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Thread: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

  1. #1
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    Default Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    my last mandolin purchase(how many times have you said that-lol). seriously arranging things for the down hill trot in retirement. i've always liked the few i've heard on video from carter vintage, there's a tone there that captivates.

    would enjoy hearing from owners about your Duff A.

    what i'm seeing so far are 1 1/16" nut widths and flat fretboards. is that the typical spec for his standard builds? flat boards don't bother me at all, in fact there are times i seem to prefer them. the 1 1/16" will take some getting used to but i think it will work-won't know till i try.

    anything you think of and care to share please do. Carters has a used one and new one right now. the used one is better for me-less $ and i don't need the K&K the new one has.


    thank you
    d
    Last edited by darylcrisp; Jan-15-2022 at 6:04am.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Not a current Duff owner, but I've had a couple of his A5s. The necks are a fairly sharp V with just a little too much depth to them for my hand. I don't think the depth is excessive--I just prefer a shallower neck. Slim--no meat in the shoulders. The string spacing he uses at the nut makes the 1 1/16" nut play easily. You wouldn't know it was a 1 1/16" nut unless you measured it. He uses the smaller mandolin frets if that makes a difference to you.

    There is a strong thunk of the wood in the tone that's very attractive. Strong fundamental to the tone too. Strong mandolins.

    I'd go with the used one. I think it has EVO frets, so even if they are the small ones, they will last you a very long time.
    Palatable to a Goat: Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Thanks Don. That told me exactly what I need to know.
    d

  5. #4

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Go for it. His current As are outstanding and pretty consistent. They can go head to head with anything out there. Iíve tried and itís as good or better than just about anything. Fat fundamental tone, strong mid range. I couldnít live with the small frets so had Lynn Dudenbostel do a refret with big evos. Iíve had some top shelf mandolins come and go but the Duff seems to stick around.

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    I did not anticipate my Stiver build having a 1 1/16 nut. At first I wasn’t liking it. Did not take long to adjust and maybe now prefer it. No problem now moving between mandolins with varying nut widths.
    As per flat fret boards I experience not always fretting clean notes on the AA and DD strings.
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Hey daryl,

    I own a recent duff A5 and chose it over a lengthy trial period during which I played a few of your mandos! I have played the k&k A5 at carters and it is nearly identical to mine. The necks are very small. 1 1/16 I believe. Very vee shaped. I love the neck profile and playability but it might not be for everyone. I do not love dee or cee shaped necks and baseball bats like dl Gibson's or webers actually hurt my elbows. I can't say enough about the duff As post 2015 for value and tone. If you'd like to play mine I'm still in Abingdon. PM for my phone number if you wanna talk about it. You know duff will be in Abingdon later this year for Monroe camp. And local hero Thomas Cassell is getting a mando from him then.

    Chris

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    I own a 2019 Duff A5. Slim neck, makes full G easier for aging hands , big presence and tone. Small frets. Plays easy and gives most all it's headroom with a light chop. Amazing. I will never part with it.
    2019 Duff A-5 #246
    2020 Craig Wilson WA-5 "Griffith Loar" replica
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.burcher View Post
    Hey daryl,

    I own a recent duff A5 and chose it over a lengthy trial period during which I played a few of your mandos! I have played the k&k A5 at carters and it is nearly identical to mine. The necks are very small. 1 1/16 I believe. Very vee shaped. I love the neck profile and playability but it might not be for everyone. I do not love dee or cee shaped necks and baseball bats like dl Gibson's or webers actually hurt my elbows. I can't say enough about the duff As post 2015 for value and tone. If you'd like to play mine I'm still in Abingdon. PM for my phone number if you wanna talk about it. You know duff will be in Abingdon later this year for Monroe camp. And local hero Thomas Cassell is getting a mando from him then.

    Chris
    Hey Chris
    I was thinking of you when I started looking at these. I remembered you had picked one up after a lot of research and hands on. Good to hear from you. Thank you for the reply.
    I'm actually living in Ky taking care of my parents, since Dec 2020. Highly appreciate the offer to check yours out but I can't leave the folks and I don't have anyone else to watch them.
    Hope your family is well. I seem to remember you may have had a new baby around that time.
    Thanks again for your info.
    d

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    I thank everyone for the replies and info. This is all spot on with what I need to hear.
    I forgot that that I have owned a flat board Weber that was 1 3/32 at the nut and it didn't bother me, actually found it efficient for my playing.

