Texas luthier and entrepreneur Dave Wintz died June 25 after battling an extended illness. He was 69.
Born and raised in Houston, Wintz was co-founder of the retail store Rockin’ Robin Guitars, where he designed and built Robin guitars and Rio Grande Pickups.
Wintz started playing guitar at age 13, inspired by the British Invasion. With partner Bart Wittrock, he opened Rockin’ Robin in 1972, and began importing Robin guitars from Japan in ’82; many early models had six-in-line tuners along the lower edge of the headstock.
“There wasn’t any deep marketing concept behind the reverse headstock,” Wintz said in a 1993 interview with VG. “We just thought it looked cool.”
Wintz began building Robins in ’88, the most enduring being the three-pickup Ranger. Others included the single-cutaway Avalon and semi-hollow Savoy. Robin evolved into Alamo Music Products, which offered guitars under its own name and as Metropolitan. Wintz stopped building guitars in 2010.
More recently, he opened Texas Guitar Hospital, a repair business where he also did an occasional custom build.
“Dave had an eye for guitar design like nobody else,” said Wittrock. “His designs are underappreciated, his attention to detail was uncompromising, and he will be missed by the guitar community.”
“Dave believed in me at a time when I was just figuring out which was my left and right foot,” recalled guitarist Jon Butcher, who used a Robin Medley in the late ’80s. “Ride easy, brother Dave. See you on the other side.”
This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.