Octave mandolin #5, cherry-$850

This instrument design was originally an experiment.  I worked it out in consultation with the person who placed the custom order for it, and he provided a plan for a ca. 1937 Gibson L-00 (Guild of American Luthiers plan #55) from which the soundbox design is taken.  The only change I made to the soundbox was to reduce the depth to 3″ throughout.  The guitar had a 14 fret neck with a longer scale, but the mandolin has a 12 fret neck with a 22″ scale length.  This leaves the bridge in the same position it would be in on the guitar.  I was very pleasantly surprised by how resonant the first one was, and now that I have built more to the same specifications they are just as good.

The neck is a soft V shape.  The neck, sides, and back are cherry, the soundboard is spruce, the binding is curly maple, the peghead overlay is cherry burl and the fretboard and bridge are jatoba.  The nut and saddle are Corian and the tuners came from Stew-Mac.  I don’t have any mandolin playing skills but I hope the video will give some idea of the sound. The soundboard on this one has a cosmetic flaw, there was a weak grain line in the soundboard that passed through the edge of both halves and I missed it when I was putting the wood together. You can see the bookmatched dark lines from the repair, below the bridge in the top picture. This instrument would have been $900, but I listed it for $850 because of the defect. Sound and playability are not affected, it just doesn’t look as nice as I wish it did.

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