I am Bob English, I build, customize and repair guitars, bases and other stringed musical instruments in South Bend Indiana U.S.A.

Four RDE Lutherie guitars

I am a master luthier with over 28 years of experience in the field. I repair both electric and acoustic instruments, and do everything from setups to complex fret work, make parts by hand, as well as repair major breaks.  I prefer technology over tradition, and love modifying instruments to play, sound, stay in tune and even look better.

You, like many others may still be looking for someone who can setup and repair your instruments the right way, not just by the book, but to your own needs and personal preference, without the long wait and dissatisfaction of a job not so well done.  Here at every instrument is approached as it really is, including manufacturing flaws and mishaps, modifications it had done to it, and anything else that may set it apart from another instrument of the exact same make and model.  What "is" in reality can differ from what is "supposed to be" by design.  If you were lead to believe that your instrument can not be saved or improved, then guess what? I can repair or customize just about any instrument, even things not thought possible.

Custom String Path

Appointment needed:

If you would like to have me repair or customize an instrument, or even want one built to order, you will need an appointment.  It is not hard to get one, and often I can see you the next day.  I see customers between 11:00 Am and 8:00 Pm, Monday through Sunday but can work around your schedule if need be.

There is no need to drop off your instrument, so I can put it on a huge pile of others and make you wait until I finally get around to it, risking damage or even loss, as is common practice.  Instead you get a date and time to stop by, where we can go over everything.  If no parts need to be ordered, I can have your work done within a few days, or even the next, depending on the work needed.  If parts are necessary and the instrument is still playable, then you are free to keep and enjoy it until the parts arrive and I inspect them before you drop it off for the work.

Use the "Contact" link at the bottom of any page of this site to get a hold of me and I will respond shortly.  You should leave a phone number and a good time to contact you, since email delivery has become unreliable recently given newer SPAM and Phishing software used by most email servers, I will get your contact submission, but replies to it and subsequent emails can not be guaranteed.  If I get no response then I will call you.

I work from my home, only a few blocks west of Ironwood and south of McKinley (US 20) in South Bend Indiana.

It makes no sense for me to pay high commercial rent and utilities for a space, to do the same thing I can do here legally and in comfort, where I can concentrate on my work without delays and unnecessary interruptions.

I do not reveal my exact location nor phone number until I know you are serious about consulting my services, as it is more secure for my shop and my customers instruments, and I spend significantly less time on the phone and more time concentrating on work at hand.

NHP 12th fret inlay.jpg

Fair pricing:

I charge $45.00 an hour with a one hour minimum, and $7.50 every ten minutes after the first hour.  I do not mark up parts and materials at all, although shipping charges and applicable taxes still apply.  If that sounds high to you, please keep in mind that most professional services cost upwards of $65.00 an hour (each hour started), have added service charges, bench fees and parts markups of up to 300% and often require less skill to perform.  Within my fair pricing practices I do not charge flat rates, which by nature unreasonably discount some customers while over charging others.  In the end my prices are comparable to the current market, and sometimes even less.

BBT fingerboard inlays

About parts:

I do not have any major parts in stock, but can get anything your heart desires, and can be of great help in picking suitable parts.  I have no problem if you supply parts yourself if you already have them.  I do prefer that you get my opinion on parts before purchase, as the quality and longevity not only varies, but can change over time.  If you are not hell bent on factory originals, I can often suggest better after market replacements or even something more suitable to your personal preferences.  I do not have any allegiance to any specific suppliers, but do have favorites based on past experience in dealing with them, their pricing, delivery and other factors.

Control Cavity

This site is jam packed with usable information and eye candy, that can give you an idea on how and why I do what I do the way I do it, but it is up to you to read it!

Navigating this site is easy: If you want to get back here "Home" just click on the RDE Lutherie logo in the top header of any page, and you will come back here, except from this page itself, where it will bring you back to the "Welcome" page On the bottom of every page there are four special sections:

Contact: To get a hold of me.

Feedback: Where you can read some of the feedback from my clients, or leave some of your own.

Legal Matters: Everything from my warranty's to licensing and insurance issues.

Copyright: Where I list and credit any and everyone's copyright for parts of this site.

To the left are links to the major sections of this site, and within each section there is a bar of links on the right, with sub-sections and topics.  Here is an overview of what you will find within each major section:

Repair Service: Since repair is my bread and butter, you may want to brows that section if you are considering repair work.  Not only will you find topics more specific to what you may need, but within you will find information on my approach and execution of the work, the associated guaranty, and approximate time it may take to execute the work.  You may even find a better solution than the one you were considering, unless it is totally obvious what the problem is.  This section is mainly informative, and relies on words (lot's of them) rather than pictures, which are in the "Repair Gallery".

Customization: Much like the "Repair" section, but beyond factory specks of your instrument.  Here is where you can read up on the many things that can be done to improve and personalize your instrument, sort of like a "Hot Rod shop" for stringed musical instruments.  There are many possibilities here, and probably some stuff you may not know can be done.

Repair Gallery: Since I stuffed so much information into the "Repair Service" section, I thought it better to make a separate section to show some of the repair work I have done.  It has less text, and more pictures although some things can not be shown well with photographs, and require hands and ears to experience.  This section features more customization than repair, since after a repair there may be no visual difference at all afterwards, where in customization there is almost always something to show for it.

Guitars: Here is where you can check out guitars I have built, and some that are still under construction.  You may notice that unlike most luthiers and manufacturers, I do not copy and have my own designs, nor do I compromise on quality or playability.

Basses: Same as the "guitars" section, just for basses.  Nothing there yet, but I am working on some designs.

Other Instruments: Same as the "guitars" and "Basses" sections, just for other Instruments.  Nothing there yet either, but I have Ideas for electric mandolins and lutes...

Recycled Instruments: Here you will find Instruments and other stuff made from parts of other instruments, that I found for cheap or were donated to me.  You are strongly encouraged to donate old musical equipment so I can reuse it.  It will lessen the load on mother nature, may bring enjoyment to someone, and give me a way to make a few extra bucks to help me stay in business.

The Store: The place I put everything I have for sale, as the name implies.  Once up and running, you should be able to find instruments, parts you can swap out, recycled stuff and what not.  I have no plans on retailing anything made by others than myself, except for t-shirts and other things with my logo on them, or of my design.

About: Stuff about me and my business like my history and philosophy, and about this site, for those interested.

Q and A: Not as much an FAQ, but rather answers to questions you may have, and in more detail than elsewhere on the site in case you are wondering: When? Why? Or even What the ****?

Happy browsing!