Sunday, March 17, 2019

Baritone Uke: and here's the video

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Baritone Ukulele Completed

As I’ve been applying Tru-Oil ( one coat a day) to Dave’s e-mando, I thought it a good time to finally complete the baritone uke that I started about 6 years ago! As I’ve said before, my baritone ukes are just not economically viable to build any more. It’s very much built as a small classical guitar; fan-braced, dovetail neck joint, double hole bridge etc. and takes almost as much time to build as a guitar. So, as this instrument isn’t a commission, I’ll probably hang on to it for a while unless someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse!
The soundboard is Engelmann spruce with a cocobolo rosette, fretboard and head overlay. I’ve used the sapwood for decorative effect.
The bridge is ebony with a bone saddle (bone nut too) and has a classical guitar style double hole tie-block.
The tuners are Gotoh guitar tuners and I’ve replaced the chrome buttons with ebony ones, which saves an appreciable amount of weight.
The body is fully bound and the whole instrument finished in light satin shellac and wax finish. I’ve used a clear pick-guard to offer some protection.
The back and sides are made from some figured sycamore and the neck, Spanish cedar. There is also a carbon fibre reinforcement strip in the neck.
The back is inlaid with a decorative marquetry stripe.
The uke is incredibly light and reminds me somewhat of an early romantic guitar. Job done (and very pleasing it feels too!)

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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Dave’s in E-mando, “in the black”?

You’ll be used to seeing my mandolins set-up in the white; a phrase pinched from violin makers, i.e. before they apply that coloured varnish that seems to appeal. Dave’s e-mando has reached the stage where I’ve been getting it set-up prior to applying the finish, and as there’s not a bit of white wood anywhere to be seen……….
I’ve got a spare pick-up that I use at this stage i.e. setting the action and intonation etc. As this one doesn’t have an under-saddle transducer, I thought I’d build an adjustable bridge (it will make action adjustment much easier for Dave). It took a fair bit longer to make than I thought and a couple of goes to get it right and it still needs some tidying up, but that said, I’m really happy with its performance. Whenever you go off-piste, you have to be willing to spend extra time designing and developing your ideas.
I’ve included a photo of me with the octave e-mando so that you can get a better idea of its size.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tonewood for sale (UK only)

Over the past few years the emphasis of my work has changed from mostly guitars to now, mostly mandolins. What I want to do is sell off some of my “flat-top” guitar tonewood stock, to free-up space and to allow me to re-invest in wood more suitable for carved top mandolins.
All the wood has been kept in my humidity controlled workshop and is ready to use.
Here is the first batch, consisting of one set of Honduras rosewood and two sets of Indian rosewood. You’d be hard pushed to find better. I’m only selling as a complete bundle of 3 sets for £260 including UK mainland shipping (worth about £25). Please note that I will only sell to a UK buyer.
Full details of each set below.
The Honduras rosewood is one of two sets (I always buy too much!) I bought in 2010 from Timberline to make a custom OO; here’s the guitar so you can get an idea of what it looks like finished. It cost me around £120 per set back then!
Back 550 x 200 (tapering to 160) x 4mm
Sides 840 X 120 X 3.5 mm

This Indian rosewood set is one of a number that I bought from Touchstone Tonewoods in 2015 and has an attractive reddish hue to it.

Back 550 x 195 x 4mm
Sides 860 X 115 X 5mm

Last but not least, one of a number sets that I imported myself direct from India in 2010.  This is quite a large set and will be suitable for a big guitar and it should finish with a beautiful dark purplish colour.
Back 560 x 210 x 4.5mm
Sides 860 X 135 X 5mm

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Do you remember The Red Mandolin?

If you’ve been following my work, you may have come across “The Red Mandolin.”
It was built speculatively in 2009; redwood top, cocobolo sides, a five piece cocobolo and Brazilian rosewood back etc. It was snapped up by Alan, who later sold it on, to fund a custom build by me. Anyway, Amanda and I were delighted to hear from its new owner Craig. Here are some videos of Craig putting his mandolin through its paces. Great stuff!
Remember if you’ve a video of you and your “Nava” in action. Let me know and I’ll happily include it here.
Cheers Gary

Thursday, February 14, 2019

E-mando completed

Pete’s e-mando is now complete and I must say that I’m incredibly pleased with the outcome. I shan’t say any more and let you judge for yourselves………….

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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Octave progress

Made some good progress on Dave’s octave e-mando this week. As you can see from above, the body, neck and fretboard are now all one! The ebony and wenge are going to give it a dark, stealth-like look; very cool.
Below is a sequence of photos to show the neck joint going together.

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