Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting Game

I’ve just completed the French polishing of Tony’s Standard Plus; it’s looking really good as you can see below. The walnut is wonderful- don’t you just love pretty wood! Now we wait for it to harden off.
Also the E-mando has had its last coat of Tru-oil and that too must now harden off, although it won’t need as long as the French polish. There are a few choice shots for you below. It should be completed by mid- April and will be on sale on my web-site for 700 GBP including as semi-rigid gig bag and a stereo Y- lead. Got to be the bargain of the year!
Standard V
And last but not least the next Standard (American Black Walnut back, sides and neck) is coming along nicely too!

Have a good Easter!

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Friday, March 15, 2013

E mando progress

Well the French polishing of Tony’s mandolin continues and in between polishing sessions I’ve been working on the e-mandolin. Believe me, it has been very much a week of experimentation!
The blade humbucker works very well; using a blade style eliminates any worries about the alignment of pole-pieces. 
I tried a couple of different piezo transducers to see which works best; an Artec and a Headway. I had to make up a rough bridge in order test them and in this situation i.e. without the benefit resonant hollow body, the Artec unit seemed to work best- its higher output balances better with the humbucker and by the time it goes through an external pre-amp the tone is really good too. I also made 3 different saddles; ebony, bone and micarta. Without doubt the ebony worked best by reducing some of the harshness and helping to limit the sustain. 

So next week, I can start sorting out the fiddly bits, prep for finishing and apply the finish- Tru-oil in this case; my favourite solid body finish.
Remember John’s twin-point?
Well he posted a thread on Mandolin Café forum and you can read what he and others have to say about it, whilst I quietly blush! Many thanks for posting this John. The link's below.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Mandolin Update

You can see that polishing has started on Tony’s mandolin and the real beauty of the wood is starting to show.
I mentioned the figured maple bindings in a previous post- here’s the effect that I was hoping for.

 In between polishing sessions the e-mando has grown some frets!
I’m often surprised that “special” fretting hammers are sold by luthier suppliers, most of them variations on dead-blow hammers and soft face mallets. Well here is mine and I think that I have virtually fretted every instrument for 30 odd years with it. A quite simple ball-pein with its face carefully polished and the edges rounded so that there are not any burrs or such like that could mark the fret. It works so well!

Anyway thought that I’d design and make the tailpiece for the ball-end strings- again this emphasises that when I say my instruments are handmade, I mean it! 

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Mandocello tunes

Those who have followed my blog, may remember this English walnut mandocello that I made for Andrew in 2008?
I was very pleased to receive an email from him earlier this week, with links to a couple of tracks that he had put together with his wife Jane, featuring the 'cello. Coincidently, covers of songs by two of my favourite artists; Show of Hands and Steve Earle.
The links are below I hope that you enjoy them. Many thanks to Andrew and Jane.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

So what’s next?

 As you can see the construction of Tony’s Standard Plus is now complete and yesterday it was strung up “in the white”. I shall let it settle down over the weekend; some fettling next week and then strip it back down for polishing.
 Below, you can see why I like my pattern maker's vice so much; I’ve had so many enquires about this vice- Rutland Tools, if you are reading this you owe me commission! ;-)
The e-mando is still progressing and it should come on in leaps and bounds once I start polishing Tony’s.
So what’s next? All of the recent Standard Mandolins have been snapped up before I complete them so I thought that I’d start a couple more. Firstly, there is a Standard- I’ve got some really nice straight grain, quarter sawn American black walnut for the back and sides and a European spruce soundboard. It will also have a walnut and maple neck.
And secondly, a maple and redwood Standard Plus with an abalone dot and lozenge rosette. And maybe some snakewood…………….
If you’re interested in either of these two, feel free to email me via my website.
I noticed, with some sadness, that Harrods has closed its piano department. We all know times are tough but when such an iconic establishment says "It's really sad. This is one of the oldest departments in Harrods, but pianos don't do as well as handbags" you have to wonder where it will end.

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