Sunday, September 26, 2021

Twin-Point Head shape (new!)

I’ve always been a bit bemused by the design of most heads, be they guitar or mandolin. In my opinion, you want the strings to leave the nut and run, more or less, straight to the tuners. Also, you don’t want the tuners, nearest the nut, to interfere with the path of any of the other strings. So, from a purely functional point of view, it makes sense to have the tuners arranged in an isosceles trapezoid shape, so that as you get further from the nut, the tuners converge. Funny thing, I found this old worksheet that I produced for an electric guitar making course that I ran, back in the day!

The twin point mandolin has had a few head designs. The first ones were a bit Gibson A shape-ish, which I then narrowed at the top so the strings had a straighter path to the tuners. I then offered a “F” style head which a number of clients opted for, but I’ve always struggled with the aesthetics of this design.

When I designed my Standard mandolin, I used my “arrowhead” shape which I had used, on and off, for many years. The beauty of this design, is that you get the straight string path, its straight edges complement the plates of the tuners and it’s comparatively easy to make. A real application of “form follows function.”

I must admit that I like designs that are functional and are not dictated solely by appearance. This of course, is completely at odds with the twin-point mandolin as, the points are purely decorative (as in other designs such as the scroll on a “F” shape mandolin etc.). But equally, in this digital age, it’s nice to make an instrument that has the appearance of something from a by-gone era.

So, I’ve been trying to balance my need for the practical with old school aesthetics. And this is the new design: evolving from my “arrowhead” design and picking up the curves of the body’s points.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Making the twin-point's rim.

I’ve just completed the rim for the twin-point mandolin and below is the video of how I did it, as well as a few photos of the finished part. Making a video of the process, brought home to me, how much work is actually involved in its construction! As there are a lot of glue joints, all of which are left 24 hours before moving on to the next stage, the rim is assembled over a period of time, and as you work on it in short sessions, the total time spent isn’t really appreciated.


Thursday, September 02, 2021

Polishing Archtop #5

Just in case you’ve been wondering what’s happened to Archtop #5, well I’m in the middle of the French polishing process and in the photo, you can really see how the shellac pops the grain. Lovely!