View Full Version : Look what my wife made me, no really!

Gail Hester
Mar-01-2004, 3:35am
This is my first post so Iíd like to thank Scott and everyone involved for this site, my favorite. Iíd also like to thank all of the great players, builders and other experts who share their knowledge and experience so unselfishly, Lynn, Charlie, Darryl, Big Joe, Bruce and everyone else, youíre all the greatest.

This mandolin was built by my wife Gail who has been totally immersed in this project for about a year, six months actual build time. Sheís so talented, a meticulous craftsman and Iím very proud of her. Sheís read everything posted on this site and it seems like she can quote most of it from memory.

This mandolin was finished a couple days ago and is not from a kit, everything was built from scratch including the abalone from a shell. She built most of her own jigs, clamps and tooling. This mandolin blows me away, it plays and sounds great. It has a one piece quilt back, Engelmann top, radiused board, varnish and French polished finish and a Macassar ebony extension.

We showed it around this weekend at WinterGrass and everyone was very positive and supportive, thanks Bruce, Jamie and Bill. Darn it Scott, we went to see Bruce and missed getting to meet you by five minutes.

Oh no, I see sheís plundering through her wood pile, here we go again!!

Gail Hester
Mar-01-2004, 3:37am
The front.

Gail Hester
Mar-01-2004, 3:40am

Mar-01-2004, 3:55am
Wow, I gotta say this looks really great. I've been working on one for four months and I can tell you right now, its not going to look this good. She even put your name on the truss rod cover...I'm sure you are proud and so should she be. It just makes me feel good to see this kind of stuff happening.

Scotti Adams
Mar-01-2004, 6:11am
Very, Very fine looking mandolin...you better keep her happy and do as she says so she keep up this fine work. For the first one I'd say that thing is Brilliant... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-01-2004, 6:55am
That is fantastic. Does she have a sister?

Tom C
Mar-01-2004, 9:31am
Wow, That's very professional looking. stunning.

John Ely
Mar-01-2004, 10:21am
Great looking. Tell us how it sounds!?

Mar-01-2004, 11:54am
Excellent. That thing looks very, very good!!! My dream wife has always been one that played but to have one that could build me a mando everytime she wanted to give me a gift. Now I am torn between my dream, as if it is really going to happen anyways.

Mar-01-2004, 12:13pm
That is so cool! You are one lucky fellow. Very nice looking Mando. Beautiful figured wood and I love the flowerpot.

Gail Hester
Mar-01-2004, 12:38pm
Thanks everyone. I posted this because I knew Gail would get a big kick out of it and it worked because sheís really beaming. She does have a sister who is a multimedia artist and she did the design for all the inlay.

This mandolin is a joy to play and I havenít stopped smiling since she strung it up. Gail had some very specific ideas about building for tone and volume. She spent at least six months taking measurements of every mandolin she could get her hands on and every picture of a Loar she could find. For a new mandolin it sounds amazingly loud and open, it has great tone and rings like an oval hole while having the loudest, fullest chop of any mandolin Iíve ever played (Iíve never played any of the more than $15K variety). I have several very nice mandolins and this one is by far the best sounding. Before this mandolin was stained and finished, you could hold it in your lap and it would start vibrating when someone in the room started talking.

Mar-01-2004, 2:27pm
Way to go Gail, good job. I can tell your pleased Hester. Lets hope she does another.

Mar-01-2004, 5:00pm
Wow! that is amazing! I want to get started on mine soon, so this is very inspiring to see how well it can actually turn out. I love the quilted one piece back. It is stunning. Great job Gail!

Mar-01-2004, 5:12pm
Count yourself as one very lucky man Chuck. Tell your wife she did a wonderful job on the mandolin http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-01-2004, 8:01pm
That's just beautiful.

Mar-01-2004, 8:20pm
Where you get a woman like dat??

Mar-01-2004, 8:24pm
Really looks extra fine. You can tell she spent a lot of time on the details.

Mar-01-2004, 8:41pm
Awesome! Gail, you're the woman!!

Skip Kelley
Mar-01-2004, 8:43pm
Wow!! What a nice mandolin and to have a wife that can build a mandolin is a rare find indeed! Congratulations!!

