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Thread: Tell me about your Duff

  1. #1

    Default Tell me about your Duff

    Im thinking seriously about finding me one, also educate me on the difference of X bracing compared to Tone .
    Thanks/iron
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  2. #2
    Registered User Steve VandeWater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Oh, this thread title! I'm holding my breath for the responses.
    It ain't gotta be perfect, as long as it's perfect enough!

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Jeez, I don’t even know you l.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    In all seriously last year I picked up a new tone bar A5 from Paul. It is “all that” as they say. It is very loud and powerful, fat, focused tone. Shortly after picking it up I listed my Ellis F5 for sale and haven’t looked back. No disrespect to Tom and his amazing instruments, but this voice just fit my playing and had more headroom than the Ellis and cut better. It has a flat board and came with small frets. I did have Lynn D put big evo frets on it and scoop the fingerboard. It has great playability all the way up the neck. I love this mandolin and have played some monster mandolins from RD, Gil, Heiden, etc. those are all fabulous and I would love to own them, but always love coming home to this mandolin and never really end up feeling like I’m missing out. It can hang. I’d hit Paul up as he was very bullish on this particular mandolin and I’m sure he’d be able to lead you in the right direction.

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  8. #5
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    I bought & sold mandolins about twice a year looking for 'the one' till I bought a Duff A-5 from Gruhn in 2013. Great complex tone and good volume. Neck felt great. Nothing bad to say. Tone bars, flat board, full sized finger rest.

    Six months later I decided that I loved the Duff sound and wanted to move to an F model with radiused board and small finger rest. The F model I bought in summer 2013 has been played pretty much every day since then; just sounds better and better to me. When the frets wore, I had the board slightly changed to a more compound radius and stainless steel frets with no change in tone.

    Duffs have a tone that is described as 'modern' like Ellis, Gils, Collings. Not the tightly focused cutting fundamental of Gibson. I like it!
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    No offense to the X-brace, but Paul makes more tone bars and I really think he is trying to make his statement as it relates to the evolution of the Loar. I would go tone bars all the way. I also have seen/played a few of his recent tone bar F5s and they all have it. I haven't played his x braced mandolins, but I think his tone bar mandolins are so good currently that I would not want to stray from the path. In my experience I would not necessarily consider mine a modern tone. It is midrangey and big, less overtones than a Gibson in my opinion, definitely is less bassey than my Ellis, which is why I think it probably cut better (IMO). YMMV

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Levine View Post
    No offense to the X-brace, but Paul makes more tone bars and I really think he is trying to make his statement as it relates to the evolution of the Loar. I would go tone bars all the way. I also have seen/played a few of his recent tone bar F5s and they all have it. I haven't played his x braced mandolins, but I think his tone bar mandolins are so good currently that I would not want to stray from the path.
    I have a 2 year old tone bar braced A5 and a 2004 X braced F5.

    The A5 is beastly and has a chest rattling low end and good cut. It does not have a particularly strong midrange, at least compared to the F5, but it does have a lot of volume and has developed significantly in the last few years. I hear the midrange getting stronger as it breaks in, so I'm sure that range of the instrument will continue to change. It is very dry as well. Flat fingerboard, abbreviated finger rest, and small frets.

    The X braced F5 has a slight radius and small frets. It had me perplexed when I got it. I knew the sound was in there somewhere....but how to coax it out? At this point the best way to describe it.....non existent lows and mids and glass shattering trebles.

    The previous owner had a bone nut installed and had Thomastik flat wounds on it.
    I knew I needed to get it set up to where I wanted it, so I emailed Paul to discuss a few things.
    Decided to get the pearl nut reinstalled and a new Duff engraved James tailpiece. Also a full setup, etc.
    It sounded much better after the work, but still a little tight. The lows and mids definitely perked up.
    At this point I put J75's on it and beat the hell out of it for a few weeks.
    The instrument was suddenly more alive.
    I put EJ74's back on it and now it sounds awesome.
    Amazing projection and tons of midrange bark. It'll easily cut a banjo.
    Very Loar like tone, or as some people like to say, sounds like "wooden bells".
    Played it at a show recently in a very large, old church. People in the back of the hall said they could hear it as if it was in the pew in front of them.

    Lessons learned......
    Instruments CAN fall asleep.
    Tone bar and X brace generalities aren't what they necessarily are "supposed" to be.
    A good setup is paramount.

