Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Richard’s mandolin

Richard’s mandolin is now complete and will be shipped off to him later this week. Interesting statistic; 50% of my mandolins go to Scotland!

As you can see she’s turned out very nicely; the English walnut has polished up wonderfully.

I’m also extremely pleased with the bridge; you may remember that I’ve gone over to a new design with a removable saddle and I’m supplying Richard with a choice of bone or ebony saddles.

The removable saddle made the setting up process much easier for me and of course the player can do his own bit of fettling if he so wishes. I’m very pleased with the sustain of the instrument and Richard is going to experiment with the ebony and bone saddles and let me have some feedback. I must admit I preferred the sound of the bone saddle for some unquantifiable reason!

Parlour guitar

There are a couple more Parlour guitar videos on YouTube covering the design of the back and the soundboard.

Now of course many luthiers like to shroud their work in mystery and would never divulge the secrets of their soundboard! However, I’m quite happy to share my knowledge with you. I’ve been fortunate to meet many world-class luthiers and in my experience it is those who are confident in what they do, who are willing to help others and advise. Someone may well copy my design, but I’m a great believer that a guitar is greater than the sum of its parts and the influence of the hands that made it, have as great a part to play as the strutting pattern or choice of tonewood.

I find some of the threads on guitar forums both amusing and irritating; many players and luthiers (who should know better) will debate ad infinitum the merits of Dalbergia Thingamajig versus Dalbergia Thingamabob or whether bone bridge pins produce a better tone than ebony etc. You can’t just take one element of an instrument in isolation and assume it’s that element that makes your guitar superior or assume that because you tried out a wonderful guitar made from 35000 year old Kauri tonewood that all guitars must be made from this. Beware of forums!

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