View Full Version : The arrival of a Sorensen Sprite.

Jun-18-2016, 11:12am
For my 50th Birthday, my wife said "You should get a new mandolin."

So in November 2014, I contacted Steve to build me a tangerine-burst Sprite. Red-Spruce top, Birdseye maple back and sides, EVO frets, Waverly tuners, tortoise binding.

A year and a half later, I received this. It was worth the wait.








Ron McMillan
Jun-18-2016, 11:19am
Lovely. I really like the different take on design that Sorensens have.

Mike Arakelian
Jun-18-2016, 11:26am
Congratulations...a beautiful instrument. I'll bet it sounds as good as it looks. Enjoy!

Jun-18-2016, 11:30am
Just got to love the look of that - and the colour too - unconventional but looks just right for that design!

Jun-18-2016, 11:51am

Wow, that's a nice looking and very unique mando. What a sweet wife and birthday present. My wife also gave me one for my 50th, and oddly enough, it has Birdseye back and sides. Enjoy that Sorensen!

Don Grieser
Jun-18-2016, 11:55am
Beautiful. Love Steve's 2 point desgn and this one is perfect--that birdseye is spectacular.

Jill McAuley
Jun-18-2016, 12:12pm
The orange color and tortoiseshell binding look great together, what a beauty - congratulations!

Mark Wilson
Jun-18-2016, 12:17pm
nice tease with the pictures :cool: Love the sprite - enjoy!

Skip Kelley
Jun-18-2016, 7:03pm
Congratulations! Steve is an awesome builder! Enjoy that mandolin!

Jun-18-2016, 9:29pm
Nice. Wow. Nice.

Jun-18-2016, 9:45pm

You are also likely the beneficiary of Steve's "Randy Jones inspired" voicing that he's doing these days. He's takedn Sorensen voicing to a new level...

George R. Lane
Jun-18-2016, 10:16pm
Would you please refrain from posting photos of the gorgeous instruments, they makes get all shakey inside and I start drooling. So please stop the insanity (going on in my head). :grin:

I like the color. Imagine mine would be an ice tea burst with tortoise binding.

Jun-18-2016, 10:50pm
Can't believe no one's said it yet: please post a few sound clips for us! :)

If your mandolin was a woman, she'd be a supermodel... But I'm more interested in what she has to say, lol!

Barry Wilson
Jun-18-2016, 11:04pm
I think I need a smoke after seeing that

Jun-19-2016, 2:41am
Wow! Another beauty from Steve.

Atlanta Mando Mike
Jun-19-2016, 7:25am
Stunning, just stunning. Color, shading, pickguard, shape. Very aesthetically pleasing!!!

Denny Gies
Jun-19-2016, 7:30am
Well what can I add? WOW and NEAT.

Jun-19-2016, 9:57am
Thanks, all.

I'll try to get something recorded soon.

I told Steve that, aside from its stunning looks, it is the best mandolin I've ever played. Now, I will admit, I've never played a Gilchrist or Nugget or Ellis. So my sample size is limited to whatever I can try up here in Minnesota. (Although I have made it to the Mandolin Store and Gruhn's, and played some fine examples of other builders there. And guys I pick with at the bluegrass fests here have some really nice mandolins.)

Here's a quick rundown of my initial impressions, to go with the photos.

Sound: The one word I would describe it as is: ALIVE. I love my Collings MT, and other jam buddies, who knew I was getting a Sprite, have said, "If you ever sell the MT, let me know." Where the Collings is dependable for good, solid tone, this Sprite is magical. Some kind of crazy tonal pixie dust or something. In our conversations, Steve did talk about all that he learned from working with Randy Wood, as mentioned above. Whether it actually has that "voicing" or not, or just benefits from Steve's continued mastery of his craft, I don't know. All I know is that it's special. I know Red Spruce can take some time to play in, open up and evolve, but this thing is vibrant and resonant and loud, right out the chute. If it forgets it was ever a tree, it will be scary.

Playability: Again, my Collings has this in spades. My MT has the wider 1-3/16" nut, and I wrestled over this when ordering the Sprite. I played a Sprite at the Mandolin Store in March of 2015, and it had the standard 1-1/8" nut, which felt very comfortable, so I decided to just go with it. I am glad I did. The neck is perfect. It is definitely fuller than the Collings standard neck, so Steve's standard neck size does not feel diminutive in my hand. The action is perfect, and it responds to such an easy touch that I wouldn't be surprised if it helped my technique (not feeling like I have to try to play loud).

Build process: Steve was great. He sent me photos and emails all along the build, asking about wood choices, and appointments, and other details. (That pickguard was one choice I had to make. Ebony? Or Birdseye to match the finish? No question it was a stroke of genius.) He was excited to do a different-colored burst. Collings does a Tangerine burst, and that was the inspiration for it. It was funny; Steve sent a few pics when the burst was initially applied, and sent them to me. The photos made it appear that it leaned to a more pink tone at the edges, and I emailed back with a slight bit of concern. He immediately called my cell and talked me off the ledge. "No pink at all. Trust me."

It's a scary prospect, having someone build you something that you've never played, never seen, never held. Will it sound good? Will I like how it plays? Am I crazy to ask for a special-order color? Once you find the right builder, you gotta trust and let go. It'll be ok.

I've always owned A-style mandolins, as I always felt, for me, that F-styles were too fussy. Yes, they're beautiful, but because I always wanted to put my money into the tone/playability, I figured I'd rather save my money on the looks.

