View Full Version : My new Arches Flat Top (#14)... A Black Face ! ! !

Apr-14-2005, 4:46pm
OK, so I've actually had it for nearly two days now, but I could find the time to put it down.


On with the review:

In context, this is my first proper custom made mandolin, and my first flat top. Here in the UK, it's much easier to get to play flat tops than anything else. I'm upgrading from a F-style Bean Blossom.

Now, I'm not going to go into lengthy praise of Chris Baird at Arches, suffice to say he is a great fellow, true to his word, efficient and thorough. He keeps communications very well, which is always nice.

The mandolin itself is fantastic. It looks amazing, and sounds really great. It weighs in a a full 300 grammes lighter than the bean blossom, but does not feel frail in any way. Finish is impeccable.

Only drawback: impossible to get a decent photo. It's simply too deep black and too shiny! This is how shiny it actually is:


The sound is very complex. It has a quality of depth which is very pleasant, and has a mellow tone without losing clarity. It feels to me like I have a friendly voice speaking softly to my ear.
Sustain is very excellent, and give chords a resonance that makes playing slow tunes a real treat.

The mand is very comfortable to play, with only a slight v in the neck.

Here's the back:


Apr-14-2005, 4:49pm
The binding is herringbone, as is the rosette:


I wanted to do something with the fact that herringbone is a fish part, so I asked Chris to make a fish out of it.... See if you can spot it:



Apr-14-2005, 4:52pm
And to finish off, the peg head. Macassar Ebony. Lovely. I'm so happy! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif http://www.grandmainger.com/avatars/smileys/yahoo.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif


Apr-14-2005, 5:04pm
Very, very nice!

Jim M.
Apr-14-2005, 5:05pm
Congratulations, and welcome to the Arches fan club! That finish is beautifully done, and I like the herringbone pun. I'm still loving my Arches flat-top and am on the waiting list for an arch-top now.

Eric F.
Apr-14-2005, 5:07pm
Very nice!

Apr-14-2005, 5:11pm
That's a verrry nice mandolin, I really like the blackface and blonde back. Cool fish head and tail, subtle little touch.

Baron Collins-Hill
Apr-14-2005, 5:15pm
amazing mando, arches will definitely be first on my list for a custom, whenever i can make enough dough.

by the way, that smiley is quite nice as well. do you make those with Flash?

man doh
Apr-14-2005, 5:37pm
Nice mando. Like the binding and the peghead.

When Chris told me a couple of months I thought "No Problem". But you guys are killing me.

Apr-14-2005, 6:09pm
Really stunning. I love the herringbone with the black face; the shape is nice too. Is the back flat as well?


Apr-14-2005, 10:50pm
What a great mandolin! Chris is really talented. I hope you enjoy it a lot.

Eric F.
Apr-14-2005, 10:59pm
But how did Chris get your face to appear in the finish? Man, that IS talent! I didn't realize that was an option when I ordered mine. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

I am a couple of weeks away from a varnish finish archtop from Chris. Can you say "anticipation"?

Apr-14-2005, 11:31pm
Wow! That's beautiful... congratulations and great job Chris. I really like the black face and blond back. The fish is an excellent touch... something you'll only get from a one-off craftsman.

I'm envious!

Paul Doubek

Apr-15-2005, 3:16am
Thanks all for the kind words. It is a very nice instrument.

Keith: Yes, the back is flat as well.

Eric: http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif Chris is a true magician.

PhishPhan: The smiley is just an animated GIF file. Right-click on it to save it to your PC if you want http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif


Apr-15-2005, 4:08am
Fantastic. .....As my mother would say,"play it in good health".


Apr-15-2005, 11:08am
What a GREAT looking mandolin !

I love the contrast of blond and black and herringbone .

The " Fishy " little touches really personalize the piece.

One question though , How are you going to keep the Drool marks from showing ?