Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Standard Mandolin (part I)

Recently, I mentioned that I’m putting together a new mandolin; The Standard.

As I said before, time is the most expensive component of any hand made instrument, so I’m hoping to keep the construction straight forward- cut down on the time- hence keep the price down. BUT still build to a high quality and use the construction techniques which I believe make for a better instrument.

Well, here are a couple of pictures of the progress so far. For the head shape I’ve resurrected a style that I used on some steel-string guitars many years ago.

The beauty of this shape is: one, it’s fully functional. Mandolin or guitar tuners should (unless you’re using a slotted head) always converge, I can’t understand the Martin style headstock where the tuners diverge- this means that 3rd and 4th strings can snag on the tuners of the 1st and 6th strings.

Secondly, as all the edges are straight, the head can be planed to shape. I estimate that this shape probably saves around 1 hour compared to my curved head shape that I use on the twin-point mandolin. Also no inlay- saves two hours!

Talking of the twin-point, the Standard shape is based on the twin-point minus the points which gives the traditional tear-drop design!

The vibrating area of the soundboard is virtually same as the twin-point, as is the internal volume, so the lack of points will not have any affect on the sound. But again there is a saving of time. When I make the twin-point, the sides are more complicated to bend, supporting blocks have to be fitted to hold the sides together, the linings are more complicated to bend and fit too. Once the body is made there is also a lot of time taken up with the bindings and in particular cutting mitres in the purflings. So not having points probably saves around seven hours work.

You can see that I’m still using solid linings and an X-braced back, the same proven construction as my twin-point.

So far that’s a ten hour saving- whatever your hourly rate is, you can see the lack of embellishments will have a favourable result on the price without build quality being compromised.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home