Trip to Berkeley, Wildcard Guitars

Starting at beginning of the Trip to Berkeley posts:

Wildcard Guitars
Wildcard Guitar Workshop

When you come to Wildcard Guitars (formerly known as Mr. Rioso Guitars), you will recognize it by this clever sign.  Ring his bell and be taken upstairs to his loft shop.  It seems very cramped, but the Wildcard says there are many luthier shops in the world which are much smaller and produce much more.

Wildcard Guitar Workshop
The business corner of the shop.

The Wildcard has built a tiny humidity controlled room.  The ceiling is so low that the Wildcard discovered he could convert the room and a desk into a Go Bar clamping system thereby avoiding the costly and space-wasting piece of equipment currently available to luthiers.

Go Bar Clamp
Go Bar Clamp

His Wildness makes stringed instruments, mostly guitars, according to client requests.  But his favorite past time is working up experimental (crack-pot) guitar ideas.  Since pictures are stronger than words:

Carlos Oliveira with his guitar
Happy client, Carlos Oliveira

Here is Carlos Oliveira, local Chorro giant, happy camping with his new pro-sete guitar.  This was an Oliveira/Wildcard collaboration specially built for travel between here and Brazil on airplanes.  Carlos plays this guitar when there are lots of drums, and he needs to play loud, and he doesn’t want feedback. It has RMC pickups so he can get a great acoustic guitar sound and synthesizer sounds at the same time on his custom 7-stringer.

Larry with his Dionysian model.
Happy client Larry with a Wildcard Dionysian model solid body guitar.

Larry’s favorite color is purple, so Wildcard made the fingerboard, bridge, and other incidental parts of this Dionysian model solid body guitar out of Purple Heart wood.

Oola likes and endorses Wildcard Guitars.

Oola with a Wildcard Guitaer
Oola endorses Wildcard guitars

You may have seen the above national ad campaign earlier.  She brought her Cubist 2.5 in for some custom work.

Cubist 2.5
Oola’s Cubist 2.5 model jazz guitar, built for comfort and mellow playabiity.

Wildcard also repairs guitars.  This Russian 7-String gypsy guitar came into the shop in many small pieces and a few well preserved large chunks.  Here it is restored.  It plays beautifully.  It needs a home.  Does anyone know any 150 year old Russian Gypsy’s who might want a restored 150 year old Russian Gypsy guitar?

Russian Gypsy Guitar
19th Century 7-String Russian Gypsy guitar

Little known factoid:  Yul Brenner played one of these.

Wildcard had a little bit of wood left over from a seven-string project, and only five of the six parts needed to make another guitar.  Never one to waste, he made a 5-string mando from the scraps.  It is 70% as big as a regular Dionysian model.  Oola designed the reduction on the computer. It’s the perfect Oola sized instrument.

5-string Electric Mandolin
5-String Electric Mandolin

If you want to find out more about Wildcard Guitars, try You can email him for an appointment, a phone number, a seance. (He’ll tap your guitar to hear the voices!)

By jandove


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