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View Full Version : Siminoff H-4 kit build is done



Mark Marino
Nov-01-2013, 7:21am
I feel like a proud Papa.. six long months of whittling away at this but it's finally done! Basic H-4 specs but I installed a Virzi and THINK it adds to the complexity of the sound. I used Golden Age vintage look tuners and despite mixed reviews, at least this set works extremely well. I put some burled walnut veneer on the back of the peghead and dyed it to match the burst color.
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SanzoneGuitar&Mandolin
Nov-01-2013, 7:25am
Heck yeah! beautiful job and it looks excellent on the old piano. Nice burst too.

F-2 Dave
Nov-01-2013, 7:58am
Great job. It's beauitful.

Larry S Sherman
Nov-01-2013, 8:03am
That piano pic might be one of the best mandolin pictures I've ever seen!

Congrats!

Larry

Bill Snyder
Nov-01-2013, 8:20am
How is it braced?

Jim Garber
Nov-01-2013, 8:33am
What does the tailpiece engraving say? La Mia Voce? My Voice?

Very nice job!!

Perry Babasin
Nov-01-2013, 9:25am
Great job!! That looks beautiful, and great photos as well... I can almost hear it!

Steve Sorensen
Nov-01-2013, 10:03am
Nice work! Would love to hear a little sampling!
Steve

Eric Michael Pfeiffer
Nov-01-2013, 11:03am
Excellent job!

Skip Kelley
Nov-01-2013, 11:04am
Mark, great job! The mandola look awesome! So does the piano!

Mark Marino
Nov-01-2013, 11:13am
Thanks everyone. A few answers:

It's transverse braced, with the braces on the thin side. I had thought about experimenting with X bracing but wasn't sure how to fit the Virzi so it would work. I also paid obsessive attention to the graduation and thickness of the back, as I built an F4 earlier that the back was too stiff on, and lacked warmth.

Yes, I had the tailpiece engraved "La Mia Voce", which means "my voice" in Italian. Given that the mandola isn't normally used in hopped up bluegrass or other lively music, I plan on learning some classical and slow romatic stuff so I figured I'd label it to match.

This thing sounded amazing when strung up in the white. I finshed it in oil varnish and assume it will take several months for that finish to harden to a point that it doesn't dampen the sound as much, but still sounds great today. I have to figure out how to take a video in appropriate resolution and post-- maybe this weekend.

billhay4
Nov-01-2013, 12:18pm
Nice job, Mark.
Bill

bernabe
Nov-01-2013, 12:27pm
Sweet!!

JEStanek
Nov-01-2013, 1:12pm
Wow! Congratulations, Mark. Your efforts paid off big time.

Jamie

bmac
Nov-02-2013, 12:21pm
That is awfully nice.

Ken Waltham
Nov-06-2013, 5:35pm
That is lovely work. Is this your first kit?
I think a pickguard would add a lot to the look of this, but, I really like them, perhaps you do not.
Ken

Fretbear
Nov-06-2013, 6:22pm
Looks great, well done.

Nick Gellie
Nov-06-2013, 11:21pm
Thanks everyone. A few answers:

It's transverse braced, with the braces on the thin side. I had thought about experimenting with X bracing but wasn't sure how to fit the Virzi so it would work. I also paid obsessive attention to the graduation and thickness of the back, as I built an F4 earlier that the back was too stiff on, and lacked warmth.



Hi Mark

I would have presumed that the graduations and thickness of the back would have been worked by Roger Siminoff beforehand, how did you know that you got the graduations right for this H4 mandola? Did you do any tap tuning to assist you in the process.

Cheers

Nic

Mark Marino
Nov-07-2013, 9:49am
Hi Mark

I would have presumed that the graduations and thickness of the back would have been worked by Roger Siminoff beforehand, how did you know that you got the graduations right for this H4 mandola? Did you do any tap tuning to assist you in the process.

Cheers

Nic

Good question. Long answer... Yes, the back came pre-graduated by Roger. But from an F4 I'd built prior and talking to several builders, I concluded the back thickness has a large impact on the low end response of the instrument, and used that theory on this instrument. When I got the back from Roger I charted the profile and thickness of the back, compared that to his F4 drawings, and figured I had room to work with. I went to work to push the minimum area thickness toward the F4 drawing minimums, stopping and tapping to see if I was making a difference. I didnt' tap tune to a note as much as just hear the tone drop. Then I tapered it out. I put the instrument together with the back removable (glued a sheet of paper between..) thinking I might have gone too far but it sounded great in the white.

I have a lot of respect for the work and tap tuning that Roger does; I just think the sound he's aiming for is different than what I wanted for oval hole mandos so I compensated. I actually have an F5 under construction today from one of his kits, where I had him tap tune it for me- can't wait to see how that turns out.

Mark Marino
Nov-07-2013, 9:51am
That is lovely work. Is this your first kit?
I think a pickguard would add a lot to the look of this, but, I really like them, perhaps you do not.
Ken

This is my second kit- first was an F4. Yes, I am making a pickguard right now. Wasn't sure I wanted one but I dont' want to risk scratching the top if I get over-zealous in a loud jam session :mandosmiley:

Nick Gellie
Nov-07-2013, 5:30pm
I have a lot of respect for the work and tap tuning that Roger does; I just think the sound he's aiming for is different than what I wanted for oval hole mandos so I compensated. I actually have an F5 under construction today from one of his kits, where I had him tap tune it for me- can't wait to see how that turns out.

