Meet The Designer Who Ditched Her Day Job To Build Beautiful Guitars

Sometimes you have to follow your passions, no matter the cost. It will be scary. It will be hard. But the rewards are vast.

Rachel Rosenkrantz studied architecture and design in Paris and Rhode Island. But she still felt like her life was unfulfilled. Music was her passion. She played in bands after work and on the weekends, but that didn’t feel like enough. As time passed, Rosenkrantz longed for a way to combine her passion for design and creation with her love of music. She started investigating apprenticeships at local luthiers in Rhode Island and soon she was blazing a path towards becoming one of the world’s most unique guitar makers.

Atelier Rosenkrantz guitars, basses, and ukuleles are hand-crafted and uniquely designed instruments that are tailored to one person: You. Rosenkrantz prides herself on never repeating a design. She takes the time to dive deeply into your musical prowess and career to make an instrument that is unparalleled by design, by style, and by sound. Her creations are musical instruments and pieces of art.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Rosenkrantz to talk about following one’s passions in life and creating truly unique musical instruments. Oh, and, also about the joy of geeking out with guitars.

I was perusing your guitar portfolio and it reminded me a bit of Frank Gehry with the flow and the movements of the wood.

Thank you. I use everything I’ve learned in architecture, in design, and in furniture-making every day in my discipline. Design principles are universal, so they can definitely apply to this as well. The nature of design and architecture is to question the assumptions and luthiery is so traditional that most people go by the blueprints. Actually, I think that my design background is more an advantage. I’m also a musician. And, for a while, I thought, ‘should I be an artist? Or should I be a musician?’ Then I realized I don’t have to ask these questions. I can combine my passions.

What’s your favorite instrument to play?

It’s funny, even though I mostly build guitars, and the guitar is my first instrument, I mainly play upright bass now. I used to share a shop with an upright bass maker and he’s a drummer. And I used to share a guitar woodshop with a guitar maker who was also a bassist. I think we see guitars all day every day and then after work, we need to see another instrument.

I have to ask, how did you get from Paris to Providence, Rhode Island?

So, I studied in Paris and in my fourth year I did what a lot of European students do — a foreign exchange program. My school actually had an Erasmus exchange with the U.S. It sounded very fitting for me and I wanted to give it a try. As an exchange student, you get to study in the US for the price of a French school. That was great.