View Full Version : NAMM 2006 Pictures

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:41am
You know me, gotta start with Rigel!

Rigel Prototype
Well I got to play this, and though my recommendations for what to name this are being ignored, I’m still excited about this. There’s the obvious cosmetic departure with the "swoosh" at the corner (thanks Jimmy Gadreau), this prototype had an X-bracing that gives it more immediate crunch and projection. A flatter matte finish is another twist. Priced at the same point (no pun intended) as the Q-95, this will be a wonderful addition to any player’s arsenal, whether a current Rigel owner, or F-5 fan. I should say, this is also enough different than both the A+ Deluxe and Gypsy "Q" that owners of these have no excuse to not have one of these, too, once they are in full production.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:43am
More fun; these two sold right away, a "Burst" CT-110, and a Pumpkin top Q-95.

Jan-23-2006, 9:43am
*detects a coming avalanche of images and hurries to get hit in full*

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:44am
Paula Jean was even here at the Sound to Earth booth (temporarily yanked out of retirement), and it’s always great to see her and Bruce. Such an assortment of wonderful instruments! Nice to see Bruce’s attention diverted back from carved guitars to guitar-body octave mandolins. And who can help from falling in love with the regular line of Yellowstone, Big Sky, Big Horn, Absarka, etc.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:45am
What can I say. Collings is taking the mandolin market seriously. They are a force to be reckoned with, and are positioning themselves well as a proven industry leader in professional mandolins.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:45am
Very much wanting to be a player, I’d say the F and A model had been improved upon in the last year, but a trade show floor is a horrible environment to give any sort of opinion on the way these sound, and I’d disregard any critiques made at NAMM because of this. I played them, but I won’t offer any feedback, other than to say I’m glad to see they stained the inside of the F holes this time.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:46am
Garrison Mandolin/Octave
Chatted with Chris Garrison about these. Seems with a 12 month backorder, it’s hard for them to even consider huge promotion of the new mandolin and octave mandolin line. However, their staff is very excited about these and enjoy making them. They even have Mandolas and Zouks on the drawing board, but it may be a while.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:47am
Paris Swing
Saw these as prototypes in the Indianapolis Summer NAMM, and now they are about a month away from full availability. Talked to designer Greg Rich and their sales staff and as you see, there are 3 different options with the F-hole, Petite Bouche, and large mouth “D” hole. These will be a fun auxiliary instrument; at $799 list price, don’t expect a professional line product, though I think every amateur and pro ought to have one. These will be a lovely novelty ax.

Jan-23-2006, 9:47am
Those are tiny fretboard inlays on the Larrivee

Jan-23-2006, 9:48am
Now if Rigel would please introduce the Dollar down, dollar a week, payment program I will sign up for one of each.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:48am
This one's for you, Darrel!...
Paris Swing “John Jorgenson”
Still in the design finishing touch stage, the new John Jorgenson signature mandolin from Music Link (Paris Swing) is close to being ready. Very similar to the other Paris Swing mandos, this will feature some of John’s cosmetic requests, including black finish, white binding, and a clear pickguard.
Holding this is designer, Greg Rich.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:50am
Gibson “Gold Rush” F5
Of course the Gibson booth was conspicuously “inconspicuous.” Way the heck up on the top floor in the convention center. Understand, as NAMM is a trade show for dealers and vendors to do commerce, they’ve taken the approach that an uncluttered booth means more opportunity to talk and see products without tripping over artist and/or adoring fans. As a dealer, I’ll confess that works better for me, but I understand the animosity from those who want to get past the “gatekeepers.”

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:51am
I enjoyed talking with Tom Montgomery and this terrific new “Gold Rush” mandolin. A different internal bracing, smaller F-holes, and an attempt to make a more rounded “sweet” instrument thrilled me. Personal opinion alert: this really tripped my trigger, and I’m excited to see the new guard at Gibson tackle something besides another tobacco-burst "also-ran" F5. I’m hoping Tom will be able to send me one of these to review on JazzMando.com. Candidly, I never thought I’d want to own a Gibson again until now.

This one totally blew me away!

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:52am
The back...
Dripping with Honey!

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:53am
Gibson in Distress

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:54am
A full complement of finishes and models, including A, F, and 2-pt. In addition to some of the world’s most highly acclaimed arch top guitars, they also introduced a new line of flat-top guitars.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:55am
Washburn M120
Cool herringbone inlay/binding.

