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Jeff Runyon

Jeff Runyon

Just wanna say how happy I am with both my custom (shorter scale) octave mandolins!

   I have had the Sage #1 for over a year, and it's gotten lotsa use performing and at Rendezvous. Along with my main pickin' partner Joe (playing the penny whistle in the attached photo) we perform Celtic and Old time music as "R&R" (Runyon & Readnour) which prominently features the ocatve mandolin along with fiddle, guitar, whistles, and bagpipes. While the octave is not a period correct instrument for Rendezvous (re-enacting the period of 1750 to around 1820), the sound seems to fit the "period" music we play. I believe we are playing "Road to Lisdoonvarna" in the pic.

    The Absaroka octave mandolin arrived the Friday before Xmas ('06), and I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am with sound. Such sustain, clarity, and projection! Woody, yet bell-like. Prior to ordering it I spoke with Mary at length about what I wanted, and she was most helpful in helping me choose the right configuration (ie:bracing, bridge) to optimize the sound, with the shorter (20-inch) scale as a major consideration. I wanted a carved top instrument with a more complex, woody tone that would "cut thru" a bit better than the Sage. As far as I am concerned, it's on the money. I took it to my brother Tim's house the next day. He's an accomplished mandolin player and fiddler who has a pretty critical ear. I walked in his kitchen and strummed a chord...all he said was, "WOW! Do they make regular scale mandolins that sound this good?" Thought I was gonna have to pry it outa his hands by the end of the visit.

    These instruments are so much fun, and so versatile. I have used them for old-time, Celtic, hymns, Christmas carols (great duos), etc. They work& nbsp;well for accompanying vocals solo (especially the Absaroka), and I have gotten special kick out of adapting a few banjo tunes to them. Frankly, my guitars aren't getting the attention they are used to getting.

   I also wanna mention how impressed I am with the business philosophy/customer service at STE. When I had minor saddle problems with the Sage early on (my fault), Bruce made me two saddles (with measurements I gave Mary) before I was satisfied with the height and final action. That was above and beyond the call IMO. Thanks for that.

    Again, thanks to Mary, Bruce, and all the STE folks for making such fine instruments. Oh, and a special thanks to the guy who had to go find the heavier gauge strings I requested.

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