Rigel Mandolin

16 February 2002

The Stuff Dreams are Made Of (Photos below)
Sometimes dreams do come true. One of mine did when I was able to acquire this Rigel CT-110 Atomic Master Model. Words fall completely short of describing the amazing dynamic range, tonal qualities, balance, playability and great feel of this instrument. I wasn't too crazy about the color scheme at first but after a short time I've come around to loving it. Besides, my prime criteria by far are acoustic properties and playability. This one is brilliant in both regards.

How Do They Get That Amazing Sound?
The construction method behind the CT-110, G-110, R-100, A-Plus, E-110 and Resophonic mandolins is wholly unique. The body is carved from a solid block of Vermont maple, the interior coved and the exterior radiused, resulting in a rim of great strength, integrity and considerable acoustic advantage, without the need for binding or liner blocks which interrupt the transmission of reflected string vibration.

The carved maple back and carefully voiced spruce top are set into the rim, increasing strength and augmenting the rim’s properties. Rigel luthiers have the additional luxury of being able to string up and test the instrument before the top is glued in place. If the tone is anything less than superb, the top is easily and quickly removed and the braces shaved or the top re-graduated, resulting in great consistency of sound.

Rigel uses its own elegant, one-piece, down-hooked tailpieces that allow for lightning fast string changes. In most of the instruments there is a passive piezo that allows for the most accurate amplified mandolin sound to be found. At most volume levels, EQ and preamp are necessary for the best quality sound reproduction. There is none of the brittle, harsh quality so often associated with bridge pickups and there is no negative effect on the instrument’s acoustic properties. As Jimmy Gaudreau says "Acoustically, Rigels sound as good or better than anything out there. Plugged in, nothing sounds as good."

The playability is enhanced by a radiused fingerboard with jumbo frets. The fingerboard is "scooped" away (see the photos below) at the body end to minimize pick interference. The elevated pickguard provides a solid base for the pinky of the pick hand without damping the top. Sometimes I'm amazed to feel sound waves on my left hand as this powerhouse instrument punches out the notes.

I enjoyed meeting and doing business with Dale Cater (TXCaterD@aol.com), the Rigel dealer in Mineola, Texas. My time in Texas was very limited and he was quite accomodating with his time and assistance. Thanks Dale!

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Top view from the head.
Top view from center.
Top view from tail.
Side view from the horn.
Side view from the middle.
Side view from the pin.
Back of the neck.
Back of the body.

Music/ Rigel Mandolin

Rigel Mandolins