Jan-23-2006, 9:55am
Ted, Great pictures. Thank you for posting them with us.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:56am
The NAMM show is an international event, and it’s not uncommon to see some unique instruments and not be able to ask any questions about it, simply because the exhibitors can’t speak English. This was one I thought intriguing. No idea of who, as the booth was not signed.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:57am
"Flying V" Ukuleles
I know these aren’t mandos, but I know there’s a contingent of uke aficionados here. I couldn’t pass up posting these pictures of the “Flying V” Ukuleles.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:58am
Long Hollow Straps
My favorite strap, so I had to take a picture of the crew at the Long Hollow Strap booth. Love those Big Softy straps!

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 9:59am
I would say this is the biggest NAMM news in my estimation. Alvarez is tackling the mid level market in a major way with their Antique F-5, blonde, and a cool no-binding look natural finish A model. These played well, and will be a terrific first step up from any beginner Pac Rim mandolin. Streeting in the $800 to $1100 range, look for a truly professional road-worthy ax They also have a cool natural finish electric (hollow) A model that ought to be a plug ‘n play dynamo.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 10:00am
Natural A Alvarez
Cool "no-bind" look, and an electric hole-less version is also available (sorry no picture). An Oval is in the works, too.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 10:01am
Alvarez mandolins: watch ‘em, and remember you heard it from me. Product Manager Ray Meisenzahl’s new line-up will be a serious contender in the mid-level market. Established in the guitar market as a major seller, they are now paying attention to us and addressing our needs.

Jan-23-2006, 10:06am
Ted I wish you had more info on the UNKNOWN mandos. #I really like the violin touches on the scroll and purfling (Campanelle-esque). #Those flying Vs look fun too (They're pretty inexpensive if I remember). #Great photos. #Thanks.

edit to correct Ted's name from Test (how embarrassing!)

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 10:06am
Back of Alvarez "Antique" F model.

Jan-23-2006, 10:44am
Some beautiful...."machines"!!! - Thanks for posting - I've 'salavated'(!##) on my keyboard!!### - Moose.

Tim Saxton
Jan-23-2006, 11:02am
That "GoldRush" looks like it has some real runout. I like the looks of the Paris Swing with the oval hole. How did they sound? The Large D hole looks like a Large Mouth Bass.

Got Bait?

Jan-23-2006, 11:56am
I love those two point Eastmans and the cool inlays... really jazzy. #I bet they sound fine too, but alas, I am exactly perfectly satisfied with my one and only mandolin from Ithaca Strings. #

My New's Year's resolution was to spend less time pining after mandolins and more time playing mandolins. These NAMM pictures represent the first test...

Imagine, my New's Year's resolution last year was to drink less Scotch, until one of my Scottish parishioners bought me a bottle in February that had been aged for 20+ years and I drank it in a month. Not to mention a second bottle for Christmas that never even made it to New Years. Well, two bottles in a year ain't bad. #After-all some of you here go through more mandolins in a year http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Anyway, it can be rough being a Presbyterian minister in a celtic community, between the Irish pubs and my Scottish parishioners...

Now, if Gibson wants to be gracious enough to send a Gold Rush to a nice minister in Buffalo, I will put it to good use.

Anyway, I am getting far from the mandolin field. #In any case, I think I am really MAS free for the first time.



Tom C
Jan-23-2006, 12:00pm
That "GoldRush" looks like it has some real runout.

i was going to same the same.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 12:23pm
Not real sure what "runout" means, but if you're refering to a color wash out or fade, be forgiving with my digital camera, and lack of photography prowess. Light in the room wasn't all the greatest; most of the halogens were pointed at the metal-head electric guitars in the Gibson booth...

In person, the Gold Rush has a very cool understated look to it. Even if a bright, color-filled hue was a personal requirement, it's the sound and playability that knocked me out. I'm sorry the picture does not do the instrument justice.

Jan-23-2006, 12:51pm
QUOTE: Not real sure what "runout" means

Check here (http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/General/Glossary/Runout/runout.html)

Jan-23-2006, 12:54pm
#Thanks for the update. #I missed the alvarez booth, dang. #sounds like it would have been worth the stop.

i also saw that 'unnamed' booth with the violinstyle top/back and sides. #they also had a line of guitars done in the same style. #

i also saw the paris swing mandos, but they weren't my cup of tea. #But the DelArte guitars at the same booth were really nice. #That's all they played at the Grisman/Gypsy Jazz show the night before in Hollywood.

