Rudolph Charles (1 October 1938 – 29 March 1985) was a musician and instrument maker of the Steelpan. But most notably, he was a pioneer and leader of the steelband movement in Trinidad and Tobago.
Charles was born as fourth of nine children and grew up in Laventille, a ward of Trinidad, near the capital Port of Spain. He was the Bandleader and Tuner of the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra from 1961 until his death at age 46 in 1985. Charles invented several instruments for the steelband, including the Nine Bass, the Rocket Pans or the Twelve Bass. He also invited other pantuners to collaborate with him, like Bertie Marshall.
Rudolph Charles engaged himself strongly in the steelband movement. The boycott of the national Panorama in 1979 was a result of Charles' fight for higher recognition of pannists.