Rudy Pensa’s appreciation for music started at the age of seven when he began his studies in classical guitar in his native Argentina. It wasn’t until some years later when he heard the Beatles, that his true passion for the sounds of the electric guitar solidified. Rudy’s first experience as a guitar builder was actually an experiment when at the age of thirteen he attempted to build a 12-string guitar, using the broken necks of two 6-string guitars.
In 1974, on Rudy’s first visit to New York, he went directly from JFK airport with suitcase in tow to the world-renowned shrine of musical instruments… 48th Street. He long dreamed of visiting this place where musicians congregated to buy, sell, browse and dream. You might even run into one or more of your idols there.
Rudy and his wife, Fran, opened “Rudy’s Music Stop” on 48th Street in New York City in 1978 and began turning his passions into tangible artistry. It wasn’t long before “Rudy’s Music” became a well-known and highly respected guitar shop to guitarists around the world. Rudy’s love and enthusiasm for what he does is contagious and his long list of regular customers still grows.
The earliest “Pensa” electric guitar was called the “R Custom”. He built the first “R Custom” in 1982 and sold many in his shop. It was in 1985 that Rudy, collaborating with his then employee, John Suhr, began building many amazing instruments that are considered classics today.
Rudy met Mark Knopfler in 1980 during the height of Dire Straits fame. They shared the same passion for the guitar and formed a friendship that has endures to this day. In 1985, Rudy and Mark sat down over a cup of coffee and drew the blueprints on a napkin for what would become one of the most sought after custom-made guitars in the world… the Pensa “MK”.
In 2000, Rudy and Mark Knopfler teamed up again to design the “Pensa MK2” which rapidly gained momentum worldwide. Through the years, other “Pensa” models have emerged including the introduction of the Pensa 4-String and 5-String basses, the Pensa “Classic” and “Junior” electric guitars with many endorsers including Victor Bailey. Numerous studio musicians and professionals all over the world including Mark Knopfler, Lou Reed, Eric Clapton and countless others play Pensa guitars.
Rudy’s stellar reputation as a guitar builder, shopkeeper and gentleman is well deserved. Every person who walks in the door of “Rudy’s Music Stop” is treated with the same respect whether they are a platinum selling artist, a Wall Street banker or a kid with a dream. Rudy makes no distinction in the service and quality he provides for his customers. The energy and passion for the Pensa instruments he creates is fueled by the earliest visions of Rudy Pensa and his love of the art.
Now continuing the music tradition north of the city and into the suburbs, Rudy recently opened an additional store in Scarsdale, located in Westchester County, NY.