    I also have a flat board Gibson prototype oval hole A that is flat but 1 1/8", and has the smallest frets I've ever seen, and those work fine for me. All your replies are giving me great info to consider and be aware of.
    At the least I would only be out shipping to and from if it didn't work out.
    I sure am drawn to the tone of these.
    d

  15. #10

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    I own a 2019 Duff A5 as well and itís fantastic. I have always liked the mandolin since I got it from Paul but now I love it, itís tone seems to continue to develop for the better over time and itís responsive and plays and projects well. Mine actually has a radiused board and 1 1/8Ē nut width as I ordered it that way along with some other minor modifications to suit my taste. The small frets took time to get used to but I no longer have any issue with them and perhaps actually prefer them.

    I also have played the one with the K&K currently at Carterís which in my opinion is an excellent instrument, crisp clear tone with good projection and traditional aesthetic (I believe it had larger frets on it too).

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Barnicoat View Post
    I own a 2019 Duff A5 as well and it’s fantastic. I have always liked the mandolin since I got it from Paul but now I love it, it’s tone seems to continue to develop for the better over time and it’s responsive and plays and projects well. Mine actually has a radiused board and 1 1/8” nut width as I ordered it that way along with some other minor modifications to suit my taste. The small frets took time to get used to but I no longer have any issue with them and perhaps actually prefer them.

    I also have played the one with the K&K currently at Carter’s which in my opinion is an excellent instrument, crisp clear tone with good projection and traditional aesthetic (I believe it had larger frets on it too).
    Thank you Morgan.
    Every reply gives me something more. I appreciate each and every one of them.

    Did the fretboard difference seem to bother you much with the one at carters?

    d

  18. #12

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    Thank you Morgan.
    Every reply gives me something more. I appreciate each and every one of them.

    Did the fretboard difference seem to bother you much with the one at carters?

    d
    The flat board did not bother me personally but appreciate that others may feel more strongly one way or the other. I actually sought that mandolin ought for that reason to play it awhile to see how it felt as I have an F5 on order with Paul currently and decided to go with the flat board for a change.

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  20. #13

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    At the time I got mine I was playing an Ellis with a radius board, and I considered getting a new radius fretboard because I was concerned about it and it turned out to make no difference at all and getting a new fretboard would have been a costly unnecessary change.

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Paul Duff builds incredible mandolins - as Josh said, they stand up to the best - and somehow they remain a bit under-appreciated. I have a 2017 Duff A5 that I sold in an attack of stupidity a year ago and just bought back...it's here to stay. The neck and the flat board are fantastic to play. I had the same reaction Don did. I was shocked when I measured the nut because it plays like a mandolin with a wide nut. Love the woody pop and fundamental tone Paul gets from his mandolins. He has studied Loars, he's a Monroe fanatic and his mandolins reflect that. Buy one!!!!
    1998 John Sullivan A5
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    Paul Duff builds incredible mandolins - as Josh said, they stand up to the best - and somehow they remain a bit under-appreciated. I have a 2017 Duff A5 that I sold in an attack of stupidity a year ago and just bought back...it's here to stay. The neck and the flat board are fantastic to play. I had the same reaction Don did. I was shocked when I measured the nut because it plays like a mandolin with a wide nut. Love the woody pop and fundamental tone Paul gets from his mandolins. He has studied Loars, he's a Monroe fanatic and his mandolins reflect that. Buy one!!!!
    well, appears "its a wrap".
    everything seems like its the right time for this type of mandolin to enter into my life. i have two Webers i'm extremely fond of, and for this last one i'm wanting this sort of woody fundamental tone that i hear in the Duffs (and Heidens). The Duffs are more in my $ range, and available at Carters, so it couldn't be easier.

    thanks for the reply to the thread and the info you provided.

    d

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    i remember seeing this video around the time it was posted in 2016, that started my desire for a Duff. Marc is a monster player, but you can hear a great mandolin there also. they have a classic look. i would think i've watched this video 100 times at least thru the years.

    hopefully its still there monday and the owner(its consigned) accepts my offer.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mSUvd1kDJk

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    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Hereīs a little recording from my Duff A5:



