Happy connections

12th Fret, Guitar Shop Toronto

12th Fret, Guitar Shop Toronto

"Ray, The mandolin arrived today and I can’t tell you how much I love it. It is a beautiful work of art, and I will give it a good home.

I opened it with my friend who is a wonderful musician, and we got to take turns playing it and listening to it being played. It has amazing volume all by itself. But we also were able to plug it in and try out the electronics, and both of us are so impressed with the sound quality! The tuning stays great all the way up the neck, the harmonics are beautiful at the seventh and 12th frets, and it is also just plain easy to play! The neck length is perfect. And I’m so glad we just went with the four strings instead of eight. Makes it so easy on my fingers and I can see myself getting into some fingerpicking in the near future. I’ve already told everybody about it, now I can’t wait to play it for them all and let them play it too!

Thank you again for all your time, talents, and attention to detail."  (Connie 2020)

Melissa, Octave Mandolin

"This turned out to be the Most AMAZING gift, he was beyond speechless! Not only a beautiful instrument, but an unbelievable piece of art! 

Thank You So Much!"

Quote from Lynn Wolfe

“Low end is very good, even with the light strings.   I had a new set here and went ahead and installed those.   Think you have really figured out the low end. Maybe due to the cut at the top of the chamber and the hole in the end may play into that as well.  

The E string CUTS.  Can't believe how well that stands out.  That's something that has always been lacking in other mandolins.  Think it could be because of my failing hearing but yours really cuts. 

Great midrange as well.  Very balanced across the board.   Was having concerns about the A string but when it arrived teh bridge was a little skewed.  When I corrected that the A string sounds great now. 

Tail piece.   the overlay is beautiful.  I wouldn't want the instrument without it.  

Love the offset tuners 

Great balance on the instrument when strapped.   Doesn't have the headstock heavy attitude of traditional mandolins.   This is good.  

Markers 3, 7, 12.  Perfect.  Doesn't clutter the fretboard and the copper inlays on the side are great too.  That pine cone you are doing looks great too. 

Light weight.  I"m amazed how light you've gotten it. 

Used an endoscope to view the interior.  I see that top bracing.    Looks like the plates of the shell are self supporting.  Seems rock solid overall. 

the neck feels great in my hand.   You've nailed the profile of the neck.    Very smooth also running up and down the neck.   almost like a speed neck.  

Sounds very clear on double stops.  

Probably the easiest mandolin I've played yet for tremolo.  Just seems easier.  

Fretboard plays very easy.  I"m able to do things on this fretboard I can't accomplish on other fretboards.   Can play much faster and cleaner.  Not sure how you accomplished that.  

Very good percussion on the strings.  Especially 7,8,9 frets.  

Chop:  This is one drawback to this instrument.   Doesn't really have a good chop.  I'm ok with that though as this is intended for solo work and I don't ever see using this for rhythm with others.  

Action is just about perfect.   Very good for hammers and pull offs.  

Bridge:  is this hand carved?  Seems to be.  Works very well. “

Lynn Wolfe

Baritone ukulele

"From time to time, we get to see new and innovative designs that refer to much older ideas. This Shellback Baritone Ukulele from Rootworks is such an item. This fascinating instruments draws from the Fibonacci sequence, the shape of half a Nautilus shell, created using Cherry veneer with a Red Cedar top.

Several other woods are used as well – Mahogany for the neck, Katalox for the fingerboard, Maple and Walnut for the bridge, Ebony for the nut, and there’s a Carbon Fibre neck reinforcement. To top it all off, a K&K Big Island pickup is installed.

Ray’s Rootworks operates out of Peterborough, Ontario, and is run by Ray Vincent and Susan Halle. They make a number of different instruments including ukuleles, the 4- or 5-string Root and a lap harp, many using the half-shell outline. These are fascinating, innovative and very well made."

"I couldn't believe how great it sounds! I stayed up late playing it. From your photos, I knew it would be a beautiful piece of art; but the tone just blew me away too. I'm glad I did low G and I really like the strings. Thank you so much! I love everything about it!

Not only do you create wonderful art, you also provide a great customer experience. You offered valuable input in the initial process of choosing options, kept me updated throughout the build, provided photos that allowed me to follow along as you built it, and shipped it in a manner that provided great protection. First class!!

All the best,

Carl " 


"Ray Vincent and Susan Halle operate Ray’s Rootworks out of their shop in Peterborough, Ontario, and produce some of the most innovative yet playable instruments we’ve seen.

This Shellback Mandolin uses a surprisingly wide range of materials. The top is nicely figured Redwood, and the shellback – based on the Fibonacci spiral found naturally in many shells – is made of Cherry veneer with a Spruce center point. The side rims are Maple, with Wenge, Ebony and Spanish Cedar for the neck joint. The neck itself is birds-eye maple with a Padouk center strip and Ebony for the fingerboard. The non-adjustable truss rod is carbon fibre. Aside from the copper side dots, the fingerboard inlays are Walnut, the headstock is Cherry, Wenge and Ebony, and the side panel is Ebony. The bridge is Ebony, and the tailpiece is made from Ebony, Mahogany, and Wenge. The nut is Buffalo Bone. The finish is hand-applied oil. 

The fretwire used is Evo Gold, and a dual piezo pickup system is installed. Tuning gears are vintage style, with a 15:1 ratio.

This is an extremely distinctive instrument. It’s very well made and fully usable – it does happen sometimes that in a search for innovative design, builders sacrifice or obstruct function. That’s not the case here.

Tonally, this mandolin tends more towards the sound of oval-hole instruments, rather than F-holes. This is a warmer, rounder tone more commonly used in Celtic or other European styles, as opposed to the bright, crisp tones used in Bluegrass. Acoustically, it is quite loud compared to other traditional body designs."

"Hi Ray,

I'm really enjoying the instrument! It plays and sounds wonderful! A rich, mellow tone.

I posted a video with a short testimonial at the beginning. Here is a link -https://youtu.be/S2a5kgnI2iA

Feel free to use/repost.

I hope to have you make me another instrument at some point down the road. Perhaps nylon string and shorter scale like your Baritone Ukes, or an 8 string version of what you just made.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the thoughtful touches that go into your craft!"

Matthew, Dulcimer

VERY pleased with this instrument! What a cool experience to have an experiment from a master luthier; it sounds wonderful, and I know I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the tunings and songs I can pull out.

as far as feedback on the seller: his communication and promptness were both excellent, especially in light of the fact that I ordered it over the holidays. It was packaged very well and The instrument came safely and undamaged which is SUPER important to me.

Todd, Ukulele

" Ray Vincent instruments combine the craftsmanship of an old world luthier with the artistry of a new world nature photographer. A visit to his musical instrument emporium will open your eyes and mind to new shapes and designs of both familiar and exotic, mostly string, instruments.  His "bud" fits ergonomically in your hands and indeed suggests the shape of a new plant budding in spring. I restrung mine with tenor guitar strings and tuned it up a step to DAEB. Perfect for fiddle jams and personal play. I look forward to Ray's future creations, including a Tres Cubano, I've commissioned for Todd's Musical Petting Zoo."