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Thread: Rag mandolins

  1. #1

    Default Rag mandolins

    Does anyone have experience playing a Rag mandolin (Upstate NY)?

  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I prefer mine made out of wood.

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    I have played rags on the mandolin, however.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by sj9 View Post
    Does anyone have experience playing a Rag mandolin (Upstate NY)?
    I've never seen the brand and it doesn't appear to be in the builders database.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Here is his website.

    http://ragmandolins.com/

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    That looks familiar.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    They look and sound nice, nice to see a new kid on the block even if I ain`t in the market ...right now....

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Interesting that he makes a "lump" scroll model and it is the same price as his "fully developed" scroll f-styles.
    I am glad that there are a couple of videos. Gives you a better view of the mandolins than the photos. They might be a bargain.
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I looked at the three he has for sale right now. Number one, the A style, has F holes that look too high and too close to the rim and a crooked tailpiece. Number two has a lump "scroll". Number three looks better than the other two, it does have an actual scroll at least, but for some reason no adjustable truss rod. I would not buy any of them. This guy seems to be somebody who had yet to find a building style he is comfortable with, and is still experimenting with his designs. The designs he is choosing to post are certainly outside the box, so to speak. This can be good, like Monteleone designs, but the Rag designs just don't ring my bell, aesthetically.
    Don

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I suppose you get what you pay for. Who knows, tho, they may sound and play well. The A model does look a bit odd.

    Too bad, I am driving not too far from his shop on Monday but I doubt my wife would want to stop.

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    Grannycrowe
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Well I decided to take a chance on Mr. Gordon's Rag mandolins. Here is what I have to say so far...I just received it yesterday so these are first impressions. Playability is excellent! A for that one. Good bottom tone top end is also decent but neither top nor bottom compares with my Gibson F5g or my F9 but the Rag has my mid-level Kentucky beat by a long shot tone wise. Bang for you buck A for that one also. I will check back in on tone once I have given her time to open up. Finish...hummm this is where Rags could be improved but having said that there is a rustic kind of charm the Rag has. More later. I can't wait to get home to my new Rag.

    Lisa

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    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Grannycrowe View Post
    Well I decided to take a chance on Mr. Gordon's Rag mandolins. Here is what I have to say so far...I just received it yesterday so these are first impressions. Playability is excellent! A for that one. Good bottom tone top end is also decent but neither top nor bottom compares with my Gibson F5g or my F9 but the Rag has my mid-level Kentucky beat by a long shot tone wise. Bang for you buck A for that one also. I will check back in on tone once I have given her time to open up. Finish...hummm this is where Rags could be improved but having said that there is a rustic kind of charm the Rag has. More later. I can't wait to get home to my new Rag.

    Lisa
    And probably does not compare closely in price to the F5G or F9 either. Most of Roy's mandolins are $1500.00 or less.
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    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    It appears Bradford and Company is selling one of his F-Models from 2016. It looks pretty nice. Saw it at Reverb. Don't know if he's selling it here. NFI.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    It appears Bradford and Company is selling one of his F-Models from 2016. It looks pretty nice. Saw it at Reverb. Don't know if he's selling it here. NFI.
    It is always nice to provide a link: RAG F-5 2016 Blonde.

    The photos there can give you a good idea of the workmanship at least from 2016. Some close-ups really help. He is up to #46 on his site. I would not mind the folk/craftiness if you get decent tone and playbility for a reasonable price.
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    Grannycrowe
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I got number 48 he built her for me. True dat about the cost of the Gibson's compared to the Rags. Yes the base price for Roy's F style Rag mandolin is $1500.00. I sent a K & K pickup system to Roy for him to install during the build. I will plug it in when I get home. More later as she ages and we get to know each other better.

    Keep a song in your heart,
    Lisa
    Last edited by Grannycrowe; Sep-24-2019 at 3:34pm. Reason: I failed to capitalize a proper noun

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    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    It is always nice to provide a link: RAG F-5 2016 Blonde.