    Itīs from 2016.
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    My arsenal: Piguet Swiss Bandolim -- Epiphone Recording A Banjo -- 1923 Gibson Snakehead A -- Duff A5 -- Flatiron A5 Artist -- Chanticleer Reso Tenor Guitar -- Beeton Reso Tenor Guitar -- Kai TŲnjes Bouzouki -- 1926 Gibson TB3 -- Manzanita Guitars (Manfred Pietrzok) Style F -- Manzanita Guitars Parlor Guitar -- Ibanez AS60 Artist 1984

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    Hereīs a little recording from my Duff A5:



    Itīs from 2016.
    That was excellent, thank you for posting!
    d

  30. #19

    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    That video is great. Great playing and tone there. Here is a much lower quality production video comparing my 2017 Duff A5 with a 2006 Gil F5 from another thread:


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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Levine View Post
    That video is great. Great playing and tone there. Here is a much lower quality production video comparing my 2017 Duff A5 with a 2006 Gil F5 from another thread:

    Josh, I've watched your videos on YT a lot in the past also. You always have high quality instruments and it's neat to hear them side by side. Watched them last night-every one of them with the Duff.
    Thanks for posting those.
    d

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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    well, a further development and its actually funny, i've been playing a 1 1/16" nut width for about 2 years now and didn't realize it-lol. its a flat board and the smallest frets i've ever seen on anything-they are teeny tiny. but it plays great and intonates amazing, its actually as easy for me to play as my two more modern style Webers(radius board and large frets etc). its a different feel but takes me only a minute of playing to get into flat board mode. i was playing it tonight and at some point i was looking it over-hadn't played it in a while and was really appreciating the little guy-thinking i really need to play this more its so good, looked at the nut and thought, "that really looks smaller than my webers(1 1/8"). measured it and sure enough, dead on 1 1/16".

    its a Flatiron/Gibson prototype oval hole that Dennis had at TMS. it has a neat story, it survived the Nashville flood because it was upstairs high up on a rack. then was put in a storage closet for a few years and forgotten about. seems to have been sold maybe to an employee at some point, things get blurred about then. its a great mandolin and amazing loud but sweet and woody. satin finish, beautiful wood, light as a feather.

    what TMS said about it in the shop listing:
    The Flatiron A-4 Prototype – built around 2006 and like new. This mandolin sounds amazing…….I’m blown away!

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    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    I've got a 2018 A5 from Paul. It's excellent. I was talking with Andrew Marlin when I was shopping around for a new instrument and he advised something that stuck with me. Obviously there are lots of choices out there but he said many of the new and even high-end mandos are bass-heavy. But he said mandolin doesn't need lots of bass and it was in fact the mid range that he looked for in the music that he was doing. As much as I like Collings mandos I now find them mostly too bassy for me.

    This Duff is strong in the mid, very responsive (and with fast note-decay), and the neck/board/frets make it play really fast for me. I'm able to play some bluegrass melodies and licks faster on it than on other instruments.

    Before I got the Duff I was looking for a Gibson A5L for a long time, but I rarely see those for sale. I was interested in that traditional design with the full pickguard and bracket and this Duff was the only one I saw for a while that had it. It was also the only one I've seen in memory with birdseye in the back, sides, and neck and that really grabbed me.

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    Finally, getting it from Carter Vintage was my first experience buying an expensive instrument sight-unseen over the internet and they were great to work with. There really is no risk if you can pay the shipping and insurance both ways. But, I highly doubt you'll be sending back if you get it sent to you! It took me 20 minutes out of the case to realize I was not returning it.

    Cheers,
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  37. #23
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Scheduled Delivery Date: Thursday, 01/20/2022

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  39. #24
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    Scheduled Delivery Date: Thursday, 01/20/2022
    Congrats Daryl. I was about to ask if you ended up pulling the trigger on one. I've been watching those Duff on Carter's website myself and would love to hear your thoughts.
    Last edited by Clement Barrera-Ng; Jan-18-2022 at 7:09pm.

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  41. #25
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    Default Re: Duff A style mandolins, like to hear owner thoughts, some ?

    You won't go wrong.
    2019 Duff A-5 #246
    2020 Craig Wilson WA-5 "Griffith Loar" replica
    1964 Martin A

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