View Full Version : Rigel A+

Apr-09-2004, 8:10am
I've never played a Rigel A+. Are they worth checking out? Any opinions? My last mandolin was a Weber Absaroka, any comparisons?

John Flynn
Apr-09-2004, 8:27am
I have had an A+ Deluxe for a year and a half as my main mando. Just so you know where I am coming from, I have been playing fretted instruments for over 30 years, mandolin for about 12 and I play in two active, performing music groups. I consider myself an enthusiastic intermediate player.

I love my A+! It has a great playability, due the the unique neck/fingerboard configuration. It is very loud, able to cut through in even a big jam. Fit and finish were perfect from the factory. It is very sturdily built, so I don't feel the need to handle it with "kid gloves."

The tone is what I would call a great "general" tone that fits in a variety of musical genres. It sounds very pleasing, warm and has good "punch." It is not, however, a pure, classic bluegrass or old-time tone. If I only played bluegrass I have to say I might make a different choice, but I play in a lot of different genres and the A+ does a credible job in all of them.

Apr-09-2004, 8:27am
I just came into a Rigel A+ Deluxe... #In a word, awesome. #I was really undecided between getting an F hole A model or an oval sound hole model... #I was looking at all the usual suspects, and was even thinking about having Rigel build one... #The A+'s versatility (and physical beauty) convinced me that this F hole A style was the way to go.#

This Rigel is kind of like in between an oval hole and the Gibson A-9 I used to own. #The Gibson is a loud, powerful, woody mando with a great bark, while the Rigel is much more sweet, lively, sparkly and versatile. #It doesn't have the chop power of the A-9, so if you are primarily looking for bluegrass rhythm-type mandolin, you might want to look for another one. #Not that the Rigel can't be used for BG-- it projects very well. Its just that it is voiced for versatility and won't have the woody bark of some other

I've never played an Absaroka, so I can't help you there.

I'm very happy with my Rigel A+!

Apr-09-2004, 9:28am
IMHO....I think the absaroka is a better bluegrass mandolin if that is what you are looking for. Living in Vt., I have had the chance to play many rigels and after spending many months comparing mandos I went with the absaroka. I will agree with most that the fit and finish on the rigels is excellent. My only concern was that it was a little sparkely for my liking and didn't have enough bark. Last weekend i played at an open jam with some rigel mandos present including rigels new two point mando. It seemed to me and others at the jam that the rigels just didn't have that punch that a flatiron, my absaroka and a weber yellowstone had. I guess what it comes down to is what are you looking for? I am sure rigels are well suited for other application like playing amplified.

I have also been told that with rigels the sound is great right out of the box but will not open up over time as a traditional style mando will. All said and done these are just my opinions and my preferences and what I have heard form other players. Also I must say that I have recieved some of the best service from bruce and company and feel that is worth alot in my book. Again just my opinions here and no bad feelings toward Rigel. I am sure that they provide great customer service and a quality product. Seems like most people are happy.

Apr-09-2004, 10:38am
I have a A+ Standard for sell if you're interested. Great mando for a little less than the Deluxe, but better than the Natural. It has the tone gard and everything.

Apr-09-2004, 12:59pm
My last mando was an A+. To me, "smaller" sounding than others, including the Weber I have now. But that Rigel fingerboard! By far my favorite. And soundwise, It just seems to me that maybe Rigels take a long time to open up. I picked up an older G110 several months ago. It had the old external bolt-on back plate (like a Fender). Holy smoke, it played and sounded great - I came very close to taking it home.

Apr-09-2004, 1:27pm
I had a Rigel that was far and away the loudest, most projective mando I've ever had or played at least in a jam context.

Did not have the woody choppiness of say a Gibson, but was more than adequate in any bluegrass situation, resonatin' b@njos and all.

Seems to indicate to me that there may be some variance in teh volume/projection of these A+'s.

My problem with it and why I sold was the pronounced radius gave me hand cramps...I just could not play the thing without some pretty distracting pain kicking in after about a half-hour...I played a friends plane-jane Kentucky with a flat board and it felt like heaven, then and there my preference for flatboards was defined.

Gte out and try a radiused board to see if it is comfortable or uncomfortable for you.

Also, like others have said, this may not be the mando for you if you are exclusively into bluegrass, but they have a versatile sound that will work for just about anything including BG.

Apr-09-2004, 3:11pm
I just bought a A+ Deluxe w/custom inlay that sounds tremendous. I've played all the cheapies and nothing compares to a Rigel. For the money (>$2k), you get a lot.

If you can afford a Rigel, there is nothing better.

Apr-10-2004, 2:38pm
Thanks for the info folks, I'll have to check one out.
I play a variety of styles so it sounds like this mandolin is a good choice.

Apr-10-2004, 5:42pm
don't own one, but played two different of these. playability- among the best i've tried. tone- quite nice, but the ones i've played don't offer much in the way of volume as compared to like priced instruments. as others have raved about projection i agree with doanepoole- they must be pretty variable.