We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Gully and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, how do you think about risk?
Risk is something to be managed not something to fear. I was a career Special Forces soldier and well acquainted with high risk. With no risk, there can be no reward. Starting a small business in the unpredictable economy of our present times is very risky. I have been able to rely on my life experiences to lessen those risks by starting a business in a field that I am very familiar with and truly love, guitar crafting. I decided to not worry too much about where my customers will come from but to just be true to myself, make the best product possible and trust that the orders will come from this quality and honesty. This has proven true.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I fell in love with music and the guitar when I was young. I attended the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood. Ultimately, I spent a career in the very challenging US Army Special Forces but always keeping my music with me. The Special Forces soldier is a kind of professional athlete, it requires physical determination, strength and intellectual prowess. Being a Green Beret gave me the gift of worldly experience and the knowledge of my capabilities. This molded my character and I was able to apply it to my love of music, attending the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, to becoming a certified luthier. (A luthier is a stringed instrument builder/repairer). I wanted to create guitars that had qualities, tonally and aesthetically that fit my music inspired dreams. I know myself and have always sought knowledge in the industry, working with my hands and learning from the best. Creating my own, hand-crafted, custom guitar company was the natural direction for my soul and abilities. The name “Ripcord” is a nod to my military past as a ripcord is the life-saving part of a parachute. “Ripcord Rob” was a nickname for me at one point in the service. Ripcord Guitars is not only my passion but an extension and physical manifestation of all that I am.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Scottsdale is an amazing city! It is part of Phoenix metropolis and the amount of live music going on is my favorite! I love to go to the Marquee in Tempe and sit in the balcony for a concert or walk near the canal in old town Scottsdale to hear the buskers. All the different and creative things musicians do with their instruments, inspires me. The resorts, hotels and golf clubs provide loads of live bands and performers. Nightlife for clubbing in Scottsdale entertainment district is on par with all the fantastic places I have visited in Europe. A great part, is when you want to wind down, the desert with it’s hiking trails, parks, and wildlife is right here, moments away!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Inspiration and complete support for my dreams has come from my darling wife and business owner Elena of Salon Valkyrie by Elena Gully in Scottsdale, Arizona. She’s a dynamo of ideas and energy. After my military career, I worried about finding the perfect profession to share value with others and provide personal fulfillment. Elena could see so clearly that my passion for guitar building was destiny. She encouraged me at every step and shared her business experience, always encouraging, always beautiful. She is my muse.
Elena Gully, @az_photographer_elena