Good morning, Don.
I was able to get a good look at the mandolin (finally) this past Sunday. Josh did a great job on all his joinery- not one bit of “gap crap” as we say in the trade. He did an absolutely beautiful job in the matching of the figured maple on the backside. It always bothers me when woodworkers don’t pay attention to their matches, especially when it’s fairly easy to buy or saw consecutively sawn boards “en boulle” with the popularity of Wood Mizers. The playability is so much easier than my Kentucky 600- I’m kind of (annoyed) that I didn’t upgrade sooner. The sound and the sustain of the mandolin is wonderful- the kids come downstairs when I start playing. I love the simplicity of the varnish finish, and the practicality of the speed neck. I have always considered myself an intermediate player but in one week my playing has bumped to a higher level and I expect that trend to continue. Thank you both so much; being a craftsman myself, I know I have to take care of the business side of things in order to survive in this world. But still, everything I’ve ever made has a bit of my heart in it, and I can definitely see your hearts in this mandolin.
Hope I’ll be able to shake your hands someday,
Edinburg, VA, owner #261
“It’s here and it’s spectacular. The neck shape/size is perfect–extremely comfortable and fast and easy to get around on. Thanks for working with me on that. It may be the best neck on any mandolin I have. Tone is wonderful and rich, and the volume is outstanding–what a little monster! Beautiful color and woods. Love the stealth trussrod cover. Just a wonderful instrument in every way. Great setup too. Varnish smell is still strong–need to let it sit out a couple days.” Don Grieser, owner #264 Sept 2020
“Hi Don, I wanted you to know that the beautiful mandolin arrived safe and sound and almost still in tune! It looks, sounds, smells and plays wonderful.Congratulations on your beautiful work. I just love the old Gibson design. I particularly like how the fingerboard meets the carved top. I like that much better than the cantilevered fingerboards. I just think it looks great. I was very pleased with the sustain. I can’t believe how beautiful it sounds. I will write more after I get a chance to make friends with it. Thank you again for your fine work. Sincerely, Dave” Dave Dumont, owner #262, Aug.2020
(Here is a letter I received recently from a long time Pomeroy customer that I have corresponded with at length over time. It’s in regards to my difficult decision to not make more fiddles for awhile, at least not to sell through the website. I thought it was worth posting here:)
“Don, I know you have confidence in your ability. I also get it that 120 hours is a lot of time to put into an instrument. As far as the craft is concerned, you have a very rare gift to be able to make instruments – your fiddles are among the best anywhere and your mandolins are nothing short of amazing.Maybe you don’t want to start making a bunch of fiddles and posting them, but at least consider leaving up the Page to invite those who want you to make them.There are many who want your fiddles and who CAN pay.I would hate to see your talent go dormant. So I have owned and sold four Pomeroys, much to my chagrin. All but fiddle#16 sold within 10 days.All sold greater than 80-percent of the retail price.Testament enough! You’re a good man Don Paine. I’m very happy to know you. Hoping for the best in all that you do…Ron Tobias” Sept 2020
“I’ve owned Gibsons, Flatirons, Webers and much prefer the “small” builders such as yourself. Impeccable fit and finish and custom-type accoutrements and sound. I find the action to be just right for me: easy to get around and easy to play down to 1st position (I play a lot on Bb and Ab).
…I’ve had other oval holes where the lower strings boom too much. I find the balance very good: the low strings have bass oomph to them, balanced by the spruce. The spruce really expands the overtone palette bringing in solid middle and balanced highs, which work well with the oval hole top.” Anthony Minstein, owner #260, June 2020
“I’m the newest owner of this instrument, and really pleased to have it. I can’t decide what I want to do more – look at it or play it. The fit and finish on it is exquisite, and the sound is a bit mellower than the MT-O I had, but crisper than my 1916 A1. It projects sound nicely, and rings with just enough resonance that it doesn’t end up “muddy.” After several days of playing, and looking, and playing, I’m quite pleased with this addition to my stable. Beautiful instrument, beautiful sound!” Russ Donahue, new owner #243, July 2020
“The mandolin is indeed beautiful. The wood, the finish, the craftsmanship and all the details add up to one pretty little baby. I played it for about an hour this afternoon, getting to know it and listening to the sound opening up. It is amazingly comfortable and easy to play. Chords are resonant and clear, melodies sing. It shines from within.” Claudia Vivanco, owner #259 May 2020
“I counted the minutes until the box warmed up but it was well worth the wait.
