Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Any mando players out there have any experience of these instruments? My Ozark mandolin is fine for playing at home, or plugged in at ceilidhs , but just doesnt cut it acoustically at sessions - this is of course envisioning a future where sessions and ceilidhs become part of normal life again! One thing i’ve noticed about the Ashbury Reso from the online pictures, it appears to lack the lack the small triangular access plate behind the nut where the neck adjustment would normally be - does that mean no truss rod? In normal times I would go to my local Hobgoblin store for practical advise but these ain’t normal times……………?

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Hi Christy,
If you can afford it the National RM1 mandolin is much better. It sounds like a loud mandolin.

The Ashbury might be better after a good set up though. The ones I’ve played had a sort of brash novelty sound. Not a bad sound just might not be what you’re looking for.

Wow just looked at the prices of RM 1 though. I wouldn’t pay that much. I had one on loan for a while.

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Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

I had exactly the same problem and bought a second hand RM1 a year ago. Agreed, they are rather expensive, but I am really happy with it, as it sounds good and has all the volume I need for sessions. It came well set-up and is a dream to play.
The set up makes all the difference concerning playability, then even a cheap instrument can be nice to play.
I use flatwound strings as they have a mellower sound, I can imagine they would also improve the sound of a brash instrument considerably. More expensive but last forever.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Yeah, I would love an RM1 but the price is ridiculous.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Among the mandolin players I know, the National RM-1 is the one to get if you’re going in this direction. I wouldn’t say the price is ridiculous, as it’s made in the USA with corresponding high labor costs compared to PacRim imports, and the setup and fret work is very good.

The only complaint I have with the National rm-1 design is that it has a slightly wider than normal nut and neck width, maybe to make it more attractive to transitioning guitar players? Personally, I like the narrower "Gibson standard" nut width, because it makes it easier to fret across two double courses with one finger tip. That, and the price, is why I’ve never picked up an RM-1 and prefer my Lebeda archtop mandolin. But I’ve always been tempted to try one. I could probably cut a new nut for narrower spacing and that might work. Maybe one of these days…

By the way, many RM-1 players use flatwound strings — either Thomastik "Stark" (expensive!) or others — which helps darken and bring out a bit more "woody" quality in the tone. That’s one thing you could try on a less expensive resonator mandolin, to damp down some of the harsh tone.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

thanks dunnp and everyone - regrettably the National is way out of my price range so it will have to be the Ashbury or nothing- I dont necessarily object to a ‘brash’ sound, after all, what ‘s a tenor banjo if not brash? I think I will sign up to Mandolin Cafe and see what the folks there have to say.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Christy, you’ll get all the feedback you want at Mandolin Cafe, but I’d suggest running a search on resonator mandolins first. There’s been a ton of info posted over the years.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

Thanks Conical.
ps dunnp one of the Youtubes you posted was a guy playing a ‘Recording King’ mando - it looks remarkably like the Ashbury, is it basically the same instrument with just a different logo?

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

I made a homemade resonator mandolin. I find that I like playing it with only one string per course. It has a sweeter sound that way and still plenty of volume. Perhaps when changing strings you could try that out.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

I play a Stuart Wailing resonator mandolin. You might want to look him up. In my opinion, around £500 is a good price for a hand-made instrument. It’s certainly loud, mind, and if you played full-out you might not be popular in every session… That is why I got it, though, to be heard in loud pubs during sinaglongs and unamplified performances. However, a certain level of subtlety is indeed possible.

https://stuartwailingresonators.000webhostapp.com/mandolin.html

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

thanks Pibydd, havent come across these before - nice looking instrument. Unfortunately couldn’t get the audio clips to play, maybe i’ll have a search through Youtube

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

No probs. Mine has a pick-up but I know our sound man doesn’t like micing it up, by the way.

I can send you a clip if you need a listen.

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

As for the lack of a truss for cover, this could mean it’s either just a steel reinforced neck or that accessing the truss for has to be done through the body (which may be a pain in the patootie with a resonator). Steel reinforced is just a length of tubing placed in a slot under the fingerboard, and they are then not adjustable (some makers are using carbon graphite rods or slabs instead of steel).

Re: Ashbury Resonator mandolins

thanks Chuck. Pibydd, I had another go at playing the wailing sound clips, 1-6, not a peep out of them.
So I will take you up on your offer , cheers