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Thread: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

  1. #1
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Had a chance to visit Matt Ruhland's shop yesterday for an informal open house and jam celebrating the completion of his latest batch of 6 A model mandolins. By the time I got there there were just two left that were not spoken for and they were both incredible. Light powerful with fantastic tone. Two of the best mandolins I have ever played and I have few pretty good ones. Congrats Matt!

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  3. #2
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I am eagerly awaiting November 1st when I will have the opportunity to meet Matt and try out a mandolin or 2. I believe today is also his birthday.
    Last edited by Willem; Oct-22-2018 at 2:42pm. Reason: typo
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

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  5. #3

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    I missed the open house yesterday. Nice to hear things apparently went well. I hear about Mr. Ruhland about hmm 1 1/2 ago I guess. I always wanted to meet him and see his work. Recently having had the chance I understand the praise. Very good guy, exceptional tone and play-ability, power in his mandolins. I would dig hearing from folks who own his Mandos! I hope you enjoy your time at his shop on Nov 1st Willem. Would love to hear your impressions of his mandolins. Congrats Matt.
    Last edited by Old Growth; Oct-22-2018 at 8:21pm.

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  7. #4

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

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  9. #5
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Growth View Post
    I missed the open house yesterday. Nice to hear things apparently went well. I hear about Mr. Ruhland about hmm 1 1/2 ago I guess. I always wanted to meet him and see his work. Recently having had the chance I understand the praise. Very good guy, exceptional tone and play-ability, power in his mandolins. I would dig hearing from folks who own his Mandos! I hope you enjoy your time at his shop on Nov 1st Willem. Would love to hear your impressions of his mandolins. Congrats Matt.
    I will certainly report my impressions in this thread.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

  10. #6

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Sorry I missed that open house as I've been trying to get to see him for sometime. How was it advertised?


    Cafe member Golfunit has one, and its quite nice, with several others being played by band members around Portland.
    Play it like you mean it.

  11. #7
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Well, as luck would have it, I was able to pick on one of Matt's earlier x-braced F5's for a while today. I believe it was #17 or possibly 20 owned by Chuck Holloway. It was as loud and punchy a mandolin as I have played yet. Wonderful trebles and mids. Nice balance of brightness and warmth. I was impressed and left more excited to visit with Matt.
    Last edited by Willem; Oct-24-2018 at 6:33pm. Reason: Just because

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  13. #8

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Sorry I missed that open house as I've been trying to get to see him for sometime. How was it advertised?


    Cafe member Golfunit has one, and its quite nice, with several others being played by band members around Portland.
    He posted about in on his Ruhland Mandolins facebook page and on his personal page.

  14. #9

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    So,

    I broke down and bought one. I am the proud owner of #30 and boy does it have a lot to say. It will go head to head volume wise with my Duff and my Duff is loooud. The top is made of AK Sitka from a decommissioned bridge. When I get around to it I will post a video or soundclip this weekend. He is down to one more, the identical twin to mine, also made with bridge wood. They are very close, but #30 spoke to me a little more.

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  16. #10

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Willem, Josh...thanks for sharing your news/experience with the Ruhland's. My comments are not intended to be inappropriate or unfair. My personal experience as a 59 year old musician of many years and many high quality instruments lead me to my sentiments about Matt's tone, play-ability etc. I have been incredibly fortunate to have reached a point where I own a few top notch mandolins. Red Diamond, Apitius and over the years several wonderful Northfields. Recently, as I have indicated in the Ruhland threads, I have the pleasure of housing two of Matt's A5's. When i was a kid in my 20's, I heard about Nugget while living in the Colorado front range area. A couple of buddies and I found a way to purchase Nugget A5's. It was a game changer. All of us became life long Nugget enthusiasts, in the extreme..Lol...every mandolin we each played or purchased or dreamed about were compared to the Nugget standard. We all continue to do that to this day.
    In a nutshell...when I play the two Ruhland A5's they both scream, Nugget, to me. I'm just an old man who loves quality instruments. Thanks for your time. Happy Pick'in out there folks.