I’ve played a lot of mandolins in my 63.5 years, including an Ellis, Duff, Gilchrist, old f-style Gibsons and Collings (during the year I lived in Nashville in 2004 where I spent Saturdays at Gruhn Guitars), so I can say from my experience you are definitely in that class of craftsman.
This mandolin is extraordinary in all ways: more thang anything it sounds great and is a joy to play.
How you have kept your prices modest is not clear to me.” Ron Tobias, owner #258 April 2020
“Mandolin came at 2:15 Pacific time. It’s a beauty, plays well, looks fabulous.
Excellent mandolin. I look forward to bonding with it over a set of fiddle tunes.
Throaty open G that only happens on really good A models. Flat wound
strings are just what I needed, especially since I sliced open my right hand index
finger opening a bottle of French wine. I’ll raise a glass to you, Don, for
a great instrument”. Lou Spaventa, owner
I’m the the new owner of A2 # 231. After ten days with many hours of playing, I would like to say thank you!
Playin’ F5 mandolins for the last years, I wished for a long time to have an oval hole as well. I’m glad that I decided to order one of your instruments.The sound is very impressive and louder than I expected. I realy like the full sound of the low strings, the clear trebles and the good projection in diffrent positions. The mandolin is very usable for chord- and melody playing. It’s nice to have a nature satin finished instrument with a vintage touch, together with a modern neck profile, a wider nut and a radiused fingerboard, which increases the playabilitiy. Thank you for the headstock inlay. A friend of me, he’s a guitarmaker, who has done some repair- and setup work on other mandolins before, inspected my new mandolin and said that you did a very good job. Keep on buildin’ wonderful instruments.
– Christof Rosdorf, Germany
I had a chance to play my new Pomeroy just a little while last night, picked it up this morning (about two or three hours ago I think!) and have not been able to put it down. Just wanted to let you know that I could not be more pleased with it! I have been building stereo speakers, mainly as a hobby, for about ten years and know from that it can be hard to describe a sound to someone. All the reviews on your web site and comments on the internet are spot on. It has a beautiful resonance and the sustain that I was looking for. The sound clips that you sent me of my mandolin are true to the sound also. The first thing that struck me when I started playing was the clarity of tone. That clarity remains even across all the strings regardless of whether I play softly or really bend them. I think this stood out because it was unexpected as I was afraid the trade-off of the resonance and sustain would be a more dull or “muddy” sound; however, I did not find that at all! Anyway, thanks again for this great instrument. I have only been playing mandolin since last April and hope someday my skill will come close to matching its potential.Oh, I almost forgot, my Pomeroy looks as beautiful as it sounds. I had been admiring your craftsmanship for sometime before I decided to purchase and I am envious of your woodworking and finishing skills
– Tomme Harrison, owner #216
Hi Don, Well, I’ve been playing your mandola at least an hour or two every day. I’ve been very blessed: there are many cases in my house with many fine instruments. Tastes and preferences are subjective, and I’m very hesitant to make such a declaration, but this mandola is the most satisfying instrument I have ever owned or ever played. If I were to spend a year on an island and could take but one instrument, this would be the one. Whatever you did, try to bottle it. It is magic and I am grateful. Thanks again, Bill
– Bill O’Connor , owner of 2-point mandola #209
Hi Don, Well, I’ve been spending a couple of hours every day with your mandola. It is wonderful, and keeps getting better and better. I had high hopes for this instrument, and it has exceeded my expectations in every way. Tyler Jackson fell in love with it, too. You’ve got the magic, bro. Many thanks.
