Whatever happened to Rigel mandolins?

We shared the news last month about Rigel mandolins going out of business – sad news for devotees of their unorthodox mandolin designs. Now comes news (reported by Mandolin Caf?©), that former Rigel co-owner Peter Mix is collaborating with Will Kimble of Kimble Mandolins to create what they describe as the world’s first carbon fiber mandolin.

(see update below) Also involved in this venture are the folks at Luis and Clark, who have pioneered the building of carbon fiber instruments in the viol family, using a design where the back, sides and neck are molded as a single piece. I’m not sure whether Mix and Kimble will use this uni-body approach with the mandolins, but will see what we can find out.

They will build and market these new mandolins as New Millennium Acoustic Design, and go as NewMAD. Read the full press release at Mandolin Caf?©.

I belive that Will Kimble is here at IBMA, so I will try to run him down and see if they have a prototype with him we can photograph, and hopefully get more information about this new venture.

UPDATE 8:54 a.m.: I just got in touch with Peter Mix, who shared these comments:

I wish we had photos to share, but it’s just too early. If we stay on track, we should have a prototype by the end of October and this will give us a lot to work with. I assume that we’ll have some internal tweaking to do in order to dial in the voice, but we can then shoot photos and provide specs.

Peter promised to keep us updated about the NewMAD mandolin, and we will pass along whatever we receive.

UPDATE 9:05 a.m.: I also hooked up with Will Kimble, who indicated that Luis and Clark are not involved in the NewMAD venture, but had provided the inspiration to Peter Mix to consider using similar technology for mandolins.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.