2010s Recording King RA-998-E Resonator Mandolin

These modern Recording King resonator mandos are still being made, though I'm not too sure if it's as easy to find the engraved models right now. This one is every bit the same as the "usual" RA-998 model except that it has "lily of the valley" etching/engraving all over the body. It's a clean instrument, save minor signs of use, and is roughly about 10 years old. I initially thought it was older but that's because I associate these import resonator instruments with the old Johnson brand gear from around 2000 and my brain just has not caught up. I suppose I can't help it as I live in a world of wonderful vintage kit!

These repro-style resonators are based on the old National instruments and they ape them pretty well, with similar internal construction and a similar extra-long scale length (closer to mandola scale than mandolin) which very-much suits down-tuning. I currently have this one tuned E below mandolin's G (so EBF#C# rather than GDAE). I do this standard on National-style instruments because the long scale means standard pitch feels really tense, gives the instrument an "uptight" sound, and is hard on strings as well. I usually use a very light gauge (32w-9) mandolin set at most for standard pitch on these.

An interesting thing to note on this guy is that the gauge of the body's metal is thinner than comparable modern (US-made) National Resophonic guitars and more akin to the gauges used in the original 1930s Nationals. It gives the tone an airier, bouncier feel.

Recording King specifies that the cones in these are Eastern European in origin and, fair enough - it sounds good. My work was only a glorified setup and after it the instrument plays fast and spot-on and is ready to go.

Repairs included: saddle adjustment and compensation, cone seating, setup.

Body: metal

Cone type: single cone

Bridge: maple

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: maple

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

Neck shape: medium C

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-smaller

Scale length: 14 7/8"

Nut width: 1 5/16"

Body width: 12 3/4"

Body depth: 2 1/2"

Weight: 4 lbs 7 oz

Condition notes: it's clean with only minor handling wear throughout and a little discoloration in the fretboard and bumps along the fretboard binding. It's all-original, too.

It comes with: a nice "flight-style" gigbag/case.


Jimmeh said…
Will you post to Australia? If so, how much would it cost?