Recognized worldwide for the design and construction of his exquisite, handmade guitars, Rizsanyi's clients have included the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, superstars Sting, James Taylor and Peter Gabriel.
Rizsanyi's reputation means clients usually find him, whether it's by word of mouth, email, text or telephone.
All of his guitars are crafted with hand-carved necks, bridges and inlays. He claims "a connoisseur's dedication to playability, comfort and acoustic quality. Every guitar is strobe-tuned for note accuracy, tonal quality and precision harmonics."
And each offers a rich, full-bodied sound. Supporters point to the guitar's note clarity, projection and sustainability as instantly recognizable when hearing a Rizsanyi guitar being played.
Rizsanyi has been in the business of making, fixing and teaching others how for almost 40 years. Having apprenticed for several years for the legendary Master Luthier Joe Lado Kovacic, The Twelfth Fret in Toronto, and violin maker Bruce West before opening his own shop. "The whole thing has been one neat thing after another," he says, with a fervour bordering on boyhood amazement at his own success.
His initial introduction to celebrity clients began with an American superstar musician. "When I was starting out, I had this notion that I would build James Taylor a guitar."
After a year of trying to track down the legendary singer-songwriter, he turned on the television one day and heard he was in Toronto for a concert. Remarkably, the TV anchor announced his hotel. Rizsanyi picked up the phone expecting to leave a message; instead he was patched through to the singer himself.
Rizsanyi says Taylor was very nice. However, he was afraid of offending Rizsanyi if he didn't like the guitar being offered. Not a problem, Rizsanyi thought, so he made Taylor three guitars, to give the singer a choice. They were hand delivered the next time Taylor was in town. He loved them.
Those types of experiences -- mixing resourcefulness, creativity and innovation -- are typical of Rizsanyi's life. He has a knack for recognizing the right opportunity, making the right decision, and squeezing the most out of each moment.
That's good news for his community as Rizsanyi imagines the day he will reinvent his world again and open a guitar manufacturing plant in his neighbourhood. Ever the visionary, Rizsanyi foresees the day when his disciples and locals' may help him make guitars on a grander scale.
Rizsanyi also runs the Rizsanyi School of Instrument making and repairs, featuring courses and workshops. Around the world, his dedication to the craft of guitar making is well known. Each student, including professionals, retired persons, high-school students, anyone with help can make their own guitar that is strung and fully playable by the end of a four-week course. The students also get a full understanding of the process.
But no matter how busy he gets, it seems Rizsanyi will never tire of telling the stories about each guitar and its client. Like the one on how he met and presented a guitar to Keith Richards.
"I had met Noel Redding, who played with Jimi Hendrix, and he asked for a guitar. I delivered it to him in Boston and the guitar player in his band, Charlie Karp, loved it.".
At that point, Karp said Keith Richards would like one too. Rizsanyi thought Karp was joking, but a couple of months later Karp called to say Richards was waiting for his guitar. Rizsanyi hand-delivered that one too, and ended up hanging out at Richard's Connecticut house for the night.