– Bill, owner of mandola #209
Dear Don, Thank you so much for the incredible mandolin. It is beautiful to look at, the wood and the craftsmanship, and also to listen to. The sound is so clear and full, and it plays so nicely. The action is low and it feels comfortable in my hands. I’m not one of those disciplined musicians who plays for hours, but I’ve been inspired to play every day since I got this beautiful instrument. I’ve always been the guitar player, but all those melodies I’ve been backing up all those years are coming out on the mandolin. I’m on summer vacation, from teaching school, and playing my new mandolin is one of my summer projects. What fun! Hope to see you again some time soon.
– Sally Newton, Marlboro VT, owner of #206
My hands are tired… and it’s all your fault! What a wonderful instrument! I love it. More importantly, my wife loves it. It makes the bass clef lyrical. It really is grand. I’m thrilled with it. Thanks, Don.
– Bill O’Connor in Bandera TX, owner of Pomeroy Mandocello
Hi Don, I have just returned from my group lesson with Hope Grietzer. She saw and sawed on Maude (#11) for the entire lesson. She just raved about everything she noticed about the fiddle. She gave me her fiddle for the lesson and thank god she gave Maude back. I was a little worried for awhile. She loved the tone, the responsiveness, the action, the wood, the color and finish. This was not her being polite or diplomatic. She genuinely loved Li’l Maudie and loved putting her through her paces. I should say that listening to her fiddle in class and on cd had a big part in my wanting one of yours. In addition, Maude compares equally with Hope’s fiddle which quite old and broken in. So be very proud of your work as she is held in very high regard in these parts!
– Hal Cunningham, Binghamton NY, owner of Pomeroy fiddle #11, “Maude”
This mandolin and your workmanship have consistently exceeded my expectations. One surprise is how loud it is. Playability is just excellent. The bell-like tone is just what I was hoping for. The pewter cast of the appointments have a nice warm glow that I really appreciate. I had a very busy weekend, but still managed to play her off and on for several hours. She broke in a little or rather, my touch adjusted and we just kept getting better together. Assorted friends have invaded my man cave to see Myrt and all came away very impressed! I could babble on about this, but the long and the short of it is that I am very pleased with your work and the way it turned out. Again, thank you so much.
– Hal Cunningham, Binghamton NY, owner #192
She arrived in good shape and, once home I settled down with a pale ale and my new Pomeroy. My initial impressions are of a strong undercurrent of vintage Gibson Oval but there is also a subtle overlay of a more contemporary flavor with a gentle woody punch. She responds in a complex and enticing way to changes in dynamics and attack. This is an instrument with a complex character. I look forward to exploring her many nuances.
– Tom Wannenburg, owner #190
I love the instrument.. what I have experienced is amazing. It’s such a big beautiful sound. I have played it at two shows and had lots of instrument gawkers… Anyway, hope to record with it soon. Thanks for taking the time to make it so beautiful. http://www.reverbnation.com/celestekrenz
– Celeste Krenz, Nashville – owner #184
As soon as I tuned up the A-2 and began playing it, seconds turned to minutes, and minutes to hours before I realized how much time had passed. What an absolute joy this mandolin is to play, and the sound is extraordinarily great, and I do mean to use superlatives here without hyperbole. You Sir, are a very talented luthier who has, no doubt earned his merit on the workbench. Set up is perfect for me, as it is low, but not too low. The craftsmanship is quite lovely and the appointments are simple but tasteful – And that’s me to a “T.” The sound is what really knocks me out. However you managed that, you managed it very well.
