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Thread: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

  1. #176

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    The Ruhland neck is custom. Matt used a mandolin I used to own that now lives in Portland as a template and then modified the neck it to be a little less deep. The Ruhland neck turned out slightly slimmer/shallower than the Heiden and I think that's even better for my left hand. In my experience, Ellis necks are deeper. I took it to a weekend picking party where I played 10 hours a day or so. No hand problems other than very sore fingertips. Will get to recording sometime soon.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
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  3. #177

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Here's a little sample of #37. The tune is "Monroe's Farewell to Longhollow."



    https://youtu.be/gVlcd98NqT0
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

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  5. #178

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Very nice tone Don, nice playing as well. Thanks.

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  7. #179

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    that one has nice pop to it, Don. Enjoy it!
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  9. #180

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Don,

    i just listened to your new A5 recording again. I'm biased but to my ear that little A5 sounds pretty darn nice. What is it now 2 months old, one month, i forget?

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  11. #181
    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    That mandolin has Punch brother!
    John A. Karsemeyer

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  13. #182

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Thanks, I've been enjoying it since Sept 25, so not a month old yet. Still a growing young 'un.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

  14. #183
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    A couple months ago, I was passing through Portland and Old Growth kindly let me play his two Ruhlands and I thought I would share my experience here.

    First and foremost, they were amazing! Honestly, if I had not needed to continue on to Oakridge, Oregon that evening, I would have considered imposing myself on his gracious hospitality even longer. The tone, volume and responsiveness of both mandolins was a whole new world from what I’m used to. I’m currently playing an Epiphone MM-50 and when I occasionally play with a group at my church, I have to play about as hard as I can to even begin to hear myself. Matt’s instruments responded to even the finest touch and only got louder from there (in a good way). Admittedly, I didn’t play them as hard as I do mine since I was feeling a bit self-conscious and I really didn’t want to really dig in and accidentally make a pick scratch or break a string on Old Growth's beautiful instruments he was so kindly letting me sample. I can only imagine how much those instruments can do in more capable hands.

    Getting to play both an A-style and F-style side-by-side was eye opening and fun. His A has a very sweet tone to it that was very pleasant to play and hear, but I have to admit that the sound of his F really grabbed me. I don’t know if it was a matter of tone wood differences or some other luthier voodoo, but the bass response on his F5 was intoxicating. I was playing “Big Sciota” using the G-string as a drone in part of the song and I’ve never felt a mandolin feel so alive in my hands.

    I am still on the beginner end of the spectrum, but I came away from the experience with a huge grin plastered on my face and a personal understanding of why Matt's instruments are causing such a stir. Finding the right instrument is a very personal decision, but I would highly recommend playing one of Matt's instruments as part of your decision making process. Thanks again Old Growth and keep up the great work, Matt!

  15. #184
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I agree 100% regarding the tone and power of Matt's mandolins. The responsiveness is simply startling.

  16. #185

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    https://soundcloud.com/dennis-benjam...88/sly-rey-mp3

    My thoughts are likely pretty well known about Matt's work. Just recently I was afforded the opportunity to take another of his F5's for a spin. The consistency of tone is a hallmark of Matt's work for me.

  17. #186
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I've heard/played more than a couple of Matt's instruments and have been super impressed with all of them. Really quality work.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  18. #187
    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    How do the Ruhlands stack up against Gilchrist, Gibson Master Models, Duff, and other higher end/cost mandolins regarding volume and tone?
    John A. Karsemeyer

  19. #188

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Hi John,

    I have my perspective on an answer to your question but feel i should probably recuse myself. I'm clearly biased having owned and played more Ruhlands than some of the builders you mention. I do know that there is an article coming out soon that may speak to topics of interest regarding top builders, Matt's work etc. Now...i'm hoping my popcorn doesn't go to waste

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  21. #189
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I'll jump in - I own a Duff, a Heiden, a Sullivan and a Voight as well as a Ruhland F5 (and miraculously, I'm still married!!) and have previously owned a couple Nuggets.
    My Ruhland has the best volume and punch in my studio...holds up to any of them in terms of tone and playability. Very woody and resonant, crisp and articulate...and you can get all the way up the neck to the Florida and get great tone on the very high notes....not often the case with mandolins

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  23. #190

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I currently own a Duff, Kimble and Ruhland A. The Duff has been my main axe for a few years and people always remarked on how loud it is. The Ruhland is quite a bit louder than the Duff, like scary loud. I just recently took the Kimble in on a trade so haven't had much of a chance to A/B but the Ruhland is definitely the loudest instrument I have and one of the loudest I've played. Haven't had my hands on too many Gils or MMs, but it can certainly hold its own as far as volume and playability go. Tone is a pretty personal thing, so you'd have to decide for yourself on all that business. They sound great.

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  25. #191
    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Thanks for the input regarding comparisons. Now I'm wondering how Matt Ruhland does it???
    John A. Karsemeyer

  26. #192
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    Thanks for the input regarding comparisons. Now I'm wondering how Matt Ruhland does it???
    Couple thoughts:

    - Matt has an innate "way with wood." It's intangible.
    - He's a master craftsman
    - Flat out passionate about refining his art, seeking information, tips, knowledge, and sage advice, including from some of the legendary greats
    - He's a player

    He's not the only builder with these traits, but he does pull them together in a pretty magical way, especially this early in his mandolin building career.

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  28. #193
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Luna Pick View Post
    Couple thoughts:

    - Matt has an innate "way with wood." It's intangible.
    - He's a master craftsman
    - Flat out passionate about refining his art, seeking information, tips, knowledge, and sage advice, including from some of the legendary greats
    - He's a player

    He's not the only builder with these traits, but he does pull them together in a pretty magical way, especially this early in his mandolin building career.
    I was pondering how to say similar things. It is that 3rd point that really stands out to me. He is constantly working to learn and improve. I talk with Matt fairly regularly still, and he is always stoked when he gets feedback from players and builders.
    To speak to the request for comparisons, I will first state that I am no expect. I have played a few Kimble's, a couple Gilchrist's, a handful of Gibson's, probably 5 Heiden's, and 13 of Matt's mandolins. I have been able to directly A/B a couple Ruhland's against a Harvey signed Fern, a Kimble (the one currently at Greg Boyd's), a Gibson Flatiron, and a couple Heiden's. The Ruhland's have a very consistent punch that goes toe to toe with all of the above and outshines many of them. The one instrument I have played that stood out, perhaps above all of these, is Evan's Heiden F5.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Eastman 305 Octave
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  29. #194

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I have initiated a charm offensive to pry Evan's Heiden away...he is a fine player, and a handsome son of a gun:/

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