View Full Version : Ellis Torch & Wire and Engraved Tailpiece

Don Grieser
Jun-24-2018, 10:28am



Jun-24-2018, 11:19am
wow ! Beautiful !

Northwest Steve
Jun-24-2018, 11:20am
Spectacular…..but so is the price.

doc holiday
Jun-24-2018, 11:24am
It's all relative. You do get what you pay for & the artistry of Tom Ellis on the headstock inlay & Weldon Lister on the tailpiece doesn't come cheap....nor should it. Definitely an outstandingly beautiful instrument.

Ivan Kelsall
Jun-25-2018, 2:28am
Tom Ellis's inlay talent is a thing to behold !!. Tom made a custom order for TAMCO UK customer a while back, & that also had the 'Torch & wire' inlay on the headstock. One of my favourite inlays of Tom's was on one of his personal mandolins - Cranes (i think) in flight,coupled with Handel tuning buttons,it looked pretty spectacular - i'd have gone for black buttons myself, to highlight the inlay even more,

William Smith
Jun-25-2018, 2:48am
The torch and wire is the sweetest peg head inlay, I'm happy that these are being resurrected in todays high builds! Very KOOL and KILLER, the inlayed Handel style buttons also are just amazing, Ellis does them in Ebony, do they also do them in the old school ivoried style? I know Mike Blohm did them at one point in time.
I really would like to find one of those Gibson Harvey "Victorian" F-5 style that were made a few years ago! Anyone have one of those to show off? I'd swap something vintage for one of those:cool:

Jun-25-2018, 6:37am

Thanks for posting this Ivan. It’s really beautiful. I’m having an open back banjo built (keep your banjo jokes to yourself please LOL) and have been toying with the idea of a crane inlay. We live in a coastal town with a beautiful marsh and cranes. Thanks for sharing this.

Ivan Kelsall
Jun-26-2018, 2:59am
Hi missingstring - Cranes are a most beautiful bird. The 'Japanese Crane' ( Manchurian Crane / Red Crowned Crane) is revered in Japan a a mystical bird,believed to live for 1,000 years. Thus it's a symbol of good health & longevity. I've been looking for a really good art print of Japanese cranes for a while now,

William Smith
Jun-26-2018, 3:41am
What kind of engraved tailpiece is that shown with the Ellis? That sure is another thing of mandolin candy! Very Nice! Is that an Ellis special kind also? I know Collings had something engraved almost like that on their deluxe varnished F-5's but these look a bit better to me anyway! That whole package is a sure thing of beauty. The Torch and Wire is a drool worthy inlay!

Don Grieser
Jun-26-2018, 7:39am
Weldon Lister is the master engraver of all things. Here's some other work on instruments pieces. http://weldonlister.com/Music_.html

I'm sure it's a James tailpiece Tom sent to be engraved.

Jun-26-2018, 9:40am
Any idea what that kind of cost for having the engraving done? I know that it’s NOT inexpensive but, any wildideas?

Ron McMillan
Jun-26-2018, 9:44am
I know it's seen as an ultimate design, but I really think the torch and wire thing is seriously overdone.

The lovely blue-flowered headstock inlay on a recent Ellis that I saw photos of (or was it a Pava?) - now that to me is tasteful and lovely.

Jun-26-2018, 9:54am
Torch and wire is a pretty intricate inlay design found originally on old F4 models. The bluebell inlay is nice, but put the instrument over $7k.

On a Collings the engraved Collings tailpiece is around a $1k upgrade.

Ivan Kelsall
Jun-27-2018, 12:41am
I agree with Ron Mc. I admire the immense skill & craftmanship to be able to do such awesome inlay,but it looks a tad 'cluttered' to me these days. Once upon a time,i was all for slapping MOP all over the place,but i've quietened down a bit in my old age. A simple 'tasty' inlay such a Tom's Crane inlay does it for me every time.

Here's another nice inlay from Tom E. - a Red Oriole ,

doc holiday
Jun-27-2018, 1:12pm
Different tastes for different people I'm sure. I think the Torch & Wire is a beautiful piece of artwork & I admire those contemporary builders who remind us of the beautiful quality of those inlays like the Torch & Wire, & double flowerpot, that originated almost a hundred years ago.
As far as the tailpieces. Weldon Lister does a tremendous job. You can buy a James tailpiece with no engraving and unplated to send to Weldon, as was the case of this one on an Ellis A.168932

George R. Lane
Jun-27-2018, 1:46pm
I agree they all are quite stunning, but the don't make a mandolin sound any better. For me keep it simple and invest the money in top grade woods.

Jun-27-2018, 3:49pm
Any idea what that kind of cost for having the engraving done? I know that itís NOT inexpensive but, any wildideas?

I've been told that it can be $600-1000, depending on design. I haven't confirmed that info.

Here's a link. (http://www.axinc.net/James_Mandolin_Tailpiece_p/jtt-wl.htm)

doc holiday
Jun-27-2018, 4:22pm
George....They already have top grade woods.

Jun-28-2018, 9:33pm
It is relative. its a piece of art you can make art with. I have played 4 Ellis's now. Each one was among the best mandolins I've ever played. I can not justify the price at my skill level and income. BUT, if I had more net worth and skill level, I would have one (or similar grade instrument from among a handful) and not feel a bit guilty about it.

Ivan Kelsall
Jun-29-2018, 12:07am
Astro - I feel very much the same - but in a slightly different way. I can play well enough after 13 years & close to 16,000 hours of practicing,to do justice to an Ellis F5 - but at 73 years of age,is it worth it,especially as i play purely for my own pleasure ?. I'm very lucky to own 3 good mandolins,one of them is an Ellis "A" style which is superb,but if i was say, 20 years younger,i'd be going for the F5,playing it & improving. There really i nothing like having a stunning instrument to play,to make you want to play more & thus improve, as well as having incredible enjoyment whilst doing so. I never made for much progress in my banjo playing,as i did after buying my Stelling banjo.

If you're young enough,& in real earnest about your playing,buy the best mandolin that you can afford,play the hades out of it,enjoy it, & improve all at the same time - it really doesn't get any better !!,