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Chris Biorkman
May-18-2009, 5:57pm
Just picked this up last week from Carmel Music. I exchanged my old carpathian topped Kimble A and sold my Ellis F (which I thought I would never do) to complete the transaction. I was a little nervous getting rid of two instruments that I loved, but I'm very, very happy with the new one. It sounds very similar to my old A style even though the top is Adirondack. Here are some pics.

MikeEdgerton
May-18-2009, 5:58pm
That looks great, love the flowerpot.

Brandon Flynn
May-18-2009, 6:01pm
Wow, sold an ellis and a kimble for a kimble. I'm very jealous.

Chris Biorkman
May-18-2009, 6:05pm
Wow, sold an ellis and a kimble for a kimble. I'm very jealous.

I sort of came to the conclusion that I don't need two mandolins. For me, having two is a distraction from playing. I decided that I wanted to get down to one, but I preferred the flatter board and smaller frets on the Kimble. If I was only going to have one, I wanted an F, so I emailed Will and asked him if he ever sent spec F models to retail stores. It was kind of a shot in the dark that paid off because he had just sent this one to Carmel a few days earlier.

Brandon Flynn
May-18-2009, 6:14pm
I think having one is a very reasonable policy. I would only keep two if one was a beater, that is, worth considerably less than my main mandolin.

JimRichter
May-18-2009, 7:10pm
Excellent move, Chris. I heard from Wheel that someone bought a spec F5 through Carmel. Glad it was you. Smart move.

sgarrity
May-18-2009, 7:56pm
They're like tater chips, ya can't have just one. Trust me, I've tried! LOL

Very nice looking Kimble. I bet it sounds even better than it looks!

Chris Biorkman
May-18-2009, 8:00pm
Thank, Jim. I really couldn't be happier with it.

JEStanek
May-18-2009, 9:12pm
Congratulations, Chris. That's a remarkable looking mandolin. Kudos to Will, too.

Jamie

Jonas
May-19-2009, 12:34am
Nice!
Can you say anything on the sound of the different tops?

Chris Biorkman
May-19-2009, 12:37am
I can't tell a difference at all. To me, they sound very similar. Maybe if I was able to play them side by side I would be able to tell a difference.

Glassweb
May-19-2009, 1:31am
so i guess that means there's a Carpathian topped Kimble A-Model for sale at Carmel Music... don't snooze, or ya gonna looze...

Ray(T)
May-19-2009, 3:41am
Congratulations Chris, surprisingly, mine is No.150 which Will finished in July last year and came from TAMCO in the UK. Its an A5 with an Engleman top. It was a choice between the Kimble and a Heiden with an Adirondack top. They sounded much the same but the Kimble was warmer.
Ray

Oggy
May-19-2009, 7:09am
Would be really interesting to play an engelmann, a carpathian and a red spruce Kimble mandolin side by side... much like the "Mike Marshall trying out Altmans" we could see in another thread.

Wonder how they would compare?

All I know is that my engelmann-topped Kimble A5 has a lot more "bite" than I'd usually associate with that kind of spruce. I have owned a Collings MT previously, and the difference is remarkable.

Yeah, and I forgot... Congrats Chris!

Chuck Naill
May-19-2009, 7:19am
Chris,

I really like everything about your new mandolin. Congratulations.

Scotti Adams
May-19-2009, 7:33am
Very nice fer sure. Congrats. Will makes a very fine mando.

Gary Hedrick
May-19-2009, 8:05am
Very nice looking mandolin Chris!!

Mr Kimble is at the top of his game with that one if it sounds as good as it looks.

Will Kimble
May-19-2009, 8:25am
Thanks for the kind words everybody!

Chris' new F5 and old A5 both have sugar maple backs, so that would contribute to their tonal similarity. Also, I have found that Carpathian can act a lot like engelmann or a lot like red spruce... The Carpathian top on Chris' A5 is a lot like red spruce.

The instruments are somewhat sorta consecutively numbered, I typically plan out 6-10 instruments at a time but it is difficult to predict which of those will be finished first. I usually stain and varnish two at a time, and the As are usually done before the Fs...

I think you would notice similar differences between my engelmann and red spruce mandolins as you saw in the Altman video. But I don't think it makes sense to judge instruments in the white, based on my experience (I string them all up in the white) it is not an accurate representation of their finished sound. In fact they change so much as the varnish dries that I think you really need to wait 6-12 months before you start to hear what the mature instrument will sound like.

Engelmann will be more responsive, more volume from a light touch (right hand), more of a "modern" tone, and maybe slightly less headroom. Red spruce will be tighter when new, will have a little more headroom for a heavy right hand, and will have a tone that is closer to that of a Loar. Red will usually have more oomph on the E and A strings, and seems to have the right tonal balance to cut through a bluegrass group or loud jam. The problem is that a lot of folks may have a clear preference for engelmann or red while sampling instruments, but are not able to make that determination from my descriptions. And they may prefer one while playing alone or with a guitar player and the other while playing in an ensemble or jam session.

In my instruments, Carpathian can sound more like red or more like engelmann, usually with a slightly more complex tone. I really like Carpathian but have stopped using it for custom orders as I find it difficult to predict what the finished mandolin will be like. It makes really good mandolins, but I am not able to control it to my satisfaction. Perhaps this is a weakness in my approach to building, but I do not have this problem with the red or engelmann so that is what I will work with. Also, I only have about 6 engelmann tops left and my preferred tonewood supplier does not plan to harvest any more. When this engelmann is gone, I plan to build with red spruce only.

Thanks again, I hope this is interesting to some of you.

Will Kimble
www.kimblemandolins.com

Gary Hedrick
May-19-2009, 8:46am
Ah Will has hit the nail on the head

"The problem is that a lot of folks may have a clear preference for engelmann or red while sampling instruments, but are not able to make that determination from my descriptions. And they may prefer one while playing alone or with a guitar player and the other while playing in an ensemble or jam session."

I own #116 and #117 and they are the ying and the yang....Red Spruce and Engelman....I like the Engelman when I'm sitting and playing by myself and in a small group. If I want to go out and really cut through a noisy crowd....the Red Spruce....

Engelman is warmer....Red Spruce is the cutting wood..

JTG1
May-26-2009, 10:12pm
Chris I was just wondering how the kimble mandolins compare to the phoenix mandolin that you used to have?