The Passing of Robert Ruck

Many of you are probably aware by now that the great guitar maker Robert Ruck passed away recently. I just wanted to write a short post about him and my experience meeting him because it was such an important and meaningful time for me. He was one of the most knowledgeable, innovative and prolific guitar builders of our time. He was also an extremely generous and engaging person.

I met Robert years ago at the Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit. I wasn’t aware that he would be there and his name was so iconic at that point that it seemed bizarre to just walk by Robert Ruck standing alone at his table. I felt like I had no business talking to him, but he started up a conversation and let me play his guitars. He eventually invited me and one other guitar builder to stay with him and his wife in Eugene, OR for several days. He methodically showed us his shop, building process and methods. He explained his approach at length and showed us tips, tricks, tools and jigs; he was surprisingly open about everything. His wife cooked for us. We drank wine and all stayed up late talking about music and life in general. I stayed in a room with a closet packed full of guitars and I was allowed to play them all and take photos. He wouldn’t accept any payment and he sent me home with a pile of wood. I still have trouble believing it.

He will be greatly missed, but as many have already rightly said, he will surely be remembered and has left behind a remarkable legacy and body of work.