Mar-01-2004, 10:03pm
You're a lucky man...

Gail Hester
Mar-02-2004, 2:31am
Thanks everyone for your kind words. I built this first mandolin to explore some ideas and to try some new things while keeping it as traditional as possible. Having it come to life and turn out looking and sounding the way I planned makes me want to start another one right away. Chuck played it on stage last night with a seven piece band and it came through loud and clear. The band members said they could hear it without putting it in the monitor system. He is the most particular musician I know about the sound and playability of his instruments and the fact that he hasnít picked up any of his others since this one was finished is very gratifying to me. Now if I could just stop having those nightmares about it caving in. -Gail

Mar-02-2004, 10:51am
Now if I could just stop having those nightmares about it caving in. #-Gail
I'll bet you're not joking here. I've had nightmares about my mandolin too. The night I attached the neck, I dreamed that I unclamped it, picked it up by the neck, and the neck and mahagony block detached, leaving the body stuck to the table. I had to throw a robe on and go downstairs to look it over at 4 A.M. After I read about cats peeing in mando cases, I dreamed my cat peed in one of the f holes. Funny how new builders torment themselves. I'm hoping when I get on with my second or third, the dreams will turn more pleasant.

Gail Hester
Mar-02-2004, 6:28pm
Your right, no joke. I got up one morning ready to glue it all back together. The hide glue must have been traumatic because I dreamed every seam had come apart. I was surprised when I found it still holding strong. -Gail

Mar-02-2004, 8:08pm
Ok so this is not about Mando's but one of my customers told me that a few days before he recieved his custom guitar I was building for him, he dreamed that the neck just snapped off, but then I told him it was no problem and I whipped out a neck despenser..like the pez despensers and I just said it would happen from time to time and just to take the neck and screw it on. #In the dream I took the neck and a long drywall screw and scrwed it on and he was back in business... #at any rate his guitar turned out a littel better than that... here it is:


Mar-02-2004, 8:18pm
To Chuck's wife Gail:

Will you marry me for about 6 months to a year?

Just kidding. That is one fine looking mandolin. Great job!

Gail Hester
Mar-02-2004, 9:30pm
John, thatís a very beautiful guitar, I love the fretboard inlays. Iíve done allot of guitar work lately, replacing the back on a 60s Martin and some fret jobs including a 60 Telecaster and other repairs and refinishes. Iíll have to try building one sometime. I have a large slab of 40 year old Walnut thatís been taunting me.

PickinFool, thatís illegal in this state (ha), thanks!

Tom Glen
Dec-02-2009, 1:34pm
Gail, I was visiting Ken Sager's Myspace and discovered a real jewel. Ken was playing an A-5 that you built and this is one fantastic mandolin. I don't think I have heard any A mandolin that sounds better. I understand you built the mandolin using the Loar specifications of the only A-5 that Loar actually built. All I can say is "Wow." Then when I started a search on the forum I found this fantastic mandolin that you built for your husband. Your husband is one lucky guy. This is one beautiful mandolin. Keep up the great work.

Rick Schmidlin
Dec-02-2009, 2:53pm
Very cool indeedeeeeedo :mandosmiley:

Gail Hester
Dec-03-2009, 1:03am
Wow, this is an old thread...that was my first mandolin. Thanks Rick and Tom.

Tom, Ken Sager is a great player and I love listening to Ken play my mandolins. In Ken's Myspace video he is playing one of my Carpathian spruce topped A5s. Ken is a member here so maybe he will chime in. Here is the link to his vidio with the amaizing 14 year old fiddle player Ruby Jane.


Dec-07-2009, 2:48pm

You don't know me, but I feel like I know you from your presence here on the Cafe. I can tell you I got chill bumps reading the first part of this thread - because I know what a great mandolin builder you have become. It also solidifys my belief that you can be taught to build a mandolin, but there is something that is just not teachable (or inborn) that separate extraordinary "artists" form ordinary ones. You (and many others here on this site) are exceptional.

Dec-07-2009, 4:43pm
you sir are the most fortunate man in the universe....she is certainly the loar standard of spouses..