– Ron Tobias, owner #180, Eagle River, Alaska
Note: Testimonials 17 and 19 go together…
Hi Don, Just an update on the mandola after a few weeks playing it (almost constantly). I’m enjoying this new instrument so much. It is the kind of instrument that stimulates new approaches to one’s music. I love the middle voice between the mando and the octave mando (tenor banjo in my case). I was at a camping-session weekend recently and the mandola was the instrument I reached for to accompany songs that others were singing and playing. The lovely sustain and good bass response are a real treat and give the instrument a great deal of versatility for accompaniment. It is also fun to play tunes on it in a small session where the tunes, played an octave below the fiddle-mandolin, fit in nicely. The mandola already has a lovely focused tone (despite being lower register), great volume and sustain and spot on intonation up the neck (a real treat as I use a capo on this unlike the mando). And a bonus: it’s such a lovely thing to behold (many compliments from muso friends which I defer to you). You did such a nice job on her: great fit and finish and lovely tone woods and inlay. Thanks again Don for creating this lovely instrument which I will cherish. It was a delight working with you on the project and I look forward to keeping in touch as email friends (until I can get back to Colorado). Cheers mate, and Thanks Again, John
– John Holmberg, owner #182
Hi Don, She arrived safe and sound yesterday… and what a beauty. I stayed up late getting acquainted. It is just stunning Don, congrats on a great success. The action and intonation up the neck seems right on and the tone and response is great already and I’m sure will open up as I play her in. Great job, and thanks for all the attention and care you applied to this project. I’ll write again after I have had more time to play her in. The flame maple is gorgeous and the fit and finish right on. The peghead is lovely: just the right amount of ornamentation. Thanks so much mate…and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch. Hope to get back to my beloved Colorado sometime and I’ll definitely look you up. Cheers for now and thanks again for a lovely creation.
– John Holmberg, owner #182
Her voice is sweet and fresh and surprisingly powerful. Like the song of a wren, it is clear, but not shrill. The sustain is delightful. I love the Thomastiks on her. Her voice is consistent up and down the fretboard. The intonation is perfect. The action is excellent. I’ve played her at gigs and asked other mandolinists to play her. All were quite taken by her. I especially enjoy sitting on the porch in the quiet hours and playing her softly. I look forward to her voice gaining maturity as she opens up.
– Bill O’Connor, owner #168.2
You have created a beautiful instrument with a wonderful sound. The craftsmanship is excellent. The tone is clear and distinctive with very good volume. I know that the tone of an instrument will improve with use over time but if this one stays the same as it is today it will be fine with me. I can’t thank you enough for this entire experience and I will be providing additional feedback as I get better acquainted with #177.
– James Pentecost, owner #177 mandolin, Feb. 16, 2013
I opened the mandola this morning. Wow! First impressions… It sounds terrific. I can only imagine it once it opens up! It is very resonant and has terrific sustain. The bigger neck is just right, and I speculate that it contributes to the rich bass. The C and G strings are very sweet. As I suspected, the volume and tone across all courses is very even and balanced. The flame is really stunning too. Great work, Maestro!
– John Eisler, owner #176 mandola
From day one, my 2-Point mandolin had a bark that was loud and bright, and a tone that was woody and throaty sounding; the tone has only gotten better with age. I also own a custom short-necked octave mandolin from Pomeroy Instruments which is so warm and sweet sounding, I can hardly put it down. Its deep sustained tone resonates down to the depths of my belly and fills me with warmth. I could not be more pleased with these two beautifully crafted instruments, and the fact that they were hand built right here in Colorado by Don and Josh Paine makes them even more special to me.
– Darrin Goodman, owner #102, #164, & #207
I’m the proud owner Don’s 3rd fiddle. As an Old Time fiddler, it’s just what I was looking for. The tone is warm, full but very..how can I say it? “fiddly”. Playability is excellent, with a clear, balanced tone up and down the neck. The finish is subtle and very meticulously done. Overall, the craftmanship is wonderful and very easy to deal with. I couldn’t be happier!
– Belita Mulinax, Old Time fiddler, commenting on fiddle #3
This is the third of Don’s mandolins to pass through The Great Divide. I wish I could get more from him. This one is quite easily the best one that I’ve heard yet. He continues to refine his sound chamber, carving and overall craftsmanship with an eye to becoming one of the top mandolin makers. Don has a really smooth toned but loud instrument here. The bass is very impressive and the E and A strings are most pleasing sounding with nice sustain.
