in historic violin scrolls and other finials.

Varnish: Traditional hand-rubbed Italian oil. Pigment glaze layer contains raw umber, river madder root and Baltic amber. Result is a medium dark brown with a reddish highlight…very traditional! Varnish is not antiqued.

Tuning pegs: Wittner FineTune pegs

Tailpiece: Dov Schmidt “Harp” compensated tailpiece (ebony)

Strings: D’Addario Zyex synthetic core


  • Moderately arched bridge, carved to produce a fairly low (not ridiculously low) string height.
  • Very low string height at nut
  • Basically, the setup is optimized for Scottish Highland, Irish or Old-Time genre; however, some Old-Time players may want a flatter bridge arc and even lower action.
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