Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

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Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:28 am

Rory Dowling of Taran Guitars, based in the East Neuk of Fife in Scotland, has been creating beautiful guitars for a number of years. A recent development is the build of a Sobell influenced 8 string mandolin, the prototype being completed last week.

You can hear this fine new instrument on the three videos here, and also an interview with Rory about the development.
The base price would appear to be £1399, which I think is very attractive for a high end instrument. I think Rory plans to build in batches of 5 over the course of a year.

https://vimeo.com/123505249

https://vimeo.com/123505248

https://vimeo.com/123505247

Kevin Macleod
http://kevinmacleod.co.uk
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby Dave Hanson » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:03 pm

Sounds excellent, nice job Rory [and nice playing Kevin ]

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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:31 pm

Thanks Dave, it is a fine instrument and a joy to play. We discussed a couple of wee improvements on from this prototype, which has now gone to Matheu Watson for a spell.

best wishes

Kevin Macleod
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby John Kelly » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:09 pm

The mandolin really suits the Scottish and Celtic (?) styles with its good sustain, judging from the videos Kevin has posted. Fine playing as always from KM himself; the pipe tunes are a joy to hear, Kevin.
JK Mandolins - handcrafted in Argyll, Scotland
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:04 pm

Thanks John, just trying to keep up with your own grand playing!
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Wed May 20, 2015 9:39 pm

I met luthier Rory Dowling at a music session in The Reverie in Edinburgh sometime around 2010. That evening, he was passing a guitar over in the pub to the talented Scottish guitarist Matheu Watson. It was a very beautiful looking instrument, gleaming white spruce and gorgeous curves, so I went and introduced myself to these guys to find out more about the guitar. I was suitably amazed to discover that one of these fellows was the actual maker of that stunning instrument, as there are not many luthiers in Scotland at all. We quickly struck up a friendship, and when Rory learnt of my small collection of instruments, including a Stefan Sobell mandolin and octave mandolin, I invited him round to take a look at them, as he was very interested in the Sobell style of instrument making, and had received a lot of support and encouragement from the man himself. We had a fascinating evening going over all my bouzoukis, resonators, mandolins and oddities like a 19th Century small Portuguese guitarra. It was clear to me that Rory really knew his stuff, and I learnt a lot of new details about my instruments that evening. Clearly, Rory was going places, and his move to a spectacular custom designed workshop in the East Neuk of Fife was a major statement of further developments.

Rory was particularily impressed with my small bodied 1983 four course Sobell mandolin, built in European spruce, Indian rosewood and a mahogany neck. At that stage he was making a lot of guitars, but in our many conversations, he was obviously keen to make a range of other instruments, and a fine Irish style bouzouki was completed, which eventually went to Matheu Watson about 4 years ago. I believe he made a couple of other ones too at that time. So he seemed keen to add to the guitar range, and to an extent return to instrument types that he had started on before his guitars took off. As things transpired, I left my Sobell mandolin with him in the Comie Law farm workshop last year for the fitting of a K&K pickup system, and I told him to keep it until he had got all the subtleties and details he might want from it. Later, Rory began his first mandolin prototype based on my mandolin, which gradually surfaced in 2014.

So, I was very excited to get a message early in 2015 to say the prototype was virtually complete, and could I try it out? The new instrument was very beautiful to look at, the wood being very fine, and the attention to detail and finish being very sharp, accurate and attractive. It, too, was of the same wood combination, but was also clearly a Taran instrument, which I liked a lot. It is not a Sobell copy, more of a homage to that approach. I was extremely taken with the powerful, balanced bell like sound, and ease of playability. We also discussed a few tiny tweaks, which should add to its cailbre. Rory and I created some short videos to demonstrate the instrument, and I took the opportunity to do a short, spontaneous interview Rory about the mandolin project. In conversation, I asked if he had a name for the range, and we decided then and there to christen it the "Springwell" mandolin after the title of my first solo mandolin album, which is named for my family crofthouse in Polbain in the far NW Highlands of Scotland in Coigach. Rory's other instruments have names from parts of The Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where Rory too has Highland connections, so it seemed doubly appropriate. I am very flattered that Rory chose to do this.

To date, the response to Rory's new mandolin has been wonderful, with, I gather, a series of orders coming in, and I look forward to seeing the first batch of 5 mandolins appear. It would be good to do a comparison of the various wood types Rory is proposing to utilise, including Scottish scamore. I am certain that the new "Springwell" will give the new owners many years worth of fine music and pleasure in the way that my 32 year old Sobell has done. There is also a Taran tenor guitar and a guitar-bouzouki in progress, so I hope we can do a similar exercise to let the world see how very fine the workmanship of Rory Dowling is.

You can catch up with Rory at his website http://www.taranguitars.co.uk/

©2015 Kevin Macleod | Website by Shed
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:22 pm

The folks at Taran Guitars have had a completely new website designed and released, including nice sections on their mandolins and bouzoukis as well as the guitar range. Might be of interest?

It's here

http://www.taranguitars.co.uk/

regards
Kevin Macleod
www.kevinmacleod.co.uk
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Re: Taran Guitar's new "Springwell" mandolin

Postby kmmandouk » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:07 pm

https://vimeo.com/171202098

A demo of the new Taran Guitar's "Springwell" mandolin range, might be of interest.
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