View Full Version : Silverangel "distressed" F5

May-17-2004, 8:49pm
Here is another distressed F5 of mine. David Harvey has it.

May-17-2004, 8:52pm
another view.....

May-17-2004, 8:53pm

May-17-2004, 8:55pm
yet another.........

May-17-2004, 8:56pm

May-17-2004, 10:55pm
Very nice Ken!

(Also, pass word on to Laura that #6 has just taken a tremendous leap forward in its tone, on its second birthday! I just love listening to it.)

May-17-2004, 11:47pm
Excellent headstock inlay Ken. I love the script.

Scotti Adams
May-18-2004, 6:19am
..Im likin it...alot

May-18-2004, 7:00am
I was over at Ken's last week and played this mandolin when it was first strung up. WOW! Awesome tone and volume. I love the look also. Ken does a fantastic job with antiquing the distressed models. The combination of their proprietary oil varnish and the distressing make these mandolins look 80 years old. The playability is wonderful as well. Nice radiused fretboard with a good sized fret makes them play like a dream. Folks, Ken's Silverangel mandolins are the real deal.

Ken, I also want to thank you and your family for the hospitality you showed me last week. I really enjoyed my visit, and the highlight of my day there was getting to talk with and play a couple songs with your father; what a treasure he is.

Jim Watts

May-18-2004, 9:14am
jasona..: you LUCKY dog...!! - (seriously.., you deserve THAT mando - I know it's got a good home). http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Kevin K
May-18-2004, 10:10am
What's Harvey doing to it?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

May-18-2004, 10:25am
Sorry..., I should have "qualified" my post above. jasona has/bought a Laura Ratcliff-made "A" that I originally owned. I sold it 'cause I never got time to play it as it should be played!!## - It now has a good home! - and it don't get a chance to "sleep".... Ratcliff mandos.. Great machines and good people to deal with(NO financial interest here ; just a well-deserved compliment). Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

John Zimm
May-18-2004, 10:32am
Wow, that is really beautiful. I could look at those pictures all day. Great work.


May-18-2004, 1:47pm
JimW, how would you compare the tone and volume of the Silverangel to the Bush you recently sold?

Scotti Adams
May-18-2004, 4:34pm
What's Harvey doing to it?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif
..yea...I figured that would be frowned upon seeing how he works for Gibson http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif ......Hey Ken..I will endorse one for you... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

May-18-2004, 8:13pm
David sold quite a few of my mandolins when he worked at the Violin Shop there in Nashville, I think this is a former customer from those days.

May-18-2004, 8:19pm
David Harvey sold quite a few of my mandolins when he worked at the Violin Shop there in Nashville, I guess this is a former customer left over from those days.....

May-18-2004, 9:53pm
dj9124, that's a really hard question and very subjective without having them both there and set up exactly the same. But, since you ask, I'll do my best to give you my opinion. First, the playability; there wasn't a lot of difference, as they both have a radiused finger board and both have oversized frets. Secondly, I'll address the tone. Well, first, let me preface this topic by saying the Gibson Sam Bush I had was the best sounding mandolin that I've had the opportunity to hear or play. The Silverangel had deep, resonant and woody G and D strings and powerful, bright, bell like A and E strings. I prefer bluegrass, and comparing the tone between the two I find the Silverangle not quite as "dry" sounding as the Gibson. But remember, the Silverangel had just been strung up, and I could really tell it was loosening up as we played it. Also, I used Sam Bush signature strings on the Gibson Bush, and I think Ken strung this one up with J74's. Both mandolins had great projection and volume. I think probably the Silverangel was maybe a bit harsher sounding than the Gibson, but again, this mandolin wasn't played in at all.

