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Thread: Show Off Your Silverangels

  1. #1

    Default Show Off Your Silverangels

    Would y'all be so kind as to post photos, audio, video, and/or share the things you love about your silverangels?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    No one is playing, eh? Perhaps there has been a few SA threads lately. My main thoughts about them is that too few have had the experience of playing one. Just like I'd like to play a Ratliff, a Summit, a.....on an on. Unless one shows up at a dealer used, I'll only be able to try one if I buy one. I live in a fairly mandolin friendly area where I can cruise by Griffon or Sylvan, but even then, beyond the Kentucky, Eastman, Northfield, Weber, Collings and Girouard brands carried by these two fine retailers, I have to luck into one having a trade in or consignment instrument. This is how I've tried Lebeda, Gibson, and a handful of others.

    Now with maybe 500 Silverangels out there you might not find one even in Nashville. So how did I come to own one? Well I read some threads here and the prices seemed pretty reasonable, but then I had a major surgery and two weeks after, my wife left town on a business trip for a week. I was just starting to feel human, had just started playing some and needed an emotional pick me up so decided the time was right to upgrade, what with a week alone and all.

    So being relatively uninformed or experienced, I just decided to buy a new Collings MT, what with that being a very safe bet. Now I didn't know how I was going to make the 20 mile drive with a seat belt across my chest but I was determined to do it. Took one last look at the classifieds, and there was a Silverangel for a thousand less the the MT, so I called the owner and had it air freighted to my door.

    So why do I like it? Looks like a well kept 80 year old instrument for one thing. Binding cracked here and there, and a bit short where it would have shrunk over the years, a few dings and scratches, varnish sunk in between the grain of the redwood top. Little touches like Ken angling the bridge a bit back toward the Allen tailpiece to prevent bridge leaning toward the fretboard. Binding front and back and neck and headstock. Speed neck that looks like it was worn off naturally on a very comfortable to play neck. Then there is the script Silverangel logo inlaid on the headstock.

    So what about sound? I'd say resonant sums it up. Warm and rich. Voice to the low end about like a Collings is voiced bright. It is cross braced and any more toward the warm side and it would have an oval soundhole. Not the mandolin to take to a bluegrass jam, or at least not the best one, but plenty loud enough to play BG in a band. Great woody chop only bested by Gibsons I've played. I can see the validity in not liking the mandolin, just like I don't like Taylor guitars. Different strokes....

    My mandolin is in one of Ken's videos where they are playing two in the white, but not sure which one is mine. I have not yet got the nerve to go to the heavier strings the mandolin was made for (J 75s?). I play mostly fiddle tunes, but I surely will have a mandolin that is voice differently IN ADDITION TO my SA. I actually do, but I want the equal tone quality of the SA. AN MT would do nicely, but I've got the scroll bug so there may be a Northfield some day.

    If you are looking to sell, something like an MT would be easier, but then you would never know the beauty of the SA sound.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  3. #3

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Br1ck, Ken should hire you to write summaries for his mandolins. That was excellent.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Well, I don't want my exuberance to send someone down the wrong path if they are in love with the Collings sound profile, just to save money. Just like someone wanting a mandolin that sounds just like a Gibson. I haven't played one. But I haven't played that many. I can imagine being somewhere 500 miles from a decent store. Yikes, that would suck.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  5. #5
    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    There is a Silverangel social group, doesn't get a huge amount of traffic but there are pics and discussions that might help you out :D
    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

    Stumbling Towards Competence

  6. #6
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    My own SA distressed F-style:

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    An excellent A-style I used to own:

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    Both have that 'signature' sound... and both have very nice, fast, playable necks.

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    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by jasona View Post
    There is a Silverangel social group, doesn't get a huge amount of traffic but there are pics and discussions that might help you out :D
    I access this site exclusively from my phone so I am not always so great at utilizing the options the site has available. Can you link me to the group?

  9. #8
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    I access this site exclusively from my phone so I am not always so great at utilizing the options the site has available. Can you link me to the group?
    Here you go: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/group.php?groupid=2
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Not accessible for mobile use. Unfortunately, my phone is my computer. Thank you for the link.

  11. #10
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Though I've never heard (or seen) a Silverangel in person, based on what I've heard from recordings, they sound like nothing else. Check out David Mold's (oldsausage) YouTube stuff with his - seriously nice tone (and playing). His has a headstock shape that looks like a knife blade. Very cool.
    ...

  12. #11
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    Not accessible for mobile use. Unfortunately, my phone is my computer. Thank you for the link.
    To tide you over, I once owned #337, the finished A5 that Donnie is playing in this video:



    I found it to have a pleasing dark tone, comfortable fiddlish playability, and satisfying rustic aesthetics. Unfortunately, mine suffered from a sinking arch and needed to be retopped when I acquired it. But to Ken's credit, he offered to do the work for free even though I was not the original owner.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  13. #12

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Though I've never heard (or seen) a Silverangel in person, based on what I've heard from recordings, they sound like nothing else. Check out David Mold's (oldsausage) YouTube stuff with his - seriously nice tone (and playing). His has a headstock shape that looks like a knife blade. Very cool.
    +1 David gets super tone out of that mandolin

    https://youtu.be/_pL6kKfk8D0

    By the by I find the redwood topped SA's to be "woofier" sounding
    Last edited by noah finn; Mar-04-2018 at 12:00pm.

