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Thread: Red diamond mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User Yellowmandolin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I am in the process of looking at having a new mandolin built and wanted to look at a few builders near my central-Ohio location. #It turned out that my guitar player was taking his D-28 down to Todd Sams to have a refret and I tagged along because Todd and Don MacRostie work and live so close to each other.

    After a little tour of the Stew-Mac tool shop, we followed Don to his house and shop. #I first played one of his vintage Fs modeled after Grisman's Loar and nearly lost my mind. #It was easily in the top two mandolins I have played with the other leader being a '22 Loar. #It had everything you could ever want in a professional mandolin... #tone tone tone! #The trebles were loud and clear and the bass notes (on .038" Gs!) hit you like a cannon. #It was so easy to play and I don't generally go for the flat boards... #I am a little surprised that there is not more talk about his work here on the Cafe, but that may be attributed to the fact that he doesn't make too many a year.

    It looked the part as well. #It had that classic darker burst (I won't say cremona ) of the '23 Loars, and dated pickguard and bridge from Steve Smith, silver Waverlies, and a tailpiece of his own design that was very cool.

    I was only there for less than two hours and played around 5 of his mandolins including to killer sounding As. #I know there are a few Red Diamond owners out there and was wondering what you thought of them after living with it for a while. #Maybe a few pics of these fantastic mandos too as I forgot my camera? # #

    Thanks!
    Play, play, play!

    Jacob Hawkins

  2. #2
    Registered User fredfrank's Avatar
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    It's always nice to hear about other people's impressions of the Red Diamond mandolins. I absolutely love my Vintage model, and have sold off all my other mandolins now. This is the mandolin my widow will have to deal with when I'm gone:


  3. #3
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    I have never personally played a Red Diamond but a friend on the west coast who is a well known professional musician has told me that Don's mandolins are amazing in fit/finish and tone and easily some of the best available.
    Rick Smith

    Collings MF5 Deluxe V

  4. #4
    Registered User fredfrank's Avatar
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    Rick, I see by your signature that you are sporting a Collings MF5V Deluxe. I had one of those as well, and I'll tell you they are the best I've ever seen in fit and finish.

    Chris Hillman also plays one and you can catch him with Herb Pedersen on Woodsongs.com now.

    I think for authenticity, Don MacRostie has absolutely captured the mandolins of the 20's, but his fit and finish is much better. I guess luthiers have learned a thing or two in 80+ years, eh?

  5. #5
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    Thanks fredfrank. I haven't regreted getting the MF5DV for a second. Your Red Diamond is absolutely beautiful. It's one of those that make one's mouth water.
    Chris is the west coast friend that I was speaking of. He's one heck of a good man and so is Herb. I will definitely check out Woodsongs.
    Rick Smith

    Collings MF5 Deluxe V

  6. #6
    Registered User Phil Jolly's Avatar
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    Here's my Vintage A. On its way from Don right now. There's a protective covering on the pickguard. Should be here tomorrow...



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    Phil

  7. #7
    Registered User Phil Jolly's Avatar
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    Back
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    Phil

  8. #8
    Registered User Phil Jolly's Avatar
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    Peghead
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    Phil

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    Looks Sweet.. but How much $ for a vintage F? It is absolutly Beautiful...
    Rob Tebworth

    www.tebworthbrothers.com

    Gibson MM
    #73 BRW Varnish F

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    It's a beauty ksig. Congrats!
    Rick Smith

    Collings MF5 Deluxe V

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    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
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    Wow, I didn't know Don was building vintage A models. That is one beautiful mandolin as is Fred's vintage F. I've bought and sold a lot of mandolins. The only one I'd get back if I could is a Red Diamond. Top notch wood, fit & finish, and tone. They don't come up for sale used very often, do they? Don's a real gem of human being too.
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
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  12. #12
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    I haven't had the pleasure of playing one of his vintage models yet but I do like mine A LOT!! Got to play another of his F5's at the Monroe Camp and it was absolutely killer as well. Now that vintage A model.......that just caused some serious MAS!!!

