2012 RedLine Traveler Flatback Mandolin

RedLine Traveler mandolins have been really well-received by the mandolin community at large. While the Gibson-style "pancake" mandolins have been recreated in various ways by Flatiron and others time and again, these RedLines seem to be a bit more aggressive and punchy than the rest of the crowd and can really "do" bluegrass if you want to use them for it.

The neck profile and general "feel" is pretty close to an Alrite or Army/Navy Gibson, too, though the sound is miles different. Those old guys have the "pop" and Gibson burr to the sound like this but they're nowhere near as aggressive or punchy as these are.

This particular instrument has its own oddities and interest, though, aside from the "typical RedLine" thing. It's got myrtle (I believe) back and sides, ruddy mahogany binding, and a black spruce top with ebony board and bridge. The maker made a mistake, though, which I've done in the past. He must've sprayed lacquer over spray-paint black and the finish alligatored/veined as it dried. It looks like he liked the texture and "mistake" and then sprayed it a few more times to keep the finish tidy and make this a "feature." You can see this texture among the photos where I've put some glare on it to highlight it. I like it, myself -- it's different and reminds me of old Oscar Schmidt instruments from the '20s that alligator the finish like crazy as they age.

There was a little bit of fixing to be done (seal a couple repaired hairline cracks in the top and a glorified setup) but now it's ready to go and plays like a champ. It's fun and very quick in the left hand. The taller frets give a bit more mass, too, which means more get-up-and-go in the sound.

Repairs included: a fret dressing (just the ends), seal/clean-up job to a couple previously-repaired hairline cracks in the top (one on the "bottom" center seam below the soundhole and one to the bass side of the fretboard extension), and good setup.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid myrtle

Bracing type: hybrid (essentially ladder)

Bridge: ebony adjustable

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret: hair-under 1/16" (fast)
String gauges: 36w-10 lights

Neck shape: medium C/soft V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium

Scale length: 14"

Nut width: 1 1/8"

Body width: 9 3/4"

Body depth: 2"

Weight: 1 lb 15 oz

Condition notes: finish has "original" weather-check/alligatoring/ridging on the top but is clean on the back/sides. The tailpiece cover is missing. The frets are essentially unplayed. It has one longer hairline crack on the top below the soundhole and one shorter one next to the fretboard extension. Both are sealed and/or cleated as necessary.

It comes with: a gigbag.


7LiveFree7 said…
Thanks for the explanation of the top. I like it too!
What an excellent and unique mando!