Saturday, April 29, 2017

New e-mando design ideas

 Due to all the various commissions that I’ve been fortunate to have had, this is the first instrument that I’ve built on spec for about four years. “Experimental” is too strong a word, but there were a few things that I wanted to try out.
Firstly, a shorter fretboard (not scale length); so this e mando has 19 frets instead of 22. Why? This means that the neck pick-up can go about an inch further north which gives a mellower tone and in turn, creates room for a second humbucker at the bridge. Hence increased tonal variation.
And secondly, materials- some background- I had an enquiry back in January from a chap in Californian who wanted a cocobolo octave mandolin; at that stage the new CITES regulations had just come in and as I have no paperwork for my current stock of wood I had to decline. It did make me however, do some research into shipping to the USA. I found the fish and wildlife dept extremely helpful; it seems that there are issues with pearl too- the need for import permits and the instrument has to enter the USA via the appropriate port which can deal with such things.
So, in a bid to construct an instrument that could be shipped trouble free, world-wide I've tried a few alternative materials. This electric mandolin has metal (aluminium in this case) inlays, a rocklite ebano fretboard (man-made ebony substitute) and a Graphtec tusq nut and saddle. The body and neck are ash and maple which being temperate hardwoods should pose no problem, as far as I can tell, in shipping anywhere worldwide. Maybe this would be the sensible approach for an acoustic instrument too, using say maple or walnut for the back and sides (they both make great sounding instruments) and maple for the neck.
The e mando is currently being finished in Tru-Oil and should be for sale on my website early summer 2017.

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