Hi Mark,

Would you be able to elucidate a bit more on what sound he is aiming for, compared to what you are looking for? I would be very interested to find out how your F5 turns out given that you are getting it tap tuned by Roger.

Nick Gellie
Nov-07-2013, 6:36pm
Sorry double post

tmsweeney
Nov-08-2013, 9:10am
Really nice work! would love to hear it!

usqebach
Nov-08-2013, 9:16pm
Super nice work, Mark!

How long until you attempt a scratch build?

Steve-o
Nov-08-2013, 11:22pm
Looks fabulous Mark. I heard you finished it and it was nice, and the pics certainly confirm that. Maybe we could still get together for a mando tasting now that you have another axe (after hunting season of course). Happy picking.

Keith Newell
Nov-10-2013, 5:56pm
That is a very sweet looking mandolin, grats!
Keith

Mark Marino
Nov-10-2013, 6:51pm
Hi Mark,

Would you be able to elucidate a bit more on what sound he is aiming for, compared to what you are looking for? I would be very interested to find out how your F5 turns out given that you are getting it tap tuned by Roger.

First, the more I get into this, the more I feel like a 3rd grader discussing calculus, but I'll try to explain. I just got my F5 strung up in the white and it's pretty powerful and the notes pop. I think Roger is looking for a really tight resonance and power. Kind of what I'd expect from a BG mandolin. For the H4, I wanted a really smooth response and rich tone. I think the virzi and oval hole achieve that but refer to sentence one. I'm having a great time experimenting.

In my opinion, a virzi adds a bit of stereo chorus or reverb to the sound, which is great for solo playing but gets you lost in a band.

Not to take the thread on a tangent but I've been playing around with bridge type and think the placement and specifics make a huge difference-more so than I'd expected. I have been playing with the bridge and it seems the sound is different every time I make an adjustment.

Mark Marino
Apr-05-2014, 7:23pm
Long overdue but I finally learned how to do video. Here is a sound clip with some more pics.
http://youtu.be/5Imyqy2Q0RA

Gene Summers
Apr-05-2014, 8:19pm
Mark, Congratulations, you did a FINE job, it's beautiful! :cool: Love the color, love the tone of it too!

bigskygirl
Apr-05-2014, 10:31pm
Wow, very nice!

Steve-o
Apr-05-2014, 10:39pm
Mark - Very nice pics and sound clip. Lovely tone on that Mandola (must be the Virzi;)). I'm looking forward to seeing it soon.

Ken Olmstead
Apr-06-2014, 10:05am
That's gorgeous, really nice job on that one!!

Zissou Intern
Apr-06-2014, 11:37pm
Outstanding! Thanks for sharing.

usqebach
Apr-07-2014, 7:46am
Mark,

Not sure whether to compliment you more on your instrument or your playing, but I'm duly impressed with both! As to the playing, I'd like to point out that you really understand both timing and phrasing, which is a rare feat in today's music. Too many people think that "playing" the mandolin means an unending wave of staccato 16th notes played as fast as they can, without regard for grouping them together in an orderly fashion. I realize this is a mandola, but you get my point.

You, sir, represent a refreshing change of pace!

And of course, I love that rich mandola sound!

Jim

Mark Marino
Apr-07-2014, 11:29am
Thanks Jim- I could get no better compliment- it made my day!

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-10-2014, 1:05pm
I missed this thread. Excellent work Mark...and a nice vintage look/vibe to it also

ajr
Apr-12-2014, 6:55am
Mark,

That is one beautiful instrument you've got there and the sound is superb.

The Virzi seems to make a real difference. Did you get that through Siminoff as well?

Of course I can't forget to compliment you on your classy playing. That's a Beautiful piece as well. Is it your own?

Are you going to be putting any like this one out there for sale? We can only hope.

Well done and all the best

Ken Waltham
Apr-12-2014, 7:28am
What a completely lovely instrument, and so well used in your hands!! A lovely piece, played wonderfully, using this hand made mandola to it's fullest! You should be really proud.
Congratulations on a superb work! Probably the nicest "amatuer" made instrument I've ever seen, with equally beautiful playing.

Skip Kelley
Apr-12-2014, 8:55am
Mark, Love the video! Nice pictures of your good work and your playing is awesome!

Mark Marino
Apr-14-2014, 11:21am
Wow- thanks everyone; I truly appreciate the feedback coming from some of the experts!

Answering the questions:
1. Yes, the Virzi was ordered from Siminoff as well, and I've got to attribute at least part of the sound to it. I recorded the track totally dry (no effects) directly with my iPad, using a Mikey-Digital cheapo external mic. So all of what you hear is the instrument.
2. The tune: I just made it up as I went- just trying to combine some notes in a way that they rang long enough to display the tone of the instrument.
3. Will I be selling any kit builds? sorry- unlikely... although it came out better than I could have hoped, doing it for someone else would be hard to keep motivated for me.

Mandobart
Apr-14-2014, 1:59pm
Great job Mark. Looks and sounds first-rate!