View Full Version : Building a Mandolin.
Hello to all! Okay this is the Q-(S) I'm going to build a F style Mandolin under the auspicious eye of Gary Rickman, a violin maker here in Chi town, The reason is ; 1, I'm nuts, because I've never built one before, 2, I'm looking for a particular sound. I want alittle more projection. Not that I don't have some, but alittle more brightness would be great. Gary has alot of wonderful tools that measure sound, top thickness, pressure on the bridge etc.. All of which, is very alien to me at present. But I'm really lookin forward to this project. I had dicussed in detail what i'm lookin for and Gary had alot to add. I would like to obtain a set of working plans , and I'm planning on gutting a Epiphone MM-50 for shape etc. One thing that I've noticed is that the Epiphone is about 3/8" thinner than my buddies Alvarez, and the really nice Gibson F-12 that I've been playing. Spruce top. Rock maple sides, back and neck. Ebony fret board. sound about right? Thanks in advance, Drew. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif
I'm working on my first right now. I am using Roger Siminoff's newest mando construction book. It has a full set of plans as well as step-by-step instructions & photos. There are other plans available from mimf.com, Stew-Mac, and others. I am certainly no expert, but I'd say an import (like the Epiphone) probably would not be the best model to follow. Having the benefit of a luthier's shop and tools would be great, as would the "auspicious eye" of someone more experienced -- especially if he has built mandolins before.
Agreeing fully with the above poster, I only add emphatically: Drop everything (including that cheap mandolin!), and purchase Mr. Siminoff's new book (reasonable price at Amazon). To build an instrument based an import Epiphone's dimensions would definately be unadvisable.
The reason I'm using the Ep is for shape to make the side moulds. It measures out to the same as my Gibby. Drew.
A mandolin is a terrible thing to waste.
There are good drawings of a 1923 Gibson F-5 available from www.lmii.com, or the Guild Of American Luthiers has that same plan and a modified F-3 for sale (http://www.luth.org/plans/bp.htm#mandolins). I also have the Siminoff book, and the fold out plans appear to be very complete.
Thanks, I'll check them out Drew.
a mandolin is a treibble thing to taste.:angry:
You are in a lucky situation, having Gary Rickman as a mentor! He may cringe when it comes to finishing your mandolin by staining and spraying lacquer though. I have seen photos of his violins that were absolutely gorgeous-- oil varnish that he makes himself. Getting him to help you put a varnish on the mandolin would be a huge bonus. Tell him I said hello and that I have the most beautiful iron acetate solution waiting for a spirit varnish experiment that I made from a recipe he gave me.