  14. #13
    Registered User Mike Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    I’ve owned 3 SAs, including #337 above. Still own #388. #337 had the darkest tone. #388 is a bit less dark, but is exceptional to my feeble ears. I just wish I could do it justice in the playing dept. I think it’s a love/hate thing. You either dig the tone or you don’t. Same with Ken’s construction style. I do. Just my $.02. Here’s a bad photo of the back. Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks, Mike


    "Hey, careful man, there's a beverage here!"-The Dude

  15. #14

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Wow, mine is 335, so probably made from the same batch of wood. I think almost everyone who has owned one will attest to the fact they are their own uniquely styled instruments, and not everyone's cup of tea. There are always folks who don't see the big deal regarding Gilchrists too, while still recognizing the validity of those who do.

    I think SA's strength is their beauty sitting around the backyard picking just for yourself. For me that is 95% of the time. I'm better picking guitar with others. Anyone in the SF Bay Area is welcome to try mine.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  16. #15
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    If an instrument is responsive, it's tone doesn't matter much. And I personally find this the true when playing any instrument.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    We're snowed in here in Ireland, so I've some time on my hands and I put together a video or two of my Silverangel should anyone find it helpful.

    (Best just use the computer speakers however, when I recorded the audio through my zoom H1 , I didnt realise the dishwasher was on in an adjacent room, while not audible at the time to my power tool abused ears the zoom picked it up effortlessly )





    My mandolin is #308 built in 2010. Taking good care of it Andy

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  19. #17
    Registered User mtk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

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    Effie.

    What did he name all yours?

  20. #18

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    This thread is fantastic. Thanks for the resources and sharing your mandos! They are damn beautiful!

  21. #19
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by noah finn View Post

    My mandolin is #308 built in 2010. Taking good care of it Andy
    Glad to hear it! You are doing a great job of making her sound good and teaching her some new tunes there, too!

    That is a really fine mandolin. You can certainly hear that classic 'Silverangel' voicing there.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  23. #20
    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Here's a pic of my A5, #6 signed by Laura Ratcliff. It has a tighter, more midranged tone than the dark tone typical of Silverangels. I will work on getting as true a recording of it as I can when I am back in town.

    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

    Stumbling Towards Competence

  24. #21
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    I access this site exclusively from my phone so I am not always so great at utilizing the options the site has available. Can you link me to the group?
    I think you can request the Desktop version of the site at the bottom of the mobile site. It helps me when I access the site on my phone also.

  25. #22

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    I have an big muddy m4 and an eastman 305. The eastman has an e string i'd characterize as tinny and shrill or "bright." i have been listening to silverangel audio files for weeks now and love the tone. I was just wondering how the silverangel e strings compare to "bright" instruments like the eastman, from those who play 'em.

  26. #23

    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    I went from an Eastman 505 to my Silverangel. I was playing it yesterday trying to find fault with the high end, given all the talk of the quality of the low end and it's dominance, but the highs are all there and they ring out loud and clear. There is definitely no shrillness there. I just seem to want to caution folks who want to play bluegrass on them, an unwarranted over reaction on my part.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  27. #24
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    I have an Econo, number 381, built two Halloweens ago. I guess it's the redwood top and high arching that give it that delicious thick sound, but I'll bet spruce-topped ones sound just as good.

    It's really come into its own in the last several months, and is just a joy to play. The neck is a bit on the small side for my taste, but that's a very small complaint.

    https://goo.gl/photos/Kv6xirjhYaHS9QVK9
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    Waiting for the thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheering. But for some reason, I only hear crickets…- Multidon

  28. #25
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    Default Re: Show Off Your Silverangels

    Here is a recent video I took of me playing 392, a redwood topped A style that I asked Ken to build for me last year
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFwc...tYZVOrFIrjsO9A

    And here is one of me playing #157, a 2001 F5 that I got from the original owner through the Cafe classifieds when it was less than 6 months old.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N33E...tYZVOrFIrjsO9A

    There are other videos of me playing both, as well as my early Breedlove Olympic, on my YouTube channel. I love 157 and wouldn't trade it for the world. I have owned it since right after first getting serious about playing mandolin. It is quite loud without much player effort and is quite ergonomic to play. People are always complimenting it and offering to buy it. The new one is great in its own right, especially in ease of play, and is probably closer to Ken's signature sound, dark and warm. It is a joy to play now and is still opening up. It isn't as loud as the F but it isn't quiet at all. In fact, I have been playing it more lately than the F model.

    I live less than an hour from Ken and have gotten to know him some since he's been doing maintenance and repair work for me since 2001. I like the guy and am probably a bit biased because he has been so good to me about doing work and was great to work with about building my new one. However, I am first and foremost a fan of his work. I have had the opportunity to play more than a dozen of his mandolins over the years and like them all. His pre 2000 work may have been less consistent than his later work but I haven't found a dud in any that I've played.
    Last edited by ToneDeaf; Mar-09-2018 at 6:06pm. Reason: grammar
    Scott Rucker
    Silverangel F5
    Silverangel A5
    Breedlove Olympic
    Eastman 504 CS

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