Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mandocello tailpiece and future mandolins

The mandocello is now being French polished and whilst this process is going on, I’ve made its tailpiece. There didn’t seem to be a decent commercial mando’ tailpiece available so I decided to make one. Also I wanted it to be able to accommodate ball-end strings so it owner won’t have to source expensive, long, loop end strings.

A great help whilst making the tailpiece was my Axminster cross-vice, it allows you to use your pillar-drill like a vertical milling machine and you can see it being used here in conjunction with a router bit.

The finished tailpiece is below and I’ll test it this week.


Early next year I’m going to be building a mandolin for a lady called Jill. She likes quilted maple, so I was fortunate that my wood supplier was willing to prepare two slices for the back and sides and a matching neck blank all from the same board. You can see a piece of it below: it’s hard to believe that its surface is flat and smooth.

I’ve stared to build another mandolin for fun, from less usual “mandolin wood.” The photo below is not of sides of smoked salmon but some cocobolo (rosewood from Mexico)!

I’ve always liked the multiple piece backs that early fretted instruments had, so I thought that I would do something similar here. The middle piece of wood is Brazilian rosewood. It’s going to be quite something!

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Blogger richard h said...


I'm currently thinking about the tailpiece for my cittern (work in progress -!) - were you happy with your design you used on your mandocello?

best regards


10:57 pm  
Blogger Gary Nava, Luthier said...

Hi Richard,
Yes I was very pleased with the tailpiece that I designed and made for the mandocello. The only trouble was that it took me two days to make it! Although I would make one of these designs again for a mandocello, I think that it would be too heavy, both aesthetically and physically, for a mandolin.
Cheers Gary

2:55 pm  

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