What a treat to be able to compare that line up of Collings! #

i have one of those flying V ukes (from Praiseland). #got it several months ago for $129 and it sounds pretty good. #

when i was at the Rigel booth, i began to pick the swoosh prototype with my rhino ultex, Ted was standing next to me and said , here try this, and pulled a Jazzmando Proplec pick from his pocket. #and yes indeedy the proplec is very nice. #I will be ordering a supply. #Thanks for the pick, Ted!

Jan-23-2006, 1:21pm
Just as an FYI those Flying V-body's are available at Elderly and elsewhere for a bit less than the above post (~$50-$60). No financial interest but a decent sounding uke that looks cool might be fun for under a hundred. Please delete this as appropriate...


If anyone has info on the UNKOWN mandos please add it here...


Jim M.
Jan-23-2006, 2:11pm
Thanks for the great pics, Ted!

Did you get any of Michael Lewis' instruments you can post too?

Jan-23-2006, 3:07pm
Thanks Ted, great pictures indeed.

Regarding the Garrisons, I guess I understand- if they have more demand than capacity why advertise...but inquiring minds want to know- do the mandos have the "glass" 1 piece bracing like the guitars?
general price range?
Go Garrison!- I am rooting for them big time as I would love to see them have success manufacturing in Newfoundland. Good for them I say.

It's nice to see a different Gibson, different guy holding it. May their future be bright.

The violin style mandos are fascinating to many I think- good idea. I hope it develops well with great tone to go with the look.

Rigel- I may not be the #1 fan, but I am up there. I can't say as the new one does much for me based on the pix, and the "point" , but different bracing and sound may change my mind.

Eastman- sad to say they are overhyped to me at this point. I have yet to play one, or see one, and I am sick of the hype. Too bad for me that I'll be prejudiced when I finally encounter one. Then again, I don't "need" another mandolin right now, so maybe the hype will die down before I look around again.

Collings- I guess that indicates the mandolin market is showing high demand and potential profits. Good for all of us that a fine builder like Collings wants to put many mandos on the market.

Did Harley Davidson show any mandolins?


Jan-23-2006, 3:48pm
Nice looking Gibson. Looks like they've been paying attention to what people are drooling over here at the Cafe. Thanks for the pics.

Jan-23-2006, 3:53pm
Thanks for the photo tour 'Hack. Next best thing for those of us who couldn't make it.

Jan-23-2006, 4:31pm
i took a peek inside those Garrisons for exactly that reason.... wooden kerfing all around. on the mandolin and its big brother.

Jan-23-2006, 5:01pm
Too bad on the Garrisons- I wonder why they didn't go with their innovative design?
Good luck to them at any rate. I hope they can distinguish themselves with a fine flat top mando.

Tom Gibson
Jan-23-2006, 5:35pm
Great pictures! Quite a bit to feed anyone's MAS.

Does anyone have any idea about the Larrivees? I have one of their guitars and rate it highly, so I'm hopeful they've made a good product here as well.

Jan-23-2006, 6:16pm
...it's almost as if we were there!

Thanks Ted!

Jan-23-2006, 6:19pm
i have a few more pics posted on
this thread (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=12;t=31256)

Dale Ludewig
Jan-23-2006, 6:54pm
Ted, what did that Paris Swing mando sound like? My my, that's a large sound hole. But then it looks like the pickguard covers up 1/3 of it, at least. It must be X-braced, big time. I trying to imagine if it's loud- I would expect so, but what would the tone be like? Imagining, I assume it's loud, cutting, not a very complex tone in what I would consider a traditional sense- perhaps perfect for gypsy. A lot of cut; not a lot of "chop"? Of course, much of that is determined by the player. On the other hand, the d-hole gypsy geets were designed for rhythm, not? Just very curious. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

uncle ken
Jan-23-2006, 7:22pm
I tried most of these except the Gibson, which was by appointment only this year, I suppose to keep out the rifraf like me. The Eastman's were all way out of tune, same as last year, so they weren't playable. The Rigel stuff sounded great and everthing was tuned up and ready to play, so were the Collings' which were close by. The best sounding mandolin to my ear was the Lewis at the Luthier's booth.

Jan-23-2006, 8:26pm
Ted, thanks for a great report. Lots of nice instruments.

If I may, the Alvarez's scrolls look amateurish at best. I won't be buying one for sure.

Jan-23-2006, 9:07pm
I was thinking the same thing Joe but I didn't want to say anything.

