View Full Version : Laura Radcliff A5

Brian Ray
Jun-07-2004, 1:15am
I've been looking for an A for a while and had the chance to play a Laura Radcliff a while back... I was sold from the first strum and have been looking for one ever since. Long story short, Laura makes a mighty fine mando...

This is #21 made in late 2003. It's 1 1/4" at the nut (yeesh...) and has a 7 1/4" radiused board (double yeesh!). It also sports "S" holes rather than the classic "F" holes and fat frets.

I wanted an A that had some spank to it and that "newer" sound (read: not classic Gibson). It's got that papery high end that kinda tickles your ears and man can this thing spank! That and it plays like butter... Great mando!

But don't take my word for it... watch and listen and you be the judge...
In QuickTime 6 (http://dasspunk.com/media/radcliff_a5.mov) or RealOne (http://dasspunk.com/media/radcliff_a5.rm).

Jim Garber
Jun-07-2004, 7:15am
Did all her mandolins have that wide neck? Did you request it? It almost looks from your video that the fretboard hardly tapers at all.


Brian Ray
Jun-07-2004, 8:04am

I asked Ken and Laura the same thing... Luara typically goes just a bit wider than 1 1/8th", Ken goes 1 3/16. So this one is kinda a freak.

The neck doesn't taper much!

Jim Garber
Jun-07-2004, 8:15am
Did you have to adjust your playing technique to the wider board?


Jun-07-2004, 8:35am
I have Laura's #0018. It is great in the keys of G, C, and D, key of A is OK but once you get beyond the 7th fret it seems to die. The B chord is just not there as it should be. Have you noticed anything like this? Also, how is the fit and finish? #0018 is not exactly what I would expect from the Ratcliff shop. I do have to give Laura credit though, I don't know if I've ever found a mandolin with such an open sound or such tone and volume when chorded down the board.

Brian Ray
Jun-07-2004, 8:57am
It's taken a bit of getting used to but not all that much. Just take a little more stretch with the left hand. Up the neck feels just the same. My F5 is 1 1/6th (@ 1 3/16ths) at the nut and has a 12" radius. I think if I were to have one built, I'd go with 1 3/16ths with a 9 or 10" radius. It's just so fun to play though...

She plays even all the way up the neck. B is no problem. The fit and finish are very good overall. There are a few things here and there so it's not perfect. My only real complaint was the nut (not sure if was original or not). I had to cut a new one for her...

Jun-07-2004, 9:42am
I like your website- now I know a way to fish that I ain't ever gonna do....yow.
good pickin' too.

Brian Ray
Jun-07-2004, 11:29am
Yeah, I'm with you. I'll keep my "noodling" to the mando...

Jun-08-2004, 1:05pm
nice website and pickin!

Brian Ray
Jun-08-2004, 2:02pm

Jun-08-2004, 4:48pm
Real nice picking. One year?! Looks like you're real comfortable with your right hand already, I've got you by 6 months, and I'm not there yet, still want to play it like a guitar......

BTW, my wife heard me playing your vid and came in to ask if that was "circle", she liked it a lot.

Brian Ray
Jun-08-2004, 6:47pm

Thanks Neal and thanks to all again for the generous compliments...

I've always been more into a F-styles for, if nothing else, the fact that they sit well but this A is really got me appreciating#the A-style. The next F vs. A thread is going to be a challange for me. Were will my loyalties lie?

Jun-14-2004, 8:07am
Hola daspunk, this is Laura, thank you for the kind words about my mandolin. It's a great video and you are a wonderful picker.

Jun-15-2004, 10:40am
I've got Laura's #17 and really like the tone. It retains the excellent tone evenly way up the neck. The finish is a wonderful color too. Nice work, Laura!!

Brian Ray
Jun-15-2004, 7:47pm
Hi Laura,

Thank you for your kind words and for building such a great mando. I really can't say enough about them. Keep up the good work and keep in touch...

Jun-17-2004, 2:03pm
Say Dasspunk,
You wouldn't happen to have the tab ,or a link to the tab to that arrangement of the circle would you?

Brian Ray
Jun-17-2004, 3:31pm

Well, no... no tab to speek of. I was just fooling around with it...

Jun-17-2004, 6:12pm
That's a cool little video. Real nice vamp after the melody too.

Did you do that with the video mode on a digital camera?

Brian Ray
Jun-17-2004, 6:58pm

I'm not sure what you mean. I recorded it on a Canon ZR10 using an external Oktava 012 mic. Post was done on my Mac in iMovie. Is that what you meant?

Jun-21-2004, 10:16pm
Finally got home and was able to check out your video. One, you have such a nice easy manner of playing. Only a year? Surely you have other stringed instrument experience.

Two: it was great hearing #6's younger sister. It sounds very similar to me. You have any still photos of it?

(Great work Laura, keep that woody tone going!)