View Full Version : My new ratcliff a

Apr-03-2008, 11:16am
You folks here have been a lot of help to me with good advice and information. I wanted to share the news of my good fortune. Laura and Ken Ratcliff have made for me an A style mandolin. Laura started it, and Ken finished it after Laura went on a long family visit. The Ratcliffs are as nice to deal with as you could possibly hope. Ken is making sure no final tweaks are necessary. He says it's gonna be a good one. I have no doubts about that. I'll let y'all know more about it when it gets here sometime the first of next week.

I've never posted any pictures before, here or anywhere else. Hope this works. Here goes....

Apr-03-2008, 11:18am
Not sure why that shot was first, but at least I got one done. Here's another.

Apr-03-2008, 11:20am
And the back.

Apr-03-2008, 11:21am
And the headstock.

steve V. johnson
Apr-03-2008, 11:37am

That's a beauty. Those two do such nice, nice work!!

Many thanks,


Apr-03-2008, 11:45am
Thanks! I'm so excited, I just about can't stand it.

Skip Kelley
Apr-03-2008, 12:02pm
Pickl, That mandolin looks awesome! Ken is one great guy. I don't know how he can build so many great mandolins so fast!

Apr-03-2008, 12:14pm
Congats -- I really like the finish and wood grains in that one. How does it sound?

Apr-03-2008, 2:00pm
Thanks bg! Only Ken has played it, and he said it was a good one in the white, and that it was a good one the first time he strung it up after the finish was done, and he reported today that it was "getting better every day." I love weekends, but I can't wait for this one to pass, because it should be coming home to me the first of the week, God willin' and the creeks don't rise.

I can hardly think of anything else but this mandolin right now.

Mark Walker
Apr-03-2008, 3:45pm
Congrats on the Laura Ratcliff A. You're gonna love that mandolin. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Apr-03-2008, 4:56pm
Congrats, its a real beauty!

Apr-04-2008, 12:58pm
Hmmmm...Laura started it, Ken finished it...would that be considered a Ratcliff double-whammy?! Seems to me you're getting something unique from two who know their craft...it's bound to sound good!

Apr-04-2008, 2:42pm
A Ratcliff-"Double-Whammy"? That has an excellent vibe. I'm goin' with it.

Apr-08-2008, 7:34am
It's gonna be here tomorrow!!
I have now entered the "waiting for delivery" rip in the time/space continuum. See you in a few weeks.

Apr-10-2008, 8:36am
I took her home, and I played for hours. When I wasn't playing, I was looking. It's not as red as it appears in the pictures, more like a chocolate wine. Very elegant.

I've never played any instrument this new. It was fascinating to hear and feel it changing. At first, it seemed to change every 15 minutes or so. It was as if each string was deciding how it was going to sound. After they all settled in, none stood out as being too loud or soft, and I think they are going to cooperate harmoniously.

It was obvious from the outset that there would be plenty of volume and an aggressive low end. In about the third hour, it became clear as well that my mandolin can also play sweet and pretty. From the third hour on, any and all reservations were completely gone. Great lead line sound and great chop. It sounded better than I had hoped. (And you might have picked up that I was hoping for quite a bit.) What an amazing experience. It was as if it were becoming a musical instrument as I was playing.

I am completely happy with the mandolin. It is very easy to play. The shape of the neck is perfect for me. It's easy to fret, high and low. It feels great in my hands.

My Silverangel will be played for an audience in less than two weeks. I'm going to feel so confident with it. I'm going to Kaufman's mandolin camp in June--looking forward to showing it off.

I have enjoyed all aspects of my dealings with Laura and Ken Ratcliff. My sincere thanks to them both.

Apr-10-2008, 8:51am

Apr-10-2008, 12:51pm
Super -- welcome to the SA club.

Mark Walker
Apr-11-2008, 12:02pm

Glad you're loving your Angel. Enjoy, and welcome to the fraternity! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Dan Voight
Apr-11-2008, 1:10pm
Cool peghead!

Apr-28-2008, 11:33am
I am so well-pleased with this mandolin. My Ratcliff A and I made our debut with the new band on Saturday. I was adequate, the Silverangel was stellar. Lots of compliments from other pickers on the good tone, the "pop" of the chop, and how pretty it is. I look forward every evening to practice time. Again, thanks to Laura and Ken. They know what they're doin'.

Apr-28-2008, 11:41am
Congrats. That's a great feeling isn't it. Good looking too.


Carleton Page
Apr-28-2008, 11:43am
I have only heard a silverangel in a clip on mandodan's site. It had a really nice deep, old tone. Would you de4scribe yours as having that type of sound?

Apr-28-2008, 12:54pm
Deep is indeed an accurate word, Ctone. "Old"--I'm not sure, as I've played hardly any older mandolins. If it was a singer, I'd say my A could be described as a throaty baritone. If "dark" is the correct description of a mando that does not sound like instruments I've heard described as "bright," then I would call it dark as well.

ClosetMandolinPlayer has shared some clips with me of his Silverangel F and another person's A, and I think mine sounds a lot like those clips. I played a couple Ratcliff's before I ordered the A. I was delighted to hear the same qualities in mine that I found so appealing in the ones that prompted me to go with the Ratcliff. If you strum and let it ring, it has lots of sustain. But if you chop, you can feel the air "pop" out of the f holes with a wonderful percussive quality. I really like it. Can you tell?

Thanks Jamie--it's a great feeling.

Carleton Page
Apr-28-2008, 9:29pm
Thank you for the description. How long was the wait? I hope you don't mind me asking.

Apr-29-2008, 7:18am
Don't mind a bit. #I got the initial deposit check to them by 2/28, and I had the mandolin in my hands on 4/10. #I wouldn't presume though that they can consistently produce them that fast. #I had asked for a quick turnaround, because I really needed to have it. #Plus, there was no scroll to deal with. #I'll say again that I was pleased with the whole deal. #While practicing yesterday, after having tried to describe the sound here, I was smiling because, although I couldn't think of better words to use, I surely was happy #with the sounds it was making for me. #On a side note, I was afraid to use the word "woody." #Mine has the old western cedar top, and smells so good that I can't tell whether it sounds woody or it's the great smell that keeps bringing that word to mind.

Apr-29-2008, 8:27pm
Here is a thread with links to sound clips of a few of the Ratcliff's mandolins. (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=13;t=52528) Mine was recorded on a cheap computer mic and the fidelity isn't so great.

Glad you are so pleased pickloser!