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Thread: Tell me about your Red Diamond

  1. #1

    Default Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Im seriously thinking about buying one this summer, I really like a loud deep woody tone with cutting highs for BG Jams........ Thanks in advance for your input.
    Best/joe

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I highly recommend them ive played my Osborne 25 voiced A-5 since he built it for me in 2010
    great mandolins,
    by the looks of your signature you already have quite a stock a Red Diamond would fit right in
    Danny Clark

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    My Vintage '22 (Crusher-voiced) F is the best mandolin I have ever played.

    After sampling many mandolins, I had the opportunity to play a Vintage '22 A-style mandolin which was heads-and-shoulders above everything else I tried (including Gibson, Duff, Heiden, Ellis, etc). That experience propelled me to snag a used Vintage '22 F-style when it came up in the classifieds. It was the best mandolin-related decision I have ever made. They represent the best of the best.

    To me, the Vintage models that Don makes have a very traditional tone with a very strong midrange and cutting trebles. I have yet to play another brand that I prefer over Red Diamond.

    I agree with Danny. A Red Diamond would fit in nicely with your already impressive stable.

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  6. #4
    Registered User fredfrank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    My Vintage Model is voiced like a Reischman. Clear highs, and cutting ability, plenty of volume. I had also owned an A model with the vintage 22 voicing. I wish I had never let it go. Pretty different from the Reischman voicing, but plenty of power, sweet and even across the board on tone.
    I don't think you could go wrong with any Red Diamond. But from the description in your original post, I would think a Vintage 22 or Crusher voicing is what you want.

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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I had a Crusher voiced A-5 that was stellar in every way. My one true love is my 2003 Gibson DMM and I ended up selling the Red Diamond to help fund a prewar Martin. I love my Martin, love my Gibson but I really miss that mandolin. Last year I was in Roanoke and picked one afternoon with Herschel Sizemore. We were swapping around his favorite Loar, my DMM, and his new Red Diamond Vintage F style mandolin. That Red Diamond was amazing. Definitely incredible traditional tone, great volume, impeccable craftsmanship. I think you will find the Red Diamond to sound more like your MM than your Ellis. I am perfectly content with what I have but if I was in the market for a new mandolin it would be a short search. I'd bee-line it to Don's shop and be done. Like Fred I would vote for Crusher voicing. Circle back when you get it let us know what you think. We all want to live vicariously through you.
    It doesn't matter . . . I'm going to WINFIELD!!!!!

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I bought the July 9, '23 voiced Red Diamond from Morgan Music in January. I have no regrets other than my playing ability doesn't warrant a mandolin of this calibre. I know Don is starting a new batch of 4 mandolins for Morgan Music. Now would be a good time to let Alvin @ Morgan Music know. Please keep us posted as to what you decide to do. You have two fabulous mandolins and the RD would be a very nice addition.

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    Registered User verbs4us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Here's a link to my profile of Don, which elaborates on some of the pointed raised here:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ight=macrostie

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Several years ago I ordered an A model through Gryphon.
    A few months later it arrived.

    Extreme disappointment in the quality and the cosmetics and the tone. Substandard in all categories.
    It was returned. It cost me about $125 not to own it.
    I would never buy another based on that experience.
    I have owned over 50 mandolins, I have some experience.

    Yes, I realize that I am in the minority.
    However, no one else had mine. I mean that very specific one.
    I understand it languished a while before it sold.

    My wife, a violinist, was shocked at the lack of quality of the instrument, and she not a mandolin player (though she can and has taught me quite a bit about music and gdae)

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Jeff, was that A-model a relatively early serial number? My understanding is that Don's mandolins have vastly improved since he started voicing them after specific mandolins (around serial #180 or so).

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  18. #10

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    They are great. I have a Vintage 22 A and a Vintage 24 A.
    They each have strengths but overall they are both outstanding. I currently play the Vintage 24 more than the 22.
    Red Diamond Vintage 24 A
    Buckeye #56

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  20. #11
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I have a fairly recent RD roasted wood F5 with July 9th voicing and it is off the charts wonderful. Serial number 259 and built October of last year. I can tell lots of dedication, passion and love went into building this instrument...

    Thanks, Don MacRostie!

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  22. #12
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    Several years ago I ordered an A model through Gryphon.
    A few months later it arrived.

    Extreme disappointment in the quality and the cosmetics...
    I bought Red Diamond 109, an A style mandolin and returned a similar one previously.
    Will say I know what you're talking about. There are aspects about it which are unprofessional.
    Liked the sound enough to buy it, so there you go.

