Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mandolin necks—and more!

I seem to have 4 mandolin necks on the go at the moment and I just wanted to mention a few things that you might find interesting.

On the twin-point mandolins, I had been using my own slim variation of an A style head. However, I have had to increase the width of it accommodate using Alessi tuners.

Although the size of the tuners’ plate is standard, Alessi uses dome headed machine screws to hold the worm gear in place and this protrudes quite a bit, so you can see the problem below.

Here’s the same head with a set of Golden Age tuners from StewMac- no problem with the fit.

I thought that I’d get a set of Golden Age tuners to see what they are like. The trouble is that StewMac prices are much less competitive for me buying in the UK than they used to be- not their fault. You’ve got the exchange rate, international shipping, VAT at 20% when they get here and then DHL charge you £10 for collecting the VAT!!!!

And here's the new shape...........

I’m also preparing two Cuban mahogany necks for two more twin-pointers. This wood is wonderful. Most “Cuban” mahogany that you now get is plantation grown and it just ain’t the same!

This wood comes from the lid of a scrapped Victorian grand piano and I like the idea of the wood for a new instrument coming phoenix like from another. The lid was made in one piece and therefore is slab sawn; but imagine the size of the tree that it came from, it must have been huge! Against perceived wisdom it is also perfectly flat and straight.


What I do with these necks is use three pieces laminated together, with the grain of the middle piece running in the opposite direction to the outer pieces. This gives a neck great stability and also it gives the opportunity to turn the grain through 90 degrees and end up with quarter sawn wood!

Different size heads? A style for Charlie and F style for Sean.


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2 Comments:

Anonymous Julian said...

Hi, that piano's a great find! I dismantled a cheap upgright for the soundboard; unfortunately there was very little worthwhile on it.
Can I ask a question about your necks/heads? It looks as though you attach the head separatley... is that the case?

Cheers

J

12:05 PM  
Blogger Gary Nava, Luthier said...

Hi Julian,
Yes, I always do splice joint at the head.
Cheers Gary

3:32 PM  

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