View Full Version : 2016 Wildwood Mandobass

Jake Wildwood
Mar-28-2016, 1:09pm
First of all, I've written this whole project up in detail (and with a soundclip) at my blog post on it (http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2016/03/2016-jake-wildwood-mandobass.html).

But, to sum it up -- I had this playing "in the white" at a show on Friday after two days' build. I was really pushing myself to get it done quickly. It's vaguely based on the sizing of old Gibson mandobasses with a touch of the aesthetic of the 30s Kalamazoo mandobasses. I wanted it to be durable, functional, and something I didn't care about getting all scratched-up like I knew it would be.

The scale length is shorter (34") which is similar to a few early Gibson MBs and I've strung it with upright 1/4 scale strings (Corelli 350s) though I may try roundwounds for the heck of it at some point. It's tonebar-braced, the body is entirely 1/16" birch ply (flat top/back), and the center 3/4" of the (maple) neck runs through from the headstock to the endblock.

After playing a lot with various bridges since Saturday I'm happy to say I've arrived at the tone/power I wanted out of it and it easily supplied bottom-end growl for a two-guitar, two-mandolin group even with my original (not-best-sounding) bridge setup. The current bridge isn't the one that's still on it (though it's similar but has a 3rd foot in the center to engage that portion of the soundboard).








Mar-28-2016, 1:11pm
This is gorgeous man! Thanks for keeping such a cool instrument alive :) I love the blackface!

Jake Wildwood
Mar-28-2016, 1:12pm
Danke! FYI it's actually "forest-green-face." :D

Mar-28-2016, 1:21pm
Really nice.

F-2 Dave
Mar-28-2016, 1:23pm
Cool! Nice job. Do you play seated or standing?

Jake Wildwood
Mar-28-2016, 1:27pm
I think seated is more comfortable. I haven't figured out how to do standing right, yet.

Mar-28-2016, 1:40pm
Really nice.

Mar-28-2016, 1:42pm
Very cool Jake. Are you putting a pickup in?

Mar-28-2016, 1:44pm
Nice work and it sounds pretty cool, too.


Mar-28-2016, 1:58pm
I love that sound clip on your blog. I don't know why but I kept expecting/hoping you'd break into The Pink Panther Theme!

Bob Bass
Mar-28-2016, 2:16pm
Well done Jake! Very impressive tone w/depth and body!

Jake Wildwood
Mar-28-2016, 2:30pm
Very cool Jake. Are you putting a pickup in?

It'll get a K&K Big Twin installed with a jack mounted in the string-ends, probably.

- - - Updated - - -

Well done Jake! Very impressive tone w/depth and body!

Thanks! And thanks to all the other comments, too. :)

Mar-28-2016, 5:17pm
Tres cool, Jake.
Very nice sounding especially with the soft pick.

Jill McAuley
Mar-29-2016, 1:09pm
Looks and sounds fantastic - love it!

Mar-29-2016, 3:26pm
Sounds great. How much does it weigh? I was wondering if you could attach a small weight under the head, and thereby bring the centre of gravity up so you could play it easier standing up. Or maybe it's ok already?

Jake Wildwood
Mar-30-2016, 12:29am
Thanks again, guys, and here's some updates and replies:

#1 Will weigh it tomorrow for ya -- it's not heavy, though, at all.

#2 It stands-up just fine and I've figured out a good posture for playing upright -- very much like playing double bass but with the soundboard at slightly more of an angle to make flatpicking easy. I also tried it "thimbles" style with a couple of fingerpicks and found that I could use my double bass techniques (adapted) pretty easy with those, too. To get that "3/4" angle of the body I'd have to make a 3/4-installed endpin like on the old Gib MBs. Maybe for mandobass #2? -- though I don't play at that angle, really, as it kills my left arm that way. I like to be a bit more behind the neck.

#3 Two more bridges later and I have a winner -- 3-foot, mahogany, and rosewood-topped/adjustable:


Ron McMillan
Mar-30-2016, 1:14am
Superb blog post. Well done.

Charles E.
Mar-30-2016, 8:08pm
Digging that bridge Jake. The whole concept is very cool.

Jim Garber
Mar-30-2016, 8:45pm
Nice going, Jake! And it sounds great.

Just curious, you say the top is tonebar-braced. I assume you induced some kind of arch in it?

Jake Wildwood
Mar-31-2016, 12:49am
Up in the middle of the night with the little one at the moment -- nope, it's simply flat and I expected a tiny bit of depression with tension -- which it has -- but it's sort-of designed-in since the idea is that this functions more like a banjo than a mando in terms of structure.

Thanks Charles. :)

Other notes from the last couple days -- strings are settling-in and sounding more to my liking... and I added strap-buttons and that's how I've been playing it since this morning (held mariachi-bass-style/elec bass-style) and I like it best this way. I may have to fill my endpin hole, now! Still haven't weighed it, yet, but it's about as heavy as your average Fender P or Jazz bass in total.

Mar-31-2016, 1:09am
Wow. Very cool with a nice sound.