View Full Version : (one reason) Why I am lucky

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:08am
Hi folks! Well, as a long-time visitor and only rare poster at this fine site, it's now time to "step out" a little and more formally say hi. Dave G is me, and that's Dave Gumbart. Connecticut resident and mando player of 4+ years. It was my first ever attempt at making music of any kind, and I am so glad I made the leap. For the longest time I figured "ah, I'd never be any good..," but saw the light through the Jerry Douglas bulletin board. So many folks sharing their joy of the music, and it was obvious even the beginners were having a ball. Why the heck not? Mando being the instrument of choice, I found this site, and told my surprised wife I was going to buy an instrument - a Kentucky 150S got me started. I knew I was hooked, and after a while, it was time to upgrade. I currently have a Breedlove Oregon, and that brought me to a new level (still not a great player, but it's the journey, eh?). What with the eye candy, the stories of MAS and everyone's shared love of all things mando, I hoped I would someday get "one" of my very own. A small builder, the lure of the scroll (plan on keeping the Breedlove A, though), and a work of art that makes a beautiful sound. So, it hit hard in October, when the "post your mandos in progress" thread featured a new one from Andrew Mowry. A chestnut colored mandolin. Check mate. I'd visited Andrew's site before (like everyone other builder's), and sensed some minor connections (same college, grew up in New England, love the outdoors...). Time to e-mail that guy! So, flash forward a few months to this January. "Honey, you know how I've mentioned getting a new mandolin someday?" Good thing my wife supports my hobbies! So, with no further ado....

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:11am
Loved the idea of a one-piece back. The "flow" those have has always looked great. How about this one?

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:12am
And the carving process of that back....

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:13am
Engelmann spruce on the top...

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:15am
and further along on the top....

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:16am
(just a few more pics, and I'll stop hogging the bandwidth)
Tone bars set in...

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:18am
Yikes! Glad I'm not doing that.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:19am
Alright, now, that's what I'm, talkin' about!

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 10:25am
(last one...)
So, this has been a whole lot of fun to take part in. Excited to get it done and in my hands? Sure - but probably really won't get the jitters until it's about to be sent some weeks down the line. For now, I am satisfied that I made a great choice, and I look forward to "working" with Andrew to see it through. Yahoo!!!

Lane Pryce
Feb-02-2006, 11:23am
Dave congratulations on your new mandolin and I can sense the pride in your writing. I have been an admirer of Andy's work and believe it to be amoung the best. Someday maybe I'll get one too!! Lp

Feb-02-2006, 12:43pm
There is something special about having a relationship with your builder. Great looking instrument.

Eric F.
Feb-02-2006, 12:47pm
Very cool. Thanks for posting the pics. Let us know when it arrives.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-02-2006, 1:53pm
Thanks, folks. I'll absolutely let the Cafe know when it arrives. And thanks to Andrew for the photos that are posted here (and that part about being the luthier...). I'll spare everyone the whole photo essay, but once a new pictorial update comes my way, I'll be glad to post some additional pics of this work in progress.

Cheers - Dave

Feb-02-2006, 2:01pm
Hey Dave, In process pics are great... post away! I've never played one of Andrew's instruments but the pics he's posted have been wonderful. I would expect anyone that pays as much attention to the fit and finish as he does also does a great job with the sound. Congratulations... can't wait to see more!

Paul Doubek

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:20am
Greetings all. I arrived home from work yesterday (Friday - already a good thing), and was excited to see another set of photos from Andrew Mowry. Things are coming along very well, and here's how things look as of now. Here's the neck attached to the body "in the raw."

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:21am
The peghead coming along, with some hardware lurking about. Schallers.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:23am
Back of the neck...

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:25am
What's the deal with this? Did the mando do something wrong? "I'll teach you a thing or two..."

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:26am
Okay, on to the big picture, then.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:27am
Back side.....

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:30am
And two close-ups to wrap up this installment of things. I gushed in an e-mail response to Andrew, so I'll limit that here. Suffice it to say, it's good stuff.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 8:32am
Last one for now. Heavy snow predicted for later tonight, so tomorrow promises to be a day inside in our area. Warmth of the wood stove and mando playing, anyone? Love this peghead.

Stanley Cox
Feb-11-2006, 9:02am
Congratulations Dave,
Andrew builds great looking mandos that sound great too.
Keep us posted.

Stanley http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Lane Pryce
Feb-11-2006, 10:25am
Really cool seeing your dream mandolin come together --- just think the crem de la crem is yet to come. I'll bet you dream about that first A or B chord then the G run. Lp

Feb-11-2006, 5:56pm
That is stellar work. Beautiful scrollwork. I can't wait to see what the finish does to the wood in this piece. Did you already mention what type/style of finish you've called for?