So, in conclusion, I would say this Silverangel will open up nicely and just get better as it's played. It has a thin varnish, and I believe Ken told me this one had 8 coats, and brought back down almost to the wood after drying between each coat. Ken also uses a proprietary oil varnish; his brother makes it and I believe they have customers all over the world, so it's a good recipe. I also think Ken's craftsmanship has improved many times over since the first ones he made. He told me he concentrated on getting the tone at first, and after he achieved that goal, he concentrated on the workmanship of his mandolins. The craftsmanship on this particular mandolin was very good in my opinion. The distressing Ken does is astonishing. It's a true work of art and really needs to be seen and held in person to really appreciate the quality.

I'm in the market for a varnished mandolin, and I'm visiting a few more small luthiers before I make my final decision, but I can tell you, Ken's Silverangel Classic Distressed is at the top of my list right now. Not only are his mandolins amazing, but you just have to visit Ken and his family in person. The geographical region is Appalachia in its finest form. The scenery from his workshop and back porch is worth the drive there. I can just imagine sitting on his back porch in an old chair that has hickory bark woven as the seat cushion and backing, jamming with some friends and enjoying the view. Simply Breathtaking!

Jim Watts

May-18-2004, 11:32pm
Thanks for the fine response Jim!

May-19-2004, 12:04am
The Silverangel had deep, resonant and woody G and D strings and powerful, bright, bell like A and E strings. I prefer bluegrass, and comparing the tone between the two I find the Silverangle not quite as "dry" sounding as the Gibson...I think probably the Silverangel was maybe a bit harsher sounding than the Gibson, but again, this mandolin wasn't played in at all.
If I can add a bit here...even though I play a Ratcliff A and not a Silverangel Distressed, I will assume a general consonance between them in tone (since Laura is learning from Ken). The "dry" tone will come in time. The comment I made above about a large leap in tone was about just this change--towards a dry tone and a more responsive top. One might call it "looser". Certainly I would call it "louder". However, my mandolin does not have bell like A and E strings--I would call them "fuzzy" (or better, "soaring")because they have strong overtones (especially the E string). Perhaps this also lends itself to the "harsh" tone statement. Regardless, this gives my mandolin to have a supurb chord voice because the strings really blend well. BUT, my mandolin is lacquer and not varnish, which might contribute to this difference in descriptions.

I will say that at the current prices these mandolins are an outstanding value--and Ken is not paying me to say this.

May-19-2004, 9:09am
I hope no one thinks the review I posted above is reflecting negatively on Silverangel Mandolins, because that is definitely not the case. It's so hard to express your feelings and descriptions in written words. My comments about the tone, remember, Dave asked me to compare it to the Gibson Sam Bush I had and I thought the Gibson Bush was the best sounding mandolin I had ever heard. The comments about the Silverangel not being quite as "dry" sounding and maybe a bit more "harsh" or "brittle" sounding can be expected. This mandolin was just strung up. I'd almost guarantee you this Silverangel mandolin will be a force to be reckoned with after a few months of playing time. It was already very nice right out of the box and can only get better. As I said earlier, I thought they were very nice, and more than likely Ken will be getting my deposit for a new Silverangel Classic Distressed model soon. I just want to satisfy my curiosity by visiting a few more luthiers before I finalize my decision.

Jim Watts

May-19-2004, 10:04am
Sorry if you thought I was taking exception to your description Jim. I meant my comments to compliment it really, and point out some interesting differences re: varnish vs. lacquer. I completely agree that describing sound is difficult--I was simply trying to add my take on the "harsh" description, which IMO is accurate, but not a negative. Words fail sometimes. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

May-20-2004, 8:19am
jasona, I never thought that at all. When I re-read my post, I thought someone might get the wrong idea. I think I need to improve on my writing skills. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif


Ken Berner
May-20-2004, 9:10am
Darn, Ken, I'm disrtessed that I don't have it! Gorgeous piece of work that would look mighty fine down on the Alabama Gulf Coast!

May-25-2004, 4:58pm
You know, as this top continues opening up (what a delightful experience!) the E and A strings are becoming quite a bit more crystlline. This is what a mandolin is supposed to sound like! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Baron Collins-Hill
Jul-24-2004, 12:04am
wow, thats one nice mando. i love the back's flame, and the neck is amazing, nice work