My name is Rich Shulman, I design and build all RichTone Stringed Instruments.

I've been building instruments since 1997, and, currently, have completed 116. I started out building acoustic & electric mandolins. Later came short-scale banjos, octave mandolin, electric guitar, stand-up electric bass, and some "hybrid" instruments too. 

Since 2013, I've focused mostly on building acoustic guitars. However, I still enjoy building other instruments. 

The knowledge that I've gained from acoustic guitar building, has already crossed over into improvements in everything else that I build.

One of the main principles of my building...regardless of the instrument, is to make the sides as stiff as possible. As a matter of fact, the sides & neck of my mandolin are one solid piece (no bent wood). 

I had completed 51 instruments when I came to find out that this style of construction is similar to an early mandolin design by Orville Gibson!

I stiffen the sides because they're not involved in sound production, so the energy that is released out of the sides is all wasted. By stiffening the sides, less energy is released out of the sides. However, that energy has got to go somewhere, so at least some of it goes to the top, more energy to the top means more sound is produced (more volume, deeper bass, brighter highs, stronger mids, more sustain, along with a "warmer" tone).

On the acoustic guitars that I'm now building, I stiffen the sides by utilizing a "tone-ring" in the construction. 

Since I began building flat-top mandolins in 1997, I've been faced with one inherent problem. That is, keeping the top from pushing down below horizontal, without over-bracing it, since there is only downward pressure on the top. 

Well, finally, after 19 years, with the last few guitars, that have been flat-top, with a floating bridge and tailpiece (so here again, only downward pressure on the top). I've developed a system, using carbon fiber integrated into the X-bracing. There is no mass added by doing this, but it's allowed me to remove some of the wooden bracing that is no longer needed for's now stronger, and sounds better! 

I've adapted this system to my mandolins, with great results.

So before you plunk down big $$$ for something else, it may be worth your while to check me out....   

I enjoy building "hybrid" instruments too, so if you've got an idea, get in touch, maybe we can make it a reality..... 

You can contact me at (704) 519-6491, or email me at

Check out "RichTone Stringed Instruments", on Facebook, for more recent pictures and updates.


Flat-Top Floating Bridge Acoustic Guitars

This is my most recent guitar. It's got a red cedar top with a Brazilian rosewood floating bridge, and an old style tailpiece,  Brazilizan rosewood sides wrapping around to a curly yellow birch back, a twine macrame rosette, and a "full moon rising behind the tree" inlay on the headstock. It's also got the new Carbon Fiber brace support system that i developed, to keep the top nice and flat, and improve the sound!

Here are the series of events that ultimately led me to building flat-top acoustic guitars with the old style floating bridge & tailpiece . It began with an idea I had about turning a 4-string tenor guitar into a 5-string (tuned D-Gg-B-E, with the pair of G's in octaves). I decided to use the parts I had around the shop that I wasn't likely to use on a conventional acoustic pin-bridge guitar. The parts included a pair of dobro sides (only 3 1/4" wide), red cedar top, and some mango wood for the back. When it was done, it sounded so good, that curiosity about how it'd sound as a 6-string, got the better of me. So I took the 5-string neck off, and replaced it with a 6-string neck. Since it already had a floating bridge, I had to use a floating bridge for the 6-string conversion. Once that was done and I, and everyone else that played it, was pretty blown away by it, I decided to go head first into building this style guitar. But before i went any further, I had to figure out how to keep the top from pushing below horizontal.....hence the carbon fiber support system....that was the final piece to the puzzle!

Flat-Top Pin Bridge Acoustic Guitars

                   13 fret L-00 "Nick Lucas" style             12 fret L-00 style                 12 fret mini dreadnaught                   14 fret L-00 style

                                             Tenor Guitar                                                             

                                                                            13 fret, red spruce top, mahogany back & sides

Acoustic Mandolin

acoustic mandolin

            Spruce top, maple neck & sides, canarywood back. I've adapted the carbon fiber brace support system that I developed for my acoustic guitars, to work on my acoustic mandolins now they too have a nice flat top, and improved tone & volume!

Short-scale "baby" Banjo

                                            It's tuned like a conventional banjo, but it's got a 16" scale, so it's an octave higher than standard.                                                         Available with or without a resonator back.

Electric Mandolins

                                                                     Solid body, Humbucker pick-up, volume & tone controls

                                                                   Semi-hollow body, Humbucker pick-up, volume & tone controls

 Solid-Body Electric Guitar 

                                                     The neck, body, and headstock (except the "wings") are made from the same piece of maple.


 Thanks for stopping by...have a good one....


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