    Paul makes killer instruments and he is very approachable. He's also an incredibly nice dude.
    We emailed back and forth regarding the process to bring the F5 back to life, and Paul was more than generous with his time.
    Can't recommend Duff mandolins highly enough.
    Last edited by oliverkollar; Sep-15-2018 at 12:30am.

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  14. #8
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Levine View Post
    In all seriously last year I picked up a new tone bar A5 from Paul. It is “all that” as they say. It is very loud and powerful, fat, focused tone. Shortly after picking it up I listed my Ellis F5 for sale and haven’t looked back. No disrespect to Tom and his amazing instruments, but this voice just fit my playing and had more headroom than the Ellis and cut better. It has a flat board and came with small frets. I did have Lynn D put big evo frets on it and scoop the fingerboard. It has great playability all the way up the neck. I love this mandolin and have played some monster mandolins from RD, Gil, Heiden, etc. those are all fabulous and I would love to own them, but always love coming home to this mandolin and never really end up feeling like I’m missing out. It can hang. I’d hit Paul up as he was very bullish on this particular mandolin and I’m sure he’d be able to lead you in the right direction.
    Once upon a time, I considered a Duff A5 to be in that next tier (along with Ellis, Kimble, etc.) that might be a step above what I have, as mine are in my experience a bit better than the Collings MT and Pava that have passed through my hands. I've just never had the chance to play one and determine whether it is in fact superior or simply different with a more familiar name on the peghead and a higher price tag.
    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

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    I can't claim to have played a Hester or Passernig, but my Duff changed the game for me. I still grab the occasional "back up" mandolin to play around with for traveling, taking to work or for when I don't feel comfortable carrying the Duff and always end up finding them lacking. I can't get the volume and have to bear down more or I can't get the playability up the neck. It just always does what it is supposed to. I also have gotten more offers from people to buy it off me, or asking what it is, and it has also helped sell several of his F5s in the Portland area where I live.

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  18. #10

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Thanks folks for you input, anyone have an idea where I might find one for sale ? New/used makes no difference to me.
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  19. #11

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    He sells most through Carters but you could also send Paul an email and see what may be coming around and what specs.

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  21. #12
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    There is/was supposed to be a new A5 headed to Carter from the batch just finished in late August.

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  23. #13
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Tony Williamson at Mandolin Central is a Duff dealer......

    http://www.mandolincentral.com/instruments-for-sale/
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  25. #14
    Registered User Givson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    In 2002 I contacted Paul Duff directly by email and, after several pleasant conversations, had him build me an X-braced F5 mandolin, constructed of Adirondack spruce and eastern hard maple. It arrived in June of 2003 and I have been playing and enjoying it since then. It always has been a punchy, dry sounding instrument with an emphasis on the midrange frequencies. I would not describe the tone as complex. Over the years, the instrument has added low end and it sounds strong and balanced today. It is a nice complement to my 1993 Apitius F5, which has tone bars and is made of European spruce and maple, and has a sweeter, more complex tone, but is not as powerful as the Duff.
    When 'good enough' is more than adequate.

  26. #15
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Well … I have a wonderful collection of mandolins. The only thing missing is a quality X braced instrument. Do I need one …. well we all know this isn't about need. I expect that eventually I will have either a Bozeman Flatiron Artist model or a Paul Duff mandolin. An ordered Dude Kemmitzer or Gilchrist being beyond the range of my pocketbook.... R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  27. #16
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    This Duff is in the classifieds........

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/128971#128971

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  28. #17
    Registered User geoffa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    Looks like Carter Vintage Guitars (CVG) just got a used x-braced Duff in today. NFI.

    I'd like to own a Duff one day. I played a few at CVG recently and also heard a bunch of them at Monroe Mandolin Camp a few years ago. They really stand out compared to a lot of what is out there. They sound woody and project well (i.e. can be very loud). I still remember feeling the notes come off of the Duff Skip Gorman was playing a few feet away from me when we had a private lesson.

    I say go for it if you can afford it.
    2016 Rattlesnake F5
    2018 Ellis A5 Deluxe

  29. #18
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    This one just hit the classifides......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/129395#129395

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  30. #19

    Default Re: Tell me about your Duff

    UsuallyPickin -
    Please check your private messages...

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