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Thread: Ratliff r5

  1. #1
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    Have a R5 on approval. The mando sounds pretty good. It is not exactly the tone I am looking for but I think it may be able to be tweaked into compliance. SOme of you guys and gals that own or have owned a Ratliff....what did you think? Some of you who have had them for awhile....how are they holding up?
    Yeah, Keep calling me Hillbilly........

  2. #2

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    I had a R5 that Audie built for me about 6 years ago that was awesome! Mine had spaunding maple and was a verry nice instrument. I think you will love yours. I did do some things to mine after I had it awhile to get it the way I wanted it. I tried several bridges one being a weber brekee bridge. I also put a one piece tail piece on it(I think it wa an allen). That really helped the sound out. The finish and set up was really great. You might want to try the new weber "traditional style bridge I have a weber and a micheal kelly both have this bridge and It is AWESOME!! My ratliff had a great chop and was verry loud, If mando jerremy is here he will agree with me on this. I hope you like it and let us know what you think when you get it. Good Luck.

  3. #3
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    I had a Ratliff for 2 or 3 years. It had the clearest highs and decent midrange. I found it lacking in the low register so I traded in on my current love (a Gibson F5-G). This Ratliff was really finished flawlessly and had a 1-piece back. If you have a chance, try to play it along with some other candidates. I was able to have my wife participate in a blind test and the Ratliff came out the loser. I have heard a lot of folks praise the Ratliff, perhaps mine was not a typical example.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Yes siree, Gabriel did have one killer Ratliff mando and his Weber rips it also!
    If F-model mandolins have F-holes then why don't A-model mandolins have A-holes???

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    Jim,
    I had played three others prior to this one and I know exactly what you are talking about. This particular instrument has decent low end and the highs are good. The volume was great but then I noticed the action was cranked up there. I lowered the action and it did cut down on the volume a little but the "playing speed" improved.

    Gabriel---I would be interested in what effect the new bridge and tail piece had on your tone.

    MandoJeremy----What did you like about the mando.

    Sorry for all the questions.....I just want to compare my "tasting" notes with your impressions. I have to make my decision by the end of today. My overall impression is that it is a good mando for the money...under 2500.00...It ain't a Gilchrist but hey....very few are::
    Yeah, Keep calling me Hillbilly........

  6. #6

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    futrconslr,
    The bridge can have huge efects on the tone and feel of a mandolin. In general if you have a good quality mando built by some one who knows what there doing and uses quality wood (like Ratliff) then playing with the set up and hardware is a personal preferance and you just monky with it till it sounds and plays the way "you" like. Bridges and tail pices.....
    ect. ect. do change the way a mandolin sounds but they effect each one differently. If you know how to fit a bridge and space the strings yourself then you can do lots of experements and find what you like best without spending lots of money on labor. Changing a tail piece is nothing. I think you stand a good chance of liking the Ratliff the way it is when you get it.
    Good Luck and Post back if you have any questions.

    P.S. I think mando jeremy can help you a lot with this one. He may also be able to make other suggestions on "hardware" and might be able to get it for you!!

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    futrconslr, Gabriels Ratliff had a very loud chop and very good low end, as well as having a good high end. It was a pretty balanced mandolin. I just sold one at the store I work at and it wasn't the loudest because of the cheap bridge that was on it but it still had great tone with a nice woody sound. I would say that they are one of the best buys for under $2500 but I would also get in touch with Keith Murchison and check on his Scot mandos because they are about $2500 for an F-style. Bottom line is you will probably want to play the Ratliff before you buy because I have played one that wasn't so good. Hope this helps.
    If F-model mandolins have F-holes then why don't A-model mandolins have A-holes???

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    Im keeping the Ratliff.......It is decent across the board.....has potential to be ALOT better. Plus there is some kinda mojo thing going on....it s like its calling my name from the case.....or is that the voices in my head....anyway, I am going to investigate a new bridge and am definately taking it for a professional set-up. I have played alot of better mandolins for more money and alot of crappier sounding instruments for more money, and I think this was the way to go. Yes, I HAVE to have a scroll.......If you guys want I will keep you updated on the set-up/bridge changes, etc.......also, If you guys have an opinion (I cant imagine anyone on THIS board having an opinion) about a bridge give me some suggestions. Thanks for all your imput and feedback....I appreciate it. Time to go to church....later
    Yeah, Keep calling me Hillbilly........

  9. #9
    Registered User DannyB's Avatar
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    I love mine...Every day I play it, it just gets better. I have a brekke bridge for it but I haven't installed it yet. As good as it sounds I always try to improve the sound. Mine has the deep tones and great volume. I have heard better mandos on occasion but for me the question is, were they 2 to 6 grand better?? Call me a believer in Audey's work.... By the way mine is a 96 model.
    Danny

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    Danny, Did you get the F or the A? Mine is a 98.
    Yeah, Keep calling me Hillbilly........

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