Dave Gumbart
Feb-11-2006, 9:06pm
Alan, you can see a mando Andrew produced back in October on the "post your mandolins in progress" thread, page 55, from October 28. Apparently done for someone who provided horse chestnuts as the target color. I saw that back then, which led me to contact Andrew in the first place. No burst, just a straight, well, chestnut color. I love that everytime I see it, and that's what I asked for. I'm looking forward to seeing mine when it's at that stage. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it sure gets me going.


Stephanie Reiser
Feb-12-2006, 7:03am
Congratulations, Dave. And welcome to the Cafe.
That sure us a nice looking mandolin you have going for you!
Enjoy the snow storm. I'm in Maine, and we're not supposed to get as much as you and my friends in NY - darn!

Feb-12-2006, 7:51am
sitting down here in Northern Virginia, nestled between the Blue Ridge Mtns and Washington D.C. and currently have 10+ inches of snow in my yard this morning. A little shoveling, a fire in the fireplace and some sunday pickin' for me. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Feb-12-2006, 11:28am
Nice, good scrollwork good binding job, update on the sound when you get her done. jd

Feb-14-2006, 12:32am
Hi Dave, Im a bit surprised. There are not too many of us mandoists here in Ct. Someday mabye we'll meet up Ive got a couple of sweethearts you might like to test drive. Also congradulations on your new Mowry. Im sure youll be pleased.
Aaron Shaw

Dave Gumbart
Feb-20-2006, 10:00am
Okay, here are a few pics from the latest set of photos sent to me by Andrew. Sanding is all but finished at this point, so next up is staining and varnishing. Staining and varnishing? Holy smokes - isn't that the last step? Check it out....

Dave Gumbart
Feb-20-2006, 10:01am
Close up of the f hole.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-20-2006, 10:02am
Back side, scroll.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-20-2006, 10:04am
And last one this time around. If it sounds half as good as it looks.........

Lane Pryce
Feb-20-2006, 11:52am
Dave that is a really nice mandolin. I love that fretboard and scroll shot ---- really clean!!! Lp

Dave Gumbart
Feb-27-2006, 11:01am
A pair of photos I received from Andrew Mowry a few days back. It's like I've been watching this mando grow up, observing all the changes week by week. Andrew's in the midst of staining and varnishing now - his editorial comment on the photos is that they look a bit redder than it is in reality. Can't wait to see the finished product, all strung up. THEN I'll start getting antsy about an arrival date.

Dave Gumbart
Feb-27-2006, 11:04am
And the back side. Almost full grown now........

Feb-27-2006, 5:51pm
That is extremely sharp binding and scroll work. Nice photos too. Beautiful color and finish. I wish I had it in my lap right now. Congrats.

Feb-27-2006, 6:10pm
See that "puddle" in the upper part of the back formed by the grain lines?

That means the back was very well-milled...
You don't see that too often in slab-cut wood, so I thought I'd point it out...

Dave Gumbart
Feb-27-2006, 7:05pm
"so I thought I'd point it out." Spruce, glad you did. I love that feature of the back, but would have not known about the quality of the milling. Those "puddle" lines are great, and I get a kick out of the fact that they are now a "subtext" to the more prominent flame. All good. I want to give the top a gentle knock with my finger and hear it ring. Soon enough.


Lane Pryce
Feb-27-2006, 8:19pm
Dave great choice on the color ---- great!!!! Lp

Mental Floss
Mar-06-2006, 11:07am
How about an update for us voyers?
Do tou have it yet?

Dave Gumbart
Mar-09-2006, 10:40am
And here we go....further along now with the varnishing and such. #Almost done at this point - here's the top of my mando (bottom in picture), with another one Andrew's working on alongside for comparison. #These pics are closer to the "real" color than the previous ones.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-09-2006, 10:45am
And the back side. I am so psyched Andrew is offering his annual "Buy One, Get One Free" sale!! (kidding....do I even need to say that?).

Dave Gumbart
Mar-09-2006, 10:49am
And the last one this time around, a little closer look at the back. Man, imagine the business you could do offering two mandos for the price of one. Hardware and strings can't be too far off.

Darren Kern
Mar-09-2006, 12:28pm
Beautiful instrument. I wonder how he made it go from a reddish sunburst to more of a brown one? Some additional color in the varnish or shellac? Dave, I know you said the color in these pics is more accurate than the previous ones, but there was definitely more red in it before. Man, I hope I'll be able to build something this nice someday.

