David Wintz and Bart Wittrock opened Rockin Robin guitar shop in Houston in 1972. They built a solid reputation doing repair work and specializing in selling used instruments.
The guys first hooked up with Tokai at a NAMM show in Chicago in the early 80s and bought out their on-hand inventory of Les Paul and Strat copies to sell at their store back in Texas.
After selling through those guitars they ordered another batch and it showed up with no headstock logo. David and Bart whipped up a Robin decal and stuck it on the headstock and the brand was born.
Next, Robin moved forward with Tokai to produce some of their own designs, including the reverse blade style headstock. That was 1982 and their first original model was the Ranger.
In 1984 the relationship with Tokai soured for several reasons. However, new relationships were forged with ESP and Chushin Gakki (Chushin also did some runs for Jackson and Charvel) and Robin continued importing new models uninterrupted.
Then comes one of their most popular guitars, the Medley Standard and Custom in 1985. For those “in the know” this was a hot superstrat machine in the mid 80s. Pickup types and configurations varied early on, but the “normal” eventually became a humbucker and two singles.
1985/86 Medley Custom specs: Carved mahogany bound body, Set neck, Ebony fretboard, Triangle inlays, Kahler tremolo, Coil tap
Gotta love this…
Legend has it the first shipment of Medley’s had a “Made in Japan” sticker on the back of the headstock (rightfully so). The Robin guys covered it with a “Custom Made” sticker and sealed it with clear coat. Man, you gotta love Texans!
Shortly thereafter relationships with Japanese manufacturers went south and Robin made the decision to open their own Houston factory in 1987. That took a couple of years to put together and the first guitar they built domestically was the Medley Custom TX in 1989.
Since Robin was really a custom shop all kinds of Medley’s came out of their facility including a four and two split headstock (Custom TX).
Robin stopped making electric guitars in 2010, bass guitar production stopped in 1997. The original Rockin Robin guitar shop is still in business in Houston.