    The photos there can give you a good idea of the workmanship at least from 2016. Some close-ups really help. He is up to #46 on his site. I would not mind the folk/craftiness if you get decent tone and playbility for a reasonable price.
    Hard to tell what number this is. My experiences with Bradford is that often they give very little information unless you ask.
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  18. #16
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    It is always nice to provide a link: RAG F-5 2016 Blonde.

    The photos there can give you a good idea of the workmanship at least from 2016. Some close-ups really help. He is up to #46 on his site. I would not mind the folk/craftiness if you get decent tone and playbility for a reasonable price.
    This looks like #40 on his web site.
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  19. #17

    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I got myself #29 (built in 2017) for a Christmas present last January. It is a Carpathian & maple french polished F. I went to his shop, got the tour and played the 8-10 he had there. Nice guy & good experience. #29 takes a few minutes to open up but when it does I can’t put it down. I haven’t played a million mandolins but I like it more than my buddy’s Gibson F5 or the (2) Collings I’ve played. I would say that it is less balanced overall than those examples but the tone (especially on the G and D courses) knocks me out. An excellent guitarist I know described it as a “concert grade instrument” (whatever that means). The finish is imperfect but as Roy told me he’s more interested in building tone machines at a low price point than aesthetically perfect objects. I’m glad he does because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have a comparable mando for a few more years.
    I love it.

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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I've never played one, but the flame maple back on that one makes me want to put in an order.
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Whenever one of these discussions comes up about a builder who sells at a cheaper price due to whatever reason, I go out to my studio and play my kit build and think what I would say about it if I had spent $2k on it?

    Pretty much all my negatives would center on the cosmetic, and for that price I'd be thrilled, especially after a year. Anyone able to build a mandolin that doesn't have that boinky import G string sound should be lauded. So what if it doesn't meet Collings for quality? I appreciate fine craftsmanship as well as anyone, and after knowing how much time goes into an F style, I don't begrudge the asking prices, but this type of instrument fills a need for those wanting a good tone at a reasonable price.

    I see F style mandolins on my local Craigslist once in a while from a builder asking $2500. If it wasn't two hours away, I'd go check them out. I figure it's a retired guy like me building for the enjoyment. If you want a sure thing you can sell later, buy a Northridge.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    If you want a sure thing you can sell later, buy a Northridge.
    I assume you mean Northfield?

    I agree with you on the tone vs. cosmetic—see my comment above.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Funny how one person’s “rough fit and finish” is another person’s “rustic charm”.

    Kind of reminds me of when I used to work at a piano store. One particular well known piano brand had plastic parts in the action. If you wanted to steer a customer away from that brand, you said it had “cheap plastic parts”. If you wanted to steer the customer towards it, you bragged about the “latest in space age polymer technology”. You can make anything sound good or bad with your wording. You sure can cover up a lot of sloppy construction and finish by just chalking it up to “rustic charm”.
    Don

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  25. #22

    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    No, I meant buy the LA suburb. Likely get a few mandolins in the bargain.

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    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    It is always nice to provide a link: RAG F-5 2016 Blonde.

    The photos there can give you a good idea of the workmanship at least from 2016. Some close-ups really help. He is up to #46 on his site. I would not mind the folk/craftiness if you get decent tone and playbility for a reasonable price.
    And it looks like this already sold.
    Collings MF (2016)
    Gibson Custom Shop F5G Wide Nut (2010) Dave Harvey.

    Hohner and Seydel Harmonicas (various keys)

    "Heck, Jimmy Martin don't even believe in Santy Claus!"

  27. #24

    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    I owned an F model for a while, then upgraded due to the dreaded MAS. Certainly worth a look in the 1 - 1.5k price range IMO.

  28. #25

    Default Re: Rag mandolins

    It would be terrific if someone would buy and gather a bunch of these hand made but inexpensive mandolins and do a traveling pick sampler type tour.

    You pay a ton for a dealer network and the chance to try before you buy. I'm betting that many of these $1500-2000 mandolins would be very much more satisfying than some of the imports. Even the Ratliff Country Boy is something I'd love to try. I suspect I'd like a lot of these.
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