– Sandy Monro, owner of The Great Divide music store in Aspen, CO, commenting on #37, F-style
This one has driving sustain and volume for sure! I was sitting in Sandy’s shop playing her and said, “this is the one I was looking for.” I think there’s universal agreement that your finishes, like your inlay, are top notch.
– Wayne Hagen, #13
I have known Don and Josh Paine for 12 years now both as fellow luthiers and musicians. The craftsmanship and tone they instill in their instruments is superb. As an instrument repairman myself, I have developed an eye for detail in this field and I’m always amazed by the flawless appearance and set-up of the Pomeroy instruments. As a musician, I am equally impressed by the balanced sounds that these instruments produce. Beautiful woody low tones and crisp clear high notes are consistent throughout all their instruments. I am so impressed that I bought a fiddle for myself and I am loving it!
– Kory Khral, owner Pomeroy fiddle #3
96 has finally arrived and she is quite beautiful, both in appearance and sound. She sounds exactly as I would expect. I haven’t had an oval hole mandolin in my hands for a while, and I forgot how direct the sound is coming out of that oval hole. The bass response is very pronounced and the highs are quite clear and clean. She sounds extremely well balanced considering she came out of the box today. Of course, I believe the bass response is always dominant on one of these, and I like it that way. The volume is quite good…loud but not obnoxious.
– Bryan Law
It’s absolutely beautiful, and the tone is getting deeper, warmer, and more throaty with every hour of play (it has had about 8 hours over two days…). For a brand new mandolin I’m VERY pleased with its tone and volume and I’m planning to make this my everyday instrument.
– Ken Sager, owner #43, F-5
I’m delighted with the build quality, it’s a very easy instrument to handle and the neck proportions are spot-on. As I’ve played it, it’s gone from something like an old A-4, which I find very sweet but maybe a little quiet, to something quite a bit more powerful without being brassy.
– Francis Conway, New Castle-Upon Tyne, England, #36 F-4
I bought an A model from Pomeroy. It is incredible, a very good mandolin. The luthier’s name is Don Paine. They sell his mandolins in Colorado at the same place they sell the Nugget. Based on his A model, I would not hesitate on the F- model.
– Brian Schmiel, owner #11
The mandolin arrived in great shape. I was immediately impressed by the tone of the G string; the playability of the instrument, including its intonation; and the workmanship in general. Thanks for making such a fine instrument. I will recommend your services anytime. The mandolin offers me a striking contrast to the A 100 with f holes that I am currently playing. It may even be louder and more robust up close. The immediate response and warmth of the oval hole impacts itself on a player.
– Joe DiChiara, owner #166
Don – I have to add to “WOW!”
“WOW” again! AND – a heartfelt THANKS! Simply one of the prettiest looking, sweetest playing, toneful instrument I have ever had the pleasure to play. The soundbox is truly alive! I think I should feed it! Thank you for having the talent and ability to create such a superb instrument. It is outstanding in every sense of the word.
– John Sposato, owner #64 F-4
I had the good fortune to pick up one of you early F-4s’ (#64) recently. Thought you would like to know it has made it’s way out to the coast of California. Saw it advertised on the cafe’ and did some research, decided to take a chance and buy it without first playing. Luck had nothing to do with it, this is a great instrument! I don’t think it has had a hard life, still in great condition with virtually no play wear at all. So far, it’s been a real conversation piece out here. Thanks
– Quentin, owner #64 F-4
Everything is cool with the delivery, no problem. Arrived safe and sound. She (the mando) got a good work out tonight. About 4 hours of playing time. Our guitar player gave it great compliments. The highs remind him of ice crystals in a new fallen snow (which are his exact words). Great chop and bark as well. It has a nice balance across the strings. Also, the strings have a loose feeling which I think is great. Workmanship is flawless and would recommend your instruments to anyone. If it sounds this good out of the box, I can’t imagine what is will be like in a year. Thanks for building a great instrument.
– Rick Everhardt, owner #91 F-5