View Full Version : Jacobson Nautilus 10-string Concerto mandolin/mandola

Marty Jacobson
Aug-06-2016, 5:23pm
Here's a fun one, the first 10-string Concerto model I've made. The general goal is to add a C course to a mandolin while retaining overall feel and playability of a mandolin. The scale length ranges from 13.75"/35cm on the treble side to 15"/38cm on the bass side. Even though it shares 97% of the DNA with one of my normal mandolins, there were still plenty of challenges, and getting the fretboard worked out and every note playing in tune was many hours of fun.
But it's finally done and it is quite a pleasure to play. It fits in a normal mandolin case and I tried to keep it as "normal looking" as possible.

Nautilus 10-string Concerto #38
Custom 13.75” to 15” multi-scale, tuned CGDAE
Sitka spruce top, custom Concerto voicing intended for Thomastik Mittel strings
Parallel tone bar bracing
Nouveau f-holes with smoked etimoe purfling inlay around sound holes
1.95" side depth (deeper than usual body, but not so deep as to lose the clarity of trebles)
Highly figured bookmatched walnut back w/ sapwood
5-piece walnut and curly maple neck w/ extra carbon fiber reinforcement
Compound radius black ebony fretboard w/ walnut and maple angled fret markers on top and side of fretboard
Highly figured walnut headstock w/ thin line Jacobson script inlay
1.32″ (1.39” on the hypotenuse) nut width, standard compound radius
C shaped neck, custom shallow profle
.080″ x .040″ frets ("Banjo frets")
Thin satin marine varnish finish

There is no plastic binding -- the walnut sides, maple and fumed etimoe (black stripes) sides act as binding, and the fretboard feels just like a bound neck (undercut fret tangs, and the fret slots do not extend to the edge)

Jacobson wenge bridge, special compensated and angled ebony saddle
Jacobson engraved and selectively darkened brass tailpiece with black ebony frame

Custom 10-string Rubner tuning machines with gloss brass finish and rosewood buttons, teflon bearings

Aug-06-2016, 5:51pm
That thing is awesome!

I want one!

I think it is amazing that you keep it a "normal" mando size, but I will likely try to talk you into going with a larger body size when you make me one...

Great work as always!


Marty Jacobson
Aug-06-2016, 6:01pm
Thanks, Alan -- this is just one of many approaches you could take to making a 10-string instrument, I'm already working on other permutations of this idea. Fun stuff.

Steve Sorensen
Aug-06-2016, 6:42pm
Really cool!

Mike Arakelian
Aug-06-2016, 8:21pm
Beautiful job Marty...as usual!

Aug-07-2016, 11:29am
Beauty to the eyes and ears.


Aug-07-2016, 12:53pm
Lovely job!

Eric Oliver
Aug-07-2016, 1:43pm
Sublime work there Marty!

Randi Gormley
Aug-07-2016, 4:22pm
Beautiful to look at and listen to. I love the sound. Bravo!

Bob Clark
Aug-07-2016, 4:38pm
Wow, Marty, that's a beauty!

Skip Kelley
Aug-08-2016, 5:32am
Nice work, Marty! Amazing as always!

Aug-08-2016, 11:19am
Now, all it needs is an operator.

Marty Jacobson
Aug-08-2016, 12:36pm
Now, all it needs is an operator.

I got a guy lined up, his initials coincidentally match the inlays. Oh, serendipity.

Aug-08-2016, 1:28pm
Oh, serendipity
I don't know that song; how does it go again?

Aug-26-2016, 1:48pm
I've just received this instrument.
First, Mary is the master of packing an instrument. Totally bombproof job and absolutely professionally done.
The instrument itself is as perfect as one can get cosmetically. I can't match Marty's camera work above, but I can say the thin finish is lovely and shows off the terrific wood beautifully. The flat neck shape is great for someone with little hands like me and a 5-course instrument like this. It doesn't tend to position the hand in one place like a v-neck does so you can easily move to reach the C-course. Marty did a great job keeping this instrument more or less mandolin sized while allowing it full advantage of the 5-courses.
Of course, I can't play it worth a darn yet, but that's to be expected with a totally new design for me. It'll come. The initial sound is loud and crisp. The string spacing is narrow, but with small hands that won't bother me as I get used to it. The fret fanning is not radical and I've had no issue in the few minutes I've played it.
By the way, the strap Marty's wife Monica made is terrific. Great attachment mechanism, lovely soft, waxy leather, and top flight stitching. The addition of my own logo is an extra I am totally happy to have.
Finally, Marty's design work and construction methods are innovative and first rate. In my view, he's a bit of a genius in that department, having invented on his own a totally new way of assembling an instrument that is time-saving and efficient while giving up none of the A mandolin's aesthetic.
Bill Hay

Aug-26-2016, 2:33pm
Congratulations, Bill! Awesome instrument!

Eric Foulke
Aug-26-2016, 7:42pm
Congrats Bill! Marty's work is second to none.

Sep-23-2016, 4:24pm
Been playing this a while. Very crisp and loud. The tight string spacing is taking some getting used to, but I'll get there. The fanned frets haven't been an issue, but combined with the five courses, I find chording a bit of a challenge. It's something even a lifetime beginner like me can accomplish, though. Just a matter of putting your time in.
Not a mistake on this instrument as far as I can tell (and I build some instruments, so I'm used to finding mistakes). Marty's work is impeccable.
The Rubner tuners are very nice. The bridge is a work of art, and not an easy one at that with fanned frets and a radiused fretboard. The soundhole bindings are perfect and a great compliment to the shape of the soundholes.
I can't say enough about Marty's work, but I hear he's straying from the true path lately. Can't wait to see what he has in store for us next.
This will serve me very well for many years to come.
Oh, and Monica's (Marty's wife) strap is just lovely. Soft, buttery leather, perfect stitching (by hand), and even has my logo on it.

Marty Jacobson
Sep-23-2016, 4:28pm
Glad you are enjoying it, Bill!

Sep-23-2016, 5:09pm
Didn't take the bait, huh?

Marty Jacobson
Sep-24-2016, 12:58pm
Hopefully I will be taking pictures today... :-)

Rick Jones
Sep-29-2016, 8:19am
This may be slightly off topic, but I've always wondered, and this is a good time to ask - what is it like to play a fanned-fret instrument? I don't think I've ever been in the same room with one.

Lord of the Badgers
Sep-29-2016, 9:02am
Rick - I played a fan fret zouk the other week. Tbh it didn't feel any different per se

Sep-29-2016, 10:52am
Not a major adjustment. Mine is complicated by the addition of the fifth course of strings, but it has taken very little getting used to. In some ways, it's more natural because at the upper notes the frets fan the way your hand wants to lay on the fretboard, at a slight angle. Others may disagree.