Tuesday, April 13, 2021

E mando- putting it together: 1

When I do my final assembly of an instrument, out of habit, I always start with the tuners. The shafts of the tuners get a coat of paraffin wax to lubricate them, helping them to rotate more freely as they “bed in” over time. 
Perceived wisdom says that you fit the bushes first. However, I like to fit the tuners and then the bushes as the shafts act as a guide to keep the bushes true. I can only do this because I have a very special tuner bush fitting tool- actually it’s the handle from a multi-bit screwdriver set which just happens to work perfectly!
The tuners are high quality Gotoh MA40; this set has ivoroid buttons which complement the maple bindings and as there is no pearl used throughout the mandolin, pearloid ones didn’t seem appropriate, but it is beyond me why they cost an extra 20 quid!
Then the fret board gets its last coat of lemon oil before the strings go on.
All the “metalwork” gets a final once-over with a fine abrasive pad- I like a “brushed aluminium” look rather than an overly shiny one.
Where I need to, I prefer to use stainless steel screws, all these are cleaned-up for that same brushed look. Each screw goes into an electric drill which is used as a mini-lathe!

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