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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:26 pm
Posts: 136
First name: Peter
Last Name: Coombe
City: Bega
State: NSW
Zip/Postal Code: 2550
Country: Australia
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Nothing wrong with Walnut in a mandolin. I have used walnut with Cedar and Red Spruce with great success. I don't make bluegrass mandolins, Gilchrist and Duff have that pretty well covered here. There is a thriving bluegrass scene here in Australia, but it is still fairly small although is growing. The demand for F5 mandolins is nothing like it is in the USA. There is a good market for Australian native woods, many people specifically request native woods in mandolins and guitars. That has changed over the years, it used to be difficult to sell instruments made from anything other than traditional woods. Once the Americans started to make guitars from Aussie Blackwood and later from other Aussie woods, that made a lot of Australian's change their minds. The Maton factory has also been a big influence. One model of my mandolins is made entirely from Australian woods and the sound is the sweetest of anything on the market, but at first only Americans would buy it. Now Australians are ordering it, a good example of the cultural cringe we have here. Most of my customers play celtic or trad Australian, but I have branched into the classical mandolin market recently with Lyon and Healy style mandolins. Classical players are a very fussy bunch, but they are prepared to pay good money for a good mandolin, and that mandolin ain't no good for bluegrass. I also make flat top mandolins to aim at people starting out on mandolin, but that has been very much up and down as far as sales is concerned.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:48 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 493
First name: Phil
Last Name: Hartline
City: Warrior
State: Alabama
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Haans wrote:
Phil, I would really be surprised if that is a cedar top. Looks like spruce to me. Sycamore maple is a common term...


The top is definitely cedar. I thought spruce myself, but had to remove the back on this instrument to make some repairs. Light sanding to patch some cracks let off an aroma that is unmistakable. :) Unusual, I found while making repairs that the tail block was also cedar, which was unexpected.

As for the back and sides, I still don't know. I made new sides out of beech for strength as the originals were so brittle as to be unusable (I put the new sides inside the existing ones to keep it as original as possible.) Here is a pic of the original, showing the grain pattern next to one of the side cracks. Any ideas on what this is?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:58 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:45 pm
Posts: 727
First name: Michael
City: Port Townsend
State: WA
Focus: Build
Here's an octave in Sitka and Peruvian walnut. Why? Because that's what I had on hand. The one thing I didn't like about that one was the scale. It was too long, 22-3/4". I've got the guitar body octave ready to string up. That scale is 20-3/4". Should make it much easier to play.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:10 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 3065
OK, I'm really surprised...

Peter, I had built some Euro maple with German spruce F5 mandolins for classical players and they loved them. Some bluegrassers even preferred German spruce. I think mandolin players in the US always did prefer the look of flamed maple.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:04 pm 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:56 pm
Posts: 378
First name: Aaron
Last Name: Hix
City: Chatsworth
State: Georgia
Zip/Postal Code: 30705
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Ed, I made an all Black Walnut carved top and back F style mando once... The top, back, sides, and neck were all black walnut. I loved it. I finished it with a low lustre tung oil. It wasnt traditional looking, but man it sounded really sweet and mellow, but punchy. I have always wanted to make another one, but havent found the time yet.
Walnut carves so nicely, too.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:42 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:15 pm
Posts: 5196
First name: Ed
Last Name: Bond
City: Vancouver
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
I def font have time to explore a carved top, fun as it seems. This'll be some sort of flat top, basically a short neck bouzouki...


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:12 pm
Posts: 2592
First name: Bryan
Last Name: Bear
City: St. Louis
State: Mo
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Just throwing this out there but if you are not bound by a lot of restraints, you might consider a mandolinetto. I made one that with an OM body shape scaled down to 2/3 size. You could decorate it like you guitars only smaller. Just a thought.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:03 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:25 pm
Posts: 146
First name: Tony
Last Name: Thatcher
City: Bozeman
State: MT
I guess I don't follow tradition. Octave and pancake mando pair in walnut with western red cedar tops.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:55 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:26 pm
Posts: 136
First name: Peter
Last Name: Coombe
City: Bega
State: NSW
Zip/Postal Code: 2550
Country: Australia
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Hans, my classical mandolins are European Spruce and European Maple. I have used Italian and Carpathian spruce. They sound similar to the vintage Lyon and Healy mandolins, but are louder and have more ring and sustain. Lovely sounding mandolins, I really like them, and so far the customers have been very happy. That wood combination seems to work very well with Thomastic strings, the Aussie wood mandolins do not. The classical players I know here would not be caught dead with a F5, even though the Loars were originally made to be played for classical music.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:16 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:15 pm
Posts: 5196
First name: Ed
Last Name: Bond
City: Vancouver
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Nice work Tony!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:03 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 3065
Nice army/navy Tony!

Peter, some of the classical builds I did were German spruce/Euro maple A models. Some like the more refined sound of the A's than the power punch of F's.

A long time ago I bought some "German spruce" from LMI. Noticed it was really creamy colored but never thought too much about it. I built a mandolin from it and was so overwhelmed by it I called LMI to order more. They told me that it was becoming difficult to get, but they still had 15 wedges of it. I told them I would take it all. No other "German" I got ever looked like that stuff, nor sounded like it. Once, we sat with a local band in our living room and played tunes and talked. We were about 20 minutes into it, talking away. The mandolin player continued playing my German spruce F5 lightly the whole time and all of a sudden we all quit talking and he said "Did you hear that?" We all said yes and realized the mandolin had "woke up". Was like someone turned on a light. That was THAT German spruce.

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http://www.brentrup.com


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:34 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 3650
I built this 'flat top' based on an old Washburn mandolin I have. It's not a carved top but the top is bent like in the classic bowl back mandolins. The Selmer guitar makers call it pliage. It's an incredibly loud little instrument and has a nice ring and sustain to it. Nothing like the short decay chop you get with an F. But I like it a lot and it was rather easy to make relatively speaking. I don't know if that was done for tonal considerations or so that the neck geometry is right and that the strings fall back on an angle to the tail piece. But anyway it works good.

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