But two-points, man, to me, THEY are the perfect blend of subtlety and flair. I considered a Weber Bighorn, and Ben Wilcox's two-pointers. I even emailed Collings at one point to see if they were considering making one. But when I saw Steve's Sprite for the first time (I think it was the one on JazzMando.com), it immediately spoke to me.

No regrets. Wouldn't change a thing. It's perfect.

Anyhoo, glad you like the pics. I'll figure out something cool to record. (But everything sounds cool on it.)

Willie Poole
Jun-19-2016, 10:30am
Not much I can add except, "Just like with a woman, looks ain`t everything"....I want to hear it speak to me...

Glad you are so happy with it...It is beautiful....


Jun-20-2016, 10:52am
Here's a quick shot I took outside, which really is the most accurate one, color-wise.


Jun-20-2016, 12:53pm
Wow, that's beautiful, and looks very serious from the making music side.
I remember when you did the trip to TheMandolinStore and posted your thoughts and then ordered this up, I've been waiting on your review(huge Collings fan here also, so I wanted to hear how it worked out for you).

Really dig that color also. Amazing looking mandolin.

Eager to hear soundclips when you get a chance. My introduction to the Sorensen sound were the videos posted by Randy Jones after he got his-and my intro to "Southern Flavor". Had my eyes on one ever since.

enjoy, its a great looking beast

Jun-20-2016, 1:01pm
Definitely agree with the consensus. Congrats. Gorgeous!

Charles E.
Jun-20-2016, 6:38pm
Chris, congratulations on a beautiful mandolin! I have had a chance to meet Steve and play his mandolins at the last two IBMA's here in Raleigh and was very impressed. He does beautiful inlay as well, I would love to see a close up of the headstock on your Sprite.

Jun-20-2016, 9:31pm
Wow, I'd say you made all the right choices, it is stunning! And if you say it sounds as good as it looks, well then...

Jun-20-2016, 9:58pm
Happy for you, enjoy the hell out of it.

Jun-21-2016, 7:33am


Jun-22-2016, 12:03pm
Chris, congratulations on a beautiful mandolin! I have had a chance to meet Steve and play his mandolins at the last two IBMA's here in Raleigh and was very impressed. He does beautiful inlay as well, I would love to see a close up of the headstock on your Sprite.
Here you be, Charley!

and here's a closer-up shot of the pickguard


Jun-22-2016, 12:10pm
Stunning work!....not surprised coming from Steve S.

Charles E.
Jun-22-2016, 7:14pm
Love it! Reminds me of the art deco hood ornaments of Rolls Royce's and such.

Barry Wilson
Jun-22-2016, 7:31pm
I really dig the little bits of orange around the outside of the bindings. I like looking at the pics of all mandolins but man oh man. I am twitching like Zoidberg at the mention of food

Gladys S
Jun-25-2016, 6:14pm
I loved your series of photos! A nice ending to the suspense.

Al Trujillo
Jun-27-2016, 10:54pm

Aug-10-2016, 3:10pm
I know I swore I'd get sound files up, but here are a few new pics.

This mandolin really is something special. I told Steve that I picked up my Collings MT last night, probably for the first time since getting the Sprite. The MT is no slouch, but all of a sudden it felt clumsy and inelegant. And I'm not just talking about the sexy look of the Sprite. Feel. Tone. Playability. No comparison. It's not like the MT feels cheap, not at all. But it feels like riding a well-built, durable touring bike; vs. a luxurious, fast, nimble racing frame. And as exotic as the Sprite looks, it's all-day comfortable.

The MT will get some new strings tonight, as I'm heading to a bluegrass fest this weekend. Lots of people I play with love that MT. I don't think I'll sell it, as it's good to have a backup. For guitars, I play them all for different reasons/genres/tones/styles. But as of now, I haven't found a reason to play anything but the Sprite. (I had the ToneGard from my Collings on the Sprite for a while, but I took it off. Not necessary. I do have a McClung armrest on it, also swiped from my MT. Maybe if someone ever invents a birdseye one to match the Sprite's tangerine finish, I'll be in business. :whistling: )

The Sprite is so alive and resonant and provides such amazing feedback when I play it. And it MAKES me want to play. I've probably logged more mando-hours since I got it about six weeks ago, than I did in the 12 months prior.

And what a joy to open the case each day.





Aug-10-2016, 4:23pm
i like the design and the coloring... the tailpiece seems overly large for the design tho'... i like the design of the tp... it's just too big to my eye.

Aug-10-2016, 11:01pm
i like the design and the coloring... the tailpiece seems overly large for the design tho'... i like the design of the tp... it's just too big to my eye.

Never thought of it as such. It's a Deco-style by Bill James, which I think are the best in the business. He also does a "classic" and a "shell." (I've never seen Steve use the "shell.")

I don't think the Deco is much (if at all) bigger than the other styles, but Steve would know that. (My Collings has an Allen-style.)

I love it, but then I love things that are awesome. :grin:

Aug-10-2016, 11:11pm
That thing is hot.... no wonder why the sun wasn't out that day, the sun was intimidated...
Congrats on a beautiful musical instrument!

Steve Sorensen
Aug-11-2016, 12:28am
Glad our Tangerine Dream has got you pickin'!

The Deco James tailpiece is essentially the same size as a traditional F-style tailpiece cover.


Al Trujillo
Aug-12-2016, 9:10pm
Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!! Love that color, love the mando...everything about it!