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  18. #11

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Welp. Here ya go. Just some messing around on the couch... yup it is a killer. This is after a week of strings on it...
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  20. #12

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Hi Josh....maybe its just me and my laptop but I don't see a video of you playing that nice A5. HELP!

  21. #13

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Levine View Post
    Welp. Here ya go. Just some messing around on the couch... yup it is a killer. This is after a week of strings on it...
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    Josh, That seems awfully quiet to me. And I'm not that deaf!

    And we nonFacebookers will never see those invites unless friends tell us
    Play it like you mean it.

  22. #14

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Josh, That seems awfully quiet to me. And I'm not that deaf!

    And we nonFacebookers will never see those invites unless friends tell us
    Bill, maybe you need to turn up "your in-ear monitors"... I have a hard time keep tracking of all my MAS co-conspirators, but I am sure if you email Matt he would get you on his list of mando tasters. Although, I believe at this point all of the As are spoken for and his next batch of 5 Fs is all spoken for.

    Old Growth, not sure why some browsers don't show videos (cookies). I get it on my cell but not chrome or safari on my computer. Here is the youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoivIUkMo-g

  23. #15

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Thanks Josh...nice play'in, that old Alaskan bridge Sitka Spruce has a nice tone to it. I think your mando had strings put on last Sunday morning about 2 am if I recall/for the first time. That instrument is going to explode very soon, I'm thinking. Very nice, shame all those Mandos are gone now.

  24. #16
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Mr. Ruhland is going to have himself a waiting list. Well-deserved. I'm glad I snagged the last F in next the batch! I picked out a nice piece of that Sitka from the old bridge in Alaska for my top. Looking forward to hearing Ruhland #30 being played live by Joshua Levine with the Filthy Skillets tomorrow afternoon at the Laurelthirst!

  25. #17
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Eugene and Portland never seemed so far away...

  26. #18

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Hey Willem...i was able to drag myself down to hear Josh and his friend play for a few minutes yesterday. Nice play'in, good 'ol Bluegrass purity. A fun time had by all. That A5 Ruhland Josh was pick'in filled the room. It was woody, with a great balance between, warm sweet tones and cutting mids and highs. The thing is a week old and it sounded darn good. Thanks Josh...is there a recording or video anywhere of the show/mando?

  27. #19
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Well, I got to visit with Matt today and play a couple instruments, see the shop, and begin discussing woods. Matt has clearly done his research and invested himself in his art. His mandolins are what I knew them to be already; loud, crisp, throaty, and well balanced bluegrass machines. I will be getting an A5 from him once the current F's are done. Matt was very welcoming and informative. Truly a pleasure. I will say my Morris (I will be keeping it) handled itself tonally very well next to the Ruhlands, but with Matt's hand rubbed varnish and other finish touches these are a step up for sure. My wife goofed on getting a video of us playing, but I will try to include a pic with Matt playing the Morris and me on Ruhland 26 (I think).

  28. #20
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]172286[Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	172286/ATTACH] i.e.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

  29. #21

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Congrats on your trip Willen. Welcome to the family of Ruhland owners(soon to be). That's a nice looking mandolin you are holding right there.

  30. #22
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Growth View Post
    Congrats on your trip Willen. Welcome to the family of Ruhland owners(soon to be). That's a nice looking mandolin you are holding right there.
    It was fine in all regards! Yours by chance?

  31. #23

    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Number 27 does normally live at my house, yes. I love that thing. Glad you had a chance to visit with Matt. What tone-woods did you decide to use on your A5, if I might ask?

  32. #24
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Growth View Post
    Number 27 does normally live at my house, yes. I love that thing. Glad you had a chance to visit with Matt. What tone-woods did you decide to use on your A5, if I might ask?
    Thank you for making it available! We haven't picked specific pieces yet other than it will be topped with the bridge sitka.

  33. #25
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: In praise of mandolin builder Matt Ruhland

    Smart move choosing the Sitka from that old bridge in Alaska for your top. That's what I chose for my F in the next batch. i have a feeling those tops will be legendary some day...like "the Tree"...or the Heiden Heritage barn wood...

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