Purple heart mandolin

18th March 2021Mandolins, Uncategorised

Continuing my run of large bodied mandolins is this not-so-little number in Purpleheart wood.

It's a fascinating wood to work with, hitting Janka hardness scale with 2,520 lbf. It is harder than rosewood and working it you will find yourself stopping to sharpen tools all day.

And then there is the colour itself. Only developing while the wood oxidizes when you first cut it its a light orangey brown hue slowly working its way towards the purple it is famous for.

 

This mandolin is on the 372mm scale length giving it a little extra string tension to work that bigger top. The result is a full bodied sound with a rich low end.

The larger body size at a whopping 310m across the belly makes it a really comfortable choice. Particularly for those who find themselves folding over a smaller mandolin.

This long-scale mandolin comes complete with a small fingerboard extension for a player that loves hitting that high Bb up the (usually) dusty end of the instrument!

The Session Mandolin

19th November 2020Mandolins

It was a real treat to work on this mandolin with the customer. Whilst being a little bigger than my standard mandolin, it’s a full inch wider than most common shapes

Using my favourite Swiss moon spruce soundboard for mandolin for that crisp sweet tone. Paired with this stunning set of Cocobolo from the lads at Timberline kindly sourced by the customer.

Its great to still be able to find small sets like this cocobolo as they are becoming quite rare. Whilst its can be a challenge to work with, I think you’ll agree its worth it.

Part of the Dalbergia genus, Cocobolo is now on the CITES list so its only fair and responsible to source it from reputable suppliers.

It seemed rude with such lovely woods to use anything less than a nice flame maple neck. In three parts for extra stability and that vintage look.

The neck itself is slight wider to suit the body shape and players preference. But it is on a standard 357mm scale length, so no difficulty stretching for those notes up the dusty end. All my mandolins are custom made, and so its no problem to tweak about dimensions to suit anyone’s needs.

Initially I was unsure about buying a mandolin without trying it first but my fears proved to be groundless with Cas producing an outstanding mandolin in both looks and sound… He also offered advice on aspects of the design where I was uncertain. I was pleased to help source the Cocobolo for the mandolin. Apart from its looks, Cocobolo produces a strong sound as volume was what I was looking for.

George from Peebles

10 String Fan Fret Mandolin

7th July 2019Mandolins

This was quite an interesting build for me, a multi-scale 10 string mandolin. Tuned from a bottom C through standard mandolin up to top E. The longer scale on the bass side allows for extra tension on the C string. Extra tension eliminates some of the sloppy tenancies of using thicker strings to tune down to C.

 

Proving to be a head scratcher to start with, but eventually coming round to it. The 12th fret/ body join is the only fret which could be considered truly straight to a standard fingerboard.

Slightly larger than a standard mandolin, with this body you get the extra depth to really use those lower tones. Remarkably the multi-scale doesn’t take much getting used to, once played for 5 minutes your hand rapidly become accustom to it.

As always with these larger instruments I make hand-cut solid brass tailpieces. Anchoring the strings to the tailblock this way really helps get the full tonal potential out of your instrument.

Archtop Walnut Mandolin

15th October 2017Mandolins

I’m really pleased to have finished this arch-top mandolin. With a carved spruce top, three piece English walnut back and cantilevered fingerboard, it represents the first arch-top made to the same size and specs as my flat-tops. The flat back and carve top combination follows in the footsteps of some of my favourite British luthiers and the growing celtic mandolin tradition.

It is the prettiest new mandolin photographed in the grubbiest corner of my workshop – there are grand plans to reconcile this very soon!

Carved top mandolin, handmade in Cornwall.

 

English Cherry Mandolin

11th October 2017Mandolins

 

Cherry is one of my favourite woods to work with, particularly for choice of back and sides materials for mandolins. Whilst I firmly believe the design of the structure is foremost in creating any instruments voice, I like to think the choice of wood colours it. Cherry allows for nice crisp highs with a warmth you don’t get with a more traditional maple mandolin.