  13. #13
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Might as well post a pic of mine too.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Yellowmandolin's Avatar
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    Phil, I played your A and it was fantastic! You are one lucky man! That one piece back has a lot of understated beauty. Congratulations!
    Play, play, play!

    Jacob Hawkins

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    Jacob, you beat me to the punch. #Don's latest batch of mandolins are, to say the least, very special. #

    I was at Don's shop last week with Johnny Staats, who plays a Red Diamond as his main mandolin. #I not only got to play, but more importantly hear a very skilled player spend time with each of these mandolins. #Todd Sams was also there to sample the batch. #Great guitar builder and fine mandolin player in his own right.

    Don has recently finished a batch of vintage F-5's that are as close as possible to Grisman's Loar. #The data he collected for this project would fill up a good sized 3-ring binder. #He also completed (2) A-5's with similar data used. #Phil, I also got to play your A-5 for a bit and I am sure you will be thrilled. # These mandolins are incredibly consistant from one to the next. #They all have a very Loar-like quality. The highs sound like a grand piano and the lows are strong and focused. #The mid-range has that Loar throaty-ness. #They have power and projection. #The clarity of sound is the most stunning quality in these mandolins. #Intonation is dead on and playability is incredible. #In my humble opinion, they very much capture the personality of Mr. Grisman's Loar.

    Don's Red Diamond mandolins are cherished by their owners for good reason. #His is among the top builders in fit, finish, tone and playability. I encourage those interested to contact Don. #He has another interesting project in the works.



    (Tracy Curtis)

  16. #16
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    They look terrific, and those little bitty pickguards - too cute!

  17. #17
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Another interesting project? You can't leave us hangin' like that......

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    Hey Shaun, Don has had the opportunity to gather all of the necessary data from another very famous Loar. You can use your imagination but the next batch may not bark like a Dawg, but may sing like a Bird.
    (Tracy Curtis)

  19. #19
    Registered User Yellowmandolin's Avatar
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    Tracy, yeah, I'll have to make another trip down when he finishes the next batch... It should be cool to compare his two specific Loar copies.
    Play, play, play!

    Jacob Hawkins

  20. #20
    Registered User Phil Jolly's Avatar
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    Well, it's here. I won't try to give much of a review right away, maybe after I've had a few weeks to get to know her. Looks great, sounds very good right out of the box. I expect the sound to improve significantly in just a day or so since it's had the bridge off and been under no tension now for a week or so. That's great that you all got to play my mandolin, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Johnny Staats huh, pretty cool...
    Phil

  21. #21
    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
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    I'm guessing a Jaybird, as in Reischman's Loar? Now that would be something.
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
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  22. #22
    Registered User Yellowmandolin's Avatar
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    Yep Don!
    Play, play, play!

    Jacob Hawkins

  23. #23
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Well I took the plunge and will have one of Don's Vintage A5 models here in a few weeks. I'm just a little excited!!

  24. #24
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (sgarrity @ Oct. 18 2007, 16:17)
    Well I took the plunge and will have one of Don's Vintage A5 models here in a few weeks. #I'm just a little excited!!
    This I have to play (and see in person)! I'm expecting something grand (and something that would tempt me real bad).

    You must post/email when you're bringing it to Richmond.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '25 A, '30 L-1, '84 1N, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5

  25. #25
    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    I just finished interviewing Don for the luthier profile in the Winter 08 issue of Mandolin Magazine. He's taking a batch of his "Crusher" replica mandolins to Grisman this weekend for his personal evaluation. The next project will be a Reischman Loar replica.

    Don is an amazing luthier who uses some methods I've never heard anyone else describe. He still works fulltime at Stew-Mac and only builds on evenings and weekends, so his production has been limited. But there's absolutely no doubt he's up there with Nugget, Gilchrist, Heiden, Dudenbostel, etc. as one of the premier mandolin luthiers of our era.

    Dave McCarty
    David McCarty
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    Mandolin Magazine/Flatpicking Guitar Magazine/Acoustic Guitar/Fretboard Journal

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