This instrument bears a serial number of 012009, indicating a completion
date of Jan. 20, 2009. Ron Oats' instruments are played by Michael Kang
of the String Cheese Incident, and are highly sought after by jazz and jamband
players. They're also notoriously hard to get, with the exception of this
Triple-bound mahogany body with flame maple top and back
in honey sunburst. Flame maple neck. Rosewood headstock overlay and fretboard
with jumbo frets and MOP inlays. Truss rod cover inlaid with lightning bolt.
Nickel tuners and Randy Allen tailpiece. "Rono" banner on headstock. Scale
length is just short of 19 inches. It has a 10-inch resonator cone with
biscuit bridge. Single soundhole—don't worry, it's plenty loud. Onboard
pickup: plug in and it's even louder. Fantastic crisp resophonic tone with
a bit of a metallic edge, tempered by the warmth of the wood.
Some folks would call this a "baritone mandolin." I prefer
to think of it as either a long-scale tenor mandola or a short-scale, double-strung
tenor guitar. It sounds fantastic in CGDA or even DAEB tuning. I've also
tried it as an octave mandolin in GDAE, but to my ears it's a little muddy
there. Anyway, a resophonic mandolin is a joy forever, and a big one is
a joy for even longer than that. It's perfect for blues, alt-country or
just about any kind of acoustic-based string music where a little twang
is permitted. Near-mint condition; just a couple of marks on the back of
the peghead. Comes with a handmade hardshell case by the late Kirkland,
Wash., luthier Dick Linke. Listen to a demo clip
for more information. $2,950 plus shipping.