Friday, November 30, 2018

Starting the Octave E-mando

I’ve progressed as far as I can with Pete’s e-mando (awaiting a shipment of Gotoh tuners!), so let’s make a start on Dave’s octave e-mando……
The body is being made from wenge; I know no other wood quite like it and although it’s a bit challenging to work, it’s a lovely material.
 I had to take it down a fair bit…….remember I’m the bloke without a planning machine.
Once the joint was made, but before it was glued together, the wiring channels were routed and drilled and coated with screening paint.
After it was glued-up the whole thing was covered in masking tape in order to facilitate accurate marking out.
A bit of routing, drilling and sawing and we’re up to here.
The next step will be shape the curves and contours that will make it comfy to hold next to your body.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Commissioning an instrument

Over the past years the vast majority of the instruments that I have built have been commissioned by individual clients. Throughout the course of each build, it has been a real pleasure to get to know so many kindred spirits (many of whom end up being firm friends), hear their thoughts, listen to their feedback and grow from that.
However, I’ve decided that for the foreseeable future I’m going to limit my commissions to one or two per year. The experience of building the last two archtops has told me one thing; I want to build more of them! And I like the idea of building them speculatively; I can tweak the design, try different tonewoods, change the specification etc. without the creative restraints that a commission may impose. That way its design and my making can continue to evolve.
Also, I have a list of instruments, in my head, that I wish/need to build and I ask myself, “If not now, when?”
So, check this blog from time to time, you'll see what's on the bench and also my website’s FOR SALE page, as there may well be some interesting instruments available. And of course still feel free to contact me with your commission ideas; you never know I might be tempted!
Cheers Gary

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Friday, November 16, 2018


If you’ve been looking at the blog lately, you would have seen me sawing big chunks of wood by hand; so, for a change I’ve been cutting some aluminium.
I’ve just completed two e-mando tailpieces; one for Pete’s e-mando which you’ve seen already and the second for Dave’s electric octave mandolin which is still on the drawing board (but hey, I know it needs a tailpiece!). Here are a few photos to give you a flavour of the process.
And here is Pete’s with the bulk of the construction work done and looking very pretty- I now need to sort out all the fiddley bits!

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Friday, November 09, 2018

E-mando fretboard

If you’ve watched my archtop videos, you’d have seen how I tackle the neck joint. The method is virtually the same for my e-mandos; because they’re solid bodies, it doesn’t mean that I’m any less fastidious!
Once the neck has been glued to the body, 4 hardwood dowels “lock” it in place.
Then the wedge (which, as the neck tilts back, is needed to support the end of the fretboard) is glued in place. That little phrase “is glued in place” belies the amount of work that goes in to it!
And then the fretboard is glued on……………
Now it’s really coming together.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

E-mando progress

Back to the bench then………………Pete’s emando is coming along nicely; the head cut-out, drilled and inlaid.
Always a bit bizarre tapping a thread in wood!
And a major step forward the neck joining to the body.

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Archtop Sold

I’m pleased to tell you that the Walnut archtop has now been sold. Amanda and I were extremely pleased that it went to an existing “Nava” owner and, as I’ve said before, someone coming back for a second instrument is the highest compliment that can be paid! Have a look at the last few posts on this forum thread for the reaction.