Kate Rickenbacker was born and raised in Lexington, KY.
She was introduced to music at an early age, beginning violin lessons at the age of two. Growing
up she played in youth orchestras, eventually enrolling at the University of Kentucky, where she was
a member of it's symphony orchestra. Kate's dual interest in music and woodworking drew her to the
Chicago School of Violin Making where she studied for 3 1/2 years under the tutelege of Tsh Ho Lee,
Rebecca Eliot and Fred Thompson in the art of violin making.
Following graduation, Kate put her skills to work at Seman Violin's in Skokie, IL. Under the
watchful eye of owner Peter Seman, Kate refined her skills in repair and restoration of violins, violas
and cellos. While in Chicago Kate continued to preform in a variety of genres, ranging from the
Evanston Symphony to the indy-pop group Shoes For Mabel. After 7 years at Seman Violins, Kate has
relocated to the mountains of western North Carolina to open her own shop.
Kate has recently been making four or five instruments a year. Her violins are based on an instrument
made by Stradivarius in 1703 that is currently owned by the Chicago Symphony, and a Guarneri Del Gesu
pattern. She has been making two viola patterns, a 16 1/4" Guarneri and a 15 1/2" of her own design.
Kate has just started on her first cello based on Stradivarius' 'Gore-Booth' of 1710. There is sometimes a
short wait for her instruments, but customers have found them well worth the wait.
On any given day you will find Kate adjusting, repairing, or restoring on old instrument or making a new
instrument using the same time tested techniques and traditional tools craftsmen of 200 years ago
would have employed. Kate invites you to peruse photos of her instruments on the web site. To truly
appreciate her craftsmanship, please visit her shop to try an instrument made by Kate, to repair an old one,
or just to have a cup of coffee and do some fiddilin. Please remember to call before coming by the shop.