Ted Eschliman
Jan-23-2006, 10:01pm
Guys, this may very well be, but please put this in perspective: bad lighting, bad photographer, cheap camera, and an instrument that will street under $900... (It's just a picture.)
You players are beyond this level of instrument, but I think and advanced beginner might be very happy with something in this price range. Outside of the Eastmans, there has been a HUGE quality void in the $500 to $1500 price range.

Jan-23-2006, 10:06pm
It's no Hilburn scroll, but there ain't no comma in the price. Not bad.

Loren Bailey
Jan-23-2006, 10:38pm
Ok, someone please tell me what those Paris Swing mandos sound like. Especially the oval hole (not the Le Grande Bass one). What is the story with these? Where are they made? Import, US, what? Someone please say they sound like crud.


Hal Loflin
Jan-23-2006, 10:52pm
Thanks for the field work Ted....Any idea when the Alvarez's will hit the market?

Jan-23-2006, 11:08pm
The Paris Swing mandolins were surprisingly loud and toneful. I played the blonde model with "F" holes for quite a while, and for $700.00 retail, I've never played anything better.

And regarding the Eastmans: it would seem as if setup is everything on them, because none of the display mandos were setup properly, or in tune. I didn't leave NAMM with a very good impression of them. Their archtop guitars and the new flattops are quite impressive, however. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Jan-24-2006, 3:51am
Wow, thanks for the photos, Ted! Just want to know.. Does the Modele JJ come with that shirt the guy's wearing? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Also curious proportions of the soundholes.. Visually, quite an odd mix of styles (and scales). But if they sound good I suppose that's all that matters. Did you try anything particularly "dJazzy" on them? Did they sound more archtop or flattop (Djangolin)?

Also curious about the "unnamed" scroll mandos.. From Asia or Eastern Europe?

Thanks again,


ps All that and no Peter Mix shoe photos? I'm diappointed! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Ted Eschliman
Jan-24-2006, 7:09am
It's really hard to describe how artificial this environment is for "auditioning" instruments. Imagine a hall filled with 80,000 people, about 500 of the loudest street car stereo systems, and 250 lead guitar choruses of Jimmy Hendrix knock-offs, all going simultaneously. Someone hands you an instrument and says, "What do you think of how this sounds?" It's just not fair to register an opinion.

You can make judgements on cosmetics and craftsmanship (not tone!), but then you have to keep price point in mind. Comparing a $799 Paris Swing to a D'Angelico is apples and oranges, and completely different markets.

The "Unnamed" were of East Asian orgin, and Darrel, one of my big disappointments was not having my camera to show off Peter's red boots and my red Lands End "Urban Moccasins" (adorned simultaneously). There was no end to the grief I took from my business partners...

Jan-24-2006, 9:40am
Ted, Just as I thought my MAS was in remission...I hate you!!! Have any more pictures? Where will the Paris Swing Mandos be available? (drool starting to form, tongue hanging out, heart racing...)

Jan-24-2006, 12:40pm
I take it that Gibson did not have any of the new Flatirons at NAMM? Big Joe, any idea when the Flatirons are going to be available?

The photos of the new Alvarez F-style shows a mandolin that is a definite step-up from the current Alvarez F-style mandolins. I have been rather disappointed with the mandolins that Alvarez is currently offering. Nice to see them offering a better quality F-style mandolin.

Jan-24-2006, 3:38pm
Just picking up on the Garrison mandolins and whether or not they have the same type of carbon fibre cross bracing as the guitars, I had a look inside mine, and though it's not the whole one-piece system, the cross bracing is carbon fibre.

I e-mailed Garrison recently to find out more about them and was told that the cross bracing is "injection molded on the top of the instrument. Everything else about it
is manufactured in much the same manner as other instruments on the market."

They said: "The glass fibre bracing makes the instrument more resonant which increases the tone and projection of the instrument."

I hope Garrison won't mind me quoting them! It does make you wonder why they didn't use the same system as the guitars, could it be the size that's the issue? It's a very compact little mandolin.

I've hugely enjoyed seeing all these photos, many thanks for posting them, Ted. I like the look of the Paris Swing models, weird but interesting.


