So-- I've coveted the Phoenix Neoclassical for years-- ever since I played one about 5 years ago at Mandolin Brothers. When one came up in the Classifieds recently at a really good price, I jumped on it. Given my catch-and-release policy, I sold my Old Wave oval (a really great sounding mando in its own right) to finance the deal. The Phoenix came to me with a lot of fretwear, so while the action was great and the basic tone was great, it had spots where the fret divots mucked with the tone.
Well, today I got that Phoenix back from Rolfe Gerhardt complete with a full refret and a fresh set of T-I's, and it sounds and feels just great! What I notice about this instrument in particular is that even though it has f-holes, the tone is somewhere in between an oval and typical f-hole sound -- the action is very low and it is super responsive to a light touch -- but doesn't fall away when a heavier hand is applied. I love the long and slender neck profile. And there's something about the headstock shape...it is relatively light and b/c it's long and narrow, it doesn't interfere with my left hand at all.
I was sad to let the Old Wave go, and maybe someday I'll be able to have one of each. But for now, I'm enjoying this new used Phoenix very much.
pix to follow