Mandolins, Mandolins, Mandolins!
Mandolins seem to be temporarily taking over! I got Paul’s mandolin playing last week; one thing that I enjoy about mandolin building is that, due to the floating bridge and tailpiece, you can set the instrument up prior to applying any finish.
You may remember the “Red Mandolin” from a couple of years ago.
You may also remember Richard’s English walnut mandolin, unfortunately he allowed a friend to play it and it picked up a few finger nail marks on the soundboard.
Richard can’t live with the marks, so I’m re-polishing the soundboard for him. Fortunately, the nail marks haven’t torn the grain, so they sanded out quite easily. I was surprised, however, at how resilient the polish was to sanding.
The case against using French polish is it perceived fragility. However, the polish is applied thinly and what ever medium you use, it is sitting on a very soft surface. With fingernail marks, it isn’t the finish that is scratched as such, but the wood that is underneath the finish is dented.
I’m also designing a new mandolin that I’m going to call the “Standard”. In these times of austerity, not every musician can afford to own a bespoke, hand-made instrument. So in bid to build a mandolin that is more affordable, and that competes with the like of Moon and Fylde on price, I’m designing a no-frills instrument. Time is the most expensive component of any hand made instrument and building one-off instruments to a clients specific needs is extremely time consuming. With the Standard, I shall concentrate on the features that influence the sound and playability and strip back any unnecessary adornments. This will be a real exercise in "form following function." The result will be a beautifully sounding, playable hand-made mandolin at a reasonable cost to the player.
Watch this space for more information.........