Jan-25-2006, 10:22am
Sorry about the state of the Eastman mandos at the start of the show. I usually leave the instruments overnight at a show before I tune them up and make the necessary adjustments. I was in the process of doing this when I stepped backwards, fell over and broke my right elbow. This meant that I spent the time I usually devote to tweaking mandos was spent in the emergency room getting xrayed, medicated and splinted.Since I was the only person in the Eastman delegation that knows how to do mando setup we started the show with the instruments in almost as bad shape as me. I finally found someone to do the tweaking for me and we got the mandos sounding right but the damage had already been done sadly. We seem to have a NAMM show hex on us, last year Yellow Freight lost our entire booth which necessitated us finding and overnighting our entire line of instruments the day before the show. Please don't group us in with those other pacrim guys who don't bother to even tune the instruments on display. We usually have them in pristine playing condition before anyone gets to see them at a show. Maybe I will just stay home next year and wrap myself in bubble wrap. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
ps. Broken elbows really hurt!

Jan-25-2006, 10:57am
"Really now....!!??### http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Tom C
Jan-25-2006, 11:11am
Oh man, sorry to hear that. Feel better.

AW Meyer
Jan-25-2006, 11:44am
If you click on this link and scroll down, you can see a picture of poor Gordon all splinted up.
NAMM (http://www.12fret.com/new/NAMM_2006_pg.html)

Jan-25-2006, 3:13pm
Dude, #That stinks! I hope you heal up well and soon. #A question, is the block inlay on the neck going to be the new standard on Eastmans mandos? If so (and I kinda hope not) why not include one at fret 3 to help balance the look- maybe even one at 1- starting at 5 looks a little off. #Free Market survey of one. #Have a better end of NAMM than beginning!


Jan-25-2006, 3:49pm
Hey!, Mr.Eh: Great pics!!! - Thanks! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Jan-25-2006, 4:55pm

Sorry to hear about your accident. Hope you heal quickly.


jim simpson
Jan-25-2006, 7:05pm
From everything I hear, you are alway falling over yourself to help others. You didn't have to be so literal!
Heal quickly!!

Jan-25-2006, 8:49pm
Hey!, Mr.Eh: Great pics!!! - Thanks! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
Ya indeed. You see that "distressed" Fender below the slightly less distressed EastmanGordon? Yeow. Spruce's distressed Mandobird was restrained in comparison! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Professor PT
Jan-26-2006, 1:05am
Yeah, what model is that?! The Katrina model? It looks like it sat in tainted water for a month or so!

Jason Kessler
Jan-26-2006, 9:09am
Well, it looks like Eastman is getting on the "distressed" bandwagon, starting with Gordon.

Jan-26-2006, 1:29pm
Just got back from the bone doctor and he tells me that it's not too serious. Apparently I got off pretty easy and should make a full, if not painful, recovery in about a month. I am instructed to stay home an keep my elbow raised above my heart for the next two days. As you can tell from the fact that I'm typing that's not happening right now. I will assume the position as soon as I get through my piles of email. Thanks for all the kind thoughts, with your help combined with that provided by Tylenol with codeine and our good friends at the Old Grouse Distillery in Bonnie Scotland I should manage to make it through this. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
ps. I'm hoping that all you celts out there joined me in toasting the great Robert Burns last night on the occasion of his birthday. We will be holding the official Burns Night Dinner here in the Washington DC area this Saturday where I will attempt to give the traditional rendition of his famous take on "John Barleycorn". It will be the first time that I was ever in more pain than my audience during a performance. The haggis will follow of course(now that's real punishment. I'll take mine with extra sheep stomach please).

Jan-26-2006, 2:20pm
Well, glad to hear it's not too bad. Hope you feel better soon!


Jan-26-2006, 2:30pm
Gordon, I will be delivering the Address to the Ladies tonight at our Burns Supper event. Haggis is better with Drambuie, scotch, mass quantities. Really, once a year its a hoot. I'm not allowed to affect a scottish accent (mine's as awful as John Cleeses French one in Holy Grail). Come to the Philly Area and I'l share some Glenfiddich with you.


Jan-26-2006, 5:39pm
The Burns Supper tradition really is a wonderful thing which I recommend highly to everyone who enjoys unintelligible dialect, stuffed sheep stomachs, screechingly out of tune double reed instruments and men in skirts. A large dose of single malt turns all these things into scottish poetry, haggis, bagpipes and kilts. My mother's family was of scottish descent but my scottish accent sounds like it's as bad as yours. Nevertheless, the words still sound good and the scotch still tastes great!
Och aye the noo....!
ps. See you soon in Philly for that drink Jamie.

Bob Sayers
Jan-26-2006, 10:03pm

Since you live in the D.C. area, do you ever attend (or participate in) the Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria? #It's quite a lot of fun and a brigade of mandoliners to complement all those pipers might be just the ticket!