Don MacRostie is one of our favorite mandolin builders, and back in the mid-1990s Gryphon proudly stocked his Red Diamond mandolins. Sadly for us, but great for him, he quickly earned a reputation for making some of the finest mandolins around and his waitlist got so long he could no longer supply us with mandolins. Consequently, we are always happy to get one of his used mandolins. This particular instrument is special, even for a luthier renowned for making special instruments.
Dubbed the Vintage Two Point, this mandolin was crafted for exhibit at the "Art of Our Appalachian Wood" show back in 2020. Unlike most Red Diamonds, which are firmly in the Gibson tradition, this mandolin has an asymmetrical two point body, which recalls the classic Lyon & Healy mandolins of the early 1920s. The top is carved from torrified Appalachian spruce, the back and sides are highly figured maple and it has a honey-colored varnish finish. It has a radiused fingerboard and gold EVO frets.
The most striking feature, though, is the pattern on the back. This shape, which is known as a Lichtenberg Figure, was burnt into the wood using high voltage electricity, a technique known as fractal burning. This technique can be very dangerous and MacRostie won’t be using it again. Like all Red Diamond mandolins, it’s loud when you want it to be but responds to a light touch and is capable of conveying a wide tonal range. It’s in excellent, lightly played condition with just a hint of fret wear. It comes with a hardshell Bobelock case, which is in equally clean condition.