Friday, November 16, 2018


If you’ve been looking at the blog lately, you would have seen me sawing big chunks of wood by hand; so, for a change I’ve been cutting some aluminium.
I’ve just completed two e-mando tailpieces; one for Pete’s e-mando which you’ve seen already and the second for Dave’s electric octave mandolin which is still on the drawing board (but hey, I know it needs a tailpiece!). Here are a few photos to give you a flavour of the process.
And here is Pete’s with the bulk of the construction work done and looking very pretty- I now need to sort out all the fiddley bits!

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Friday, November 09, 2018

E-mando fretboard

If you’ve watched my archtop videos, you’d have seen how I tackle the neck joint. The method is virtually the same for my e-mandos; because they’re solid bodies, it doesn’t mean that I’m any less fastidious!
Once the neck has been glued to the body, 4 hardwood dowels “lock” it in place.
Then the wedge (which, as the neck tilts back, is needed to support the end of the fretboard) is glued in place. That little phrase “is glued in place” belies the amount of work that goes in to it!
And then the fretboard is glued on……………
Now it’s really coming together.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

E-mando progress

Back to the bench then………………Pete’s emando is coming along nicely; the head cut-out, drilled and inlaid.
Always a bit bizarre tapping a thread in wood!
And a major step forward the neck joining to the body.

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Archtop Sold

I’m pleased to tell you that the Walnut archtop has now been sold. Amanda and I were extremely pleased that it went to an existing “Nava” owner and, as I’ve said before, someone coming back for a second instrument is the highest compliment that can be paid! Have a look at the last few posts on this forum thread for the reaction.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Archtop Video

As promised the video...........

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Archtop Mandolin Completed (and For Sale)

I’ve just completed the walnut archtop mandolin and am so pleased with the outcome. I’ve got an old Gibson T-shirt that says “Tone, Feel, Appearance” and I’m pleased to say that I think I’ve fully fulfilled those criteria. It is also the first time that I’ve used JJB soundboard transducers and they seem to produce an impressive tone even through my cheap and cheerful amp.
So below are number of photos for you and the full spec. I’ll sort out the obligatory video over the next couple of days!
 13 7/8” (352mm) Scale length with 30mm nut width
American Black Walnut back & sides
European Spruce top
Body fully bound in Ebony
Bird’s Eye Maple neck with carbon fibre stiffeners
Compound radius Ebony fretboard with wide gold EVO frets
Nava handmade tailpiece
Nickel Gotoh MA-40 tuners
JJB Soundboard Transducers with endpin jack
A light open-pore shellac satin finish
D’Addario EJ74 strings (011, 015, 026, 040), bone nut & saddle
Price: 1360 GBP (including Hiscox case) + shipping

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Body Work

I’ve started work on a left-handed e-mando for Pete. The core of the body (see above) is Ash and the top is from this lovely piece of figured Sapele.
You may remember my "Man Vs Wood" video (if you don’t, I do!). Well, I had an action replay; having to re-saw the Sapele, by hand, to get a book-matched top.
The Ash was laminated with black/red/black veneers and then the tunnels for the wiring routed. Before the Sapele was glued on, the tunnels were painted with a special shielding paint to help keep the electrics quiet.
 A bit more routing and sawing…………..
Followed by some hard-core sanding……………
And here’s the body……………
  And it’s racing stripe!

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Making progress!