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  24. #13
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    "Jeff, was that A-model a relatively early serial number? My understanding is that Don's mandolins have vastly improved since he started voicing them after specific mandolins (around serial #180 or so)."

    Yes. Gryphon said that these were the latest and the greatest and will be difficult to get in the future etc etc. Best A models since the Loar period snakeheads ( I owned one)

    The workmanship overall was that of a skilled amateur. Though the price was not.
    It had a hideous eggplant sunburst. The top was redwood, I ordered it with spruce. The top was spongy, I mean flappy as was the sound.
    There was a 1 1 /2 in "squiggle" in the top between the bridge and sound hole which look like a jagged crack (and was) and or a mutant hair of some sort . The eggplant sunburst was an attempt to cover it up in my opinion. This was an area where the burst is generally lighter.

    There were a few tiny cracks in the end of the finger board at the sound hole. The tuners were ill fitted. The carving was not symmetrical. The head stock end was inelegantly cut.

    The sound was thin and flappy.

    When I called Gryphon they said all of my comments and observations were "subjective" and therefore I would pay shipping.

    I would rather return it and lose $85 (not $125 as I previously posted) than keep it and be very unhappy.

    This was not professional work.

    BY the way , I had purchased two Givens, an A-3 and an A-6.. Both were flawless instruments and a joy to own. I sold them due to NNS , Narrow nut syndrome. Simply could not play them. They were superior in every way.

    I have owned 3 or 4 Gibsons and a few more , around 50 mandolins in total.
    The red Diamond was a low point.

    I understand they may have improved, I have no interest.

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  26. #14
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I'll chime in here since I own a Master Model and sent back a brand-new Ellis. My Red Diamond Crusher is the best mandolin I have ever played, period. It will stay with me as long as I am here.
    2001 Gibson Master Model F5 #V70311
    1996 Heiden F-5 #F-023
    2009 Stanley V-5 #44

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  28. #15
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Don has certainly changed his voicings, particularly in the back plate where he has gone a bit stiffer than his earlier runs. Almost twice as stiff in some cases. So that contributes to a bit brighter tone, but responsive. Could be that some of the earlier models had backs that were overly flexible and causing a "floppy" sound as described above. Personally I like a " floppy" sound.., whatever that means...

  29. #16

    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Buddy of mine just bought an early A (#59) from Carters and swears it was stronger than almost all the mandolins in there, including some costing 5 plus times as much money.

  30. #17
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I have played a few of his early works and 5 or so of his recent ones. Just like all of us in the endeavors into which we pour our hearts, Don's work has evolved in a great way. I'm very experienced with exceptional instruments and I'll say again that where Don is now with his mandolins is as good as it gets. I'm not an owner, just a admirer. I would anticipate that almost everyone who gets the chance to play a recent Red Diamond would agree
    It doesn't matter . . . I'm going to WINFIELD!!!!!

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  32. #18
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I just want say that my 2003 Red Diamond A, #145 has met the highest standards for craftsmanship, finish, and tone. After having built two mandolins I feel like I can judge these attributes a bit. I think my judgment is supported when other jammers come up to me on asking "What kind of mandolin is that". I have not played any of Don's recent models, they may be better, but I suspect that many of his earlier examples are what led to his reputation as a top notch builder.
    -Newtonamic

  33. #19
    Bob Remington
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    I have No. 137, from 2001, standard model, not vintage voicing. Judge for yourself in the ham-handed hands of an amateur.


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  35. #20
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Bob, those are both wonderful instruments, and you sound great...nice tremolo.
    I listened back and forth a few times. I really like that Red Diamond...is that the one w/ the charcoal/black finish? I may have picked on that one for a minute at the symposium last year if so...either way it sounds excellent! thanks for sharing.
    Jason

  36. #21
    Bob Remington
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Thanks Jason. Yes, it is the one with the charcoal black finish, a custom finish listed as gray by Don MacRostie. When I got it last October the action was very low. Raising the action just a small amount made a world of difference. It hadn't been played in some time and since this video was made it seems to have opened up and sounds a bit richer.

  37. #22
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about your Red Diamond

    Bobrem, I'm gonna say just from the tone of the G string of the first mandolin, the Red Diamond, that this probably has a back plate that is stiffer, like his vintage models. That seems to go a little contrary to how he carved them years ago.

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