Ah, I'm having fun!
Don Paine is about to start my F4, and we've been corresponding about wood types, neck designs, bracing, the sounds that come out of an F4...and fun things like...what color do I want? #
At the same time, I'm corresponding with Dale Ludewig about the details of my F5, which he will start shortly. #Similar discussions, different tonal objectives, different issues. #
I'm also looking at possibly getting one of Chris Stanley's instruments, and speaking with him about that.
As the old song says, "s'wonderful"! #These guys (and I'm sure many others like them) are tremendous. #Having someone talk with you about the tightness of the grain on a piece of spruce, and how that might effect the sound you are going for...or the many other fine details of an instrument being made just for you...it's a really great feeling, and a lot of fun.
These instruments are certainly not cheap. #But when you think about what you have to pay to get a really good mandolin from one of the two or three "big name" companies that make good mandolins, these custom instruments from really good, "up and coming" small shop builders are a great deal. #I'm paying less, in each case, than I would pay for a new...uh, mandolin from a certain famous maker. #And based on what I've seen (and heard) so far, I suspect I'll have a better instrument, in each case. #