View Full Version : New Redline "Traveler" Mandolin

Oct-15-2008, 5:55pm
I recently purchased a new Redline "Traveler" mandolin from Steve Smith at Cumberland Acoustics in Tennesse. It is in fact all that I expected it to be, and more!
I met Steve via the Internet a few years back, and have had many conversations with him. He is very knowledgible as a builder, and has helped me alot with my own building questions.
When I saw that he was producing some of the Pancake (old style) mandolins, I just had to have one. Knowing and talking with Steve, I knew that it would be a great instrument. I am very impressed with the construction, and attention to detail that it clearly shows. Very nice overall tone, with plenty of volume, and I am especially pleased with the rich sustain that it gives. Playability is super, and felt very comfortable the first time that I played it. You can see photo's of these Instruments at www.redlinereso.com or contact Steve at www.cumberlandacoustic.com
Keep up the good work Steve!
J.L. Smith Mandolins

Jim MacDaniel
Oct-15-2008, 6:35pm
Those are some nice looking pancakes, and I am happy to read your review.

It's also nice to know that someone finally grabbed the baton from Rigel and dared to build a Seafoam Green mandolin (http://www.redlineresophonics.com/OldSite/traveler/pages/Seafoam_Back.htm).

Steve Perry
Oct-16-2008, 9:03am
Thanks for the review, John. So... what kind of woods did you get? And... how about some pictures of the one you got?

Oct-16-2008, 10:40am
Hello Steve,
I got one one with Australian Lacewood (Back & Sides), Spruce top, Mahogany neck w/Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood overlay on headstock.
Don't have any photo's available at this time.

Oct-16-2008, 12:50pm
Is the fretboard flat or radiused? What would you compare the neck profile to? Tone-wise, what is lacewood similar to?

I'm this close (fingers pinched but not touching) to getting one. I'm really curious how all the woods compare. The Walnut looks great. Is there a resource or thread that compares different woods and their tonal characteristics. Heck even just a listing from dark to bright would be very helpful.

Oct-16-2008, 1:06pm
Charlie, check out Chris Baird's page on materials (http://www.archesmusic.com/materials.htm). I've used this before for info... This page dates back to when Chris was building flat tops only.


Jim MacDaniel
Oct-16-2008, 1:29pm
What Jamie said -- while a few luthiers describe the tonewoods they use, I haven't seen any of them describe as large a variety as does Chris, nor do they provide the detail that Chris provides.

However, Redline also uses Birch and Australian Lacewood, which Chris does not list on his site, but this description from LMII.com likens it to aged Mahogany:
Outside of the mahogany species, lacewood is the most exciting alternative. According to John Greven, a luthier who has built hundreds of guitars in his career and who has a great respect for vintage Martins, lacewood has the rare ability to impart the tone of a well-aged Martin mahogany guitar to a brand-new instrument. Fruit tree woods, most notably cherry and pear, sometimes draw comparisons to mahogany.
Northstar Guitars (http://www.northstarguitars.com/tonewoods.html) has a similar tonewood page as Chris', and they describe Yellow Birch and sounding similar to Big Leaf Maple. Steve Smith, Redline's builder, said that he really likes the tone and volume of the Birch Travellers he has built so far -- but while Birch is not as pretty as the other woods, he really likes how it works on his mandolins, and thinks he will use it on most of the mandolins he is building with opaque finishes.

Oct-16-2008, 1:39pm
I took #7 in on trade recently and absolutely love it. The tone is excellent and is very balanced across the strings. I got one of his early ones that have the thicker neck and will be thinning it down in the near future. Its birds eye maple.

Ken Olmstead
Oct-30-2008, 2:58pm
Well, I called Steve to order a bridge and ordered one of these as well! He is such a great guy and he is so excited about them that I had to try one! He is making mine with walnut back and sides. Charlie he is going to radius my fretboard for me. They are normally flat but he is still quite flexible about radius or not and other construction options. These are pretty much hand made instruments at this point. I can't imagine the price on these will stay this low for long so if you have an interest....

He said Dave Harvey stopped by and really liked the walnut one that is in stock now! I would have purchased that one based on the fact that Harvey liked it so much but the radius board is important to me and that one is flat so...

Of course full pics and review when mine arrives in a few weeks and a video!

Waiting for a new mandolin is a sure way to take 20+ years off of your attitude! :))

Oct-30-2008, 3:14pm
This may be a silly question, but do these fit in a regular case?

Jim MacDaniel
Oct-30-2008, 5:21pm
They should, with room to spare, as they have similar dimensions to a Flatiron pancake:

Overall length: 25"
Max body width: 9 1/2"
Body depth: 1 1/2" - 2"
Headstock length: 6 1/2" (from nut to end of h'stock)
Max headstock width, including the tuner buttons: just under 4"

Oct-30-2008, 5:43pm
What are these retailing for at the moment?

Ken Olmstead
Oct-30-2008, 6:04pm
About $550. It has to be about the best mando deal around!

This is absolutely the most spontaneous mandolin purchase I have ever made. I am very thrilled at the prospect!

Oct-30-2008, 6:06pm
~$400 according to this post. (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showpost.php?p=592512&postcount=6)

Ken Olmstead
Oct-30-2008, 6:11pm
~$400 according to this post. (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showpost.php?p=592512&postcount=6)

You can call him and find out. If they are $400, could you let me know so I can renegotiate?? :whistling: They were $495 but like I said, these will be higher I am sure before long.

Steve Perry
Nov-17-2008, 10:39am
So.... has anybody got any soundfiles, videos of these Redline Traveler mandos yet?

Nov-18-2008, 8:39pm
Hi Steve, and everyone else,

A Red Line Traveler has been spotted cruising down the YouTube highway, with driver Rob Haines at the wheel. Just got recorded and posted today, from somewhere in NashVegas. Check it out...


Steve Smith

Nov-19-2008, 1:10pm
That's a lot of sound coming outta that flattop! Very nice work!

Keith Owen
Nov-19-2008, 2:46pm
That thing sounds GREAT!

Big Joe
Nov-19-2008, 4:06pm
Rob is an incredible musician. He played with the Nashville Mandolin Orchestra with Butch Baldassari and Charlie Derrington for many years. He also plays a mean steel guitar. He is in the same band Charlie was in before he passed. Traylr Parker and the Propane Tanks. They have a song or two on U tube also, though I don't have a link to it. Rob also shoots videos for the music industry and many of the instructional videos for Homespun Videos. Great guy and friend. Also, a memeber of the cafe.

Ken Olmstead
Nov-19-2008, 4:50pm
You know Rob mentions that it is a "nice little mandolin" and would be good as a "beginner/travel " mando. While I agree that is true, it seems to understate the value that these seem to have. I mean they are a hand built mandolin by a man known for quality within his circle. I prefer to think of this as a professional level mandolin with an alternate sound. The design of the mandolin makes it less costly to produce but I have hunch that when I get mine, my suspisions will be confirmed that it is a professional level instrument price to get some out there and get these to take off. If I was a beginner, this thing would be high on my list. Who would not want to play a professional level mandolin while they are saving for their dream handbuilt F? How many mid-mo owners keep their mando and play it after they "upgrade?" Anyway food for thought. One side note, the mahogony in the video is Steve's least favorite sounding so I can't possibly imagine how good my walnut is going to sound!! :grin:

Ken Olmstead
Dec-21-2008, 10:47pm
For those that have not seen enough Traveler's, I have some other pictures that Steve sent me during the process of aquiring mine!