Mar-09-2006, 1:07pm
Thanks Darren-- the difference in color from the earlier photos is just the lighting. These latest are under my normal shop lights, and the earlier ones were with my compact fluorescent bench light turned on. Those compact bulbs seem to be more like incandescents, in that they really bring out the reds. I guess "accurate" is a relative term when used for color.

The outside edges of the instrument have a few drops of black Colortone added to the stain to darken them up, as well as heavier application.

Mar-09-2006, 1:24pm
Andrew, you are building some mighty fine looking mandolins . Keep up the great work. Are you spraying your varnish by the way http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Lane Pryce
Mar-09-2006, 9:29pm
Dave I'm sitting here looking at those mandolins and I'm having some serious heart palpitations even a little shortnessof breath. Very nice!! Dave I know this is just killing you to have to look at these photos. You know the last couple of weeks will be an eternity.
Andrew put an extra helping of MOJO in Dave's mandolin ----just save some for mine too!!!! Thanks for the update. Lp

Mar-10-2006, 11:10am
Mandoborg-- thanks. I'm applying the varnish with a combination of brushing and French polishing (with lots of sanding in between), but I do spray a couple of sealer coats of shellac first.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-21-2006, 6:17pm
Ooohhh baby, we're down to the final countdown! "The mando has left the building..." It began its journey earlier today, and it should arrive on Monday, March 27. Until then, I will have to be satisfied with the following...full back.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-21-2006, 6:19pm
Full view of the front (featuring Mowry arm rest # 1, destined to be a classic...)

Dave Gumbart
Mar-21-2006, 6:21pm
close up the the scroll and end of fret board...

Dave Gumbart
Mar-21-2006, 6:22pm
back side of same...

Dave Gumbart
Mar-21-2006, 6:26pm
and the last picture in this series, back side of peg head with hardware attached. So this means one thing - the next photo I post in this thread will likely have me staring you all in the face, with a big ol' stupid grin. Hmmm, 6 days. I guess I can wait until then. Is it okay to kiss the Fed Ex guy?

Lane Pryce
Mar-21-2006, 8:00pm
I've been waiting on these photos. Wow and do they look spectacular. The Schallers look mighty fine as well as that James tailpiece. Arm rest #1 looks like it was made for that mandolin. You know if you need assistance playing that babe in you can get a volunteer here on the cafe and without too much difficulty I might add. Terrific and congratulations ---- are you gonna pass out cigars with the new arrival? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif Full report when you get her!!! Lp

Mar-21-2006, 11:54pm
WOW! That shot of the back of the scroll makes me drool!

Lane Pryce
Mar-22-2006, 8:59am
That binding work is really clean.The angles are crisp and very well done. Andrew Mowry is well worh your consideration if you are contemplating a custom mandolin.
#Looking forward to the full report Dave!!! And a #good cigar!!!! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif Lp

Fred G
Mar-22-2006, 12:14pm
That is just awesome! I really love the one piece back.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-28-2006, 4:16pm
Today was the day! As of late last week, the definitive drop-off date was scheduled by Fed Ex for today. I was out of the office until about 2:00, and had a package awaiting when I returned. I made some phone calls, attended to some small amount of business, and then skee-daddled on out of there (an off-site meeting for many other staff made the exit pretty low key).

Got home maybe at 3:00, and had some quiet time to myself to open the shipping package, unlatch the case and....

This thing is beautiful!! Looked it over every which way, and then spent some time tuning it up. Played some single notes, a few scales and then a few standard fiddle tunes that I'm comfortable with. Feeling the wood resonate, listening to it come to life - sweet. The sound is great, but with all of 20 minutes playing time now (the kids and wife all got home at the same time - break time...), it's hardly time for a full assessment, but I am very pleased with it!

Andrew - I haven't spent much time singing your praises on this thread I've managed to nurse along for a few months, but let me take a brief moment now. You make an extraordinarily beautiful instrument, and I consider myself lucky to have an F5 of yours to grow up with as I continue and expand my playing for years to come. Thank you!

And this ain't the end of this thread (yet, anyway). I'll be getting to know this mando better in the next few hours, listening to it sing, and maybe get some pictures up. So check in later tonight perhaps, who knows when. For now, I am Mr. Happy Camper.

first string
Mar-28-2006, 4:45pm

I need more details. I need them now! And more pictures. I already posted this info in the other Mowry thread that's been hanging around, but I currently have an order in with Andrew and will be recieving a mando that will be very simmilar to yours, in August. So simmilar in fact that the back will be from the exact same piece of wood, and the color will be all but identical as well. So while there will be a number of differences, I would be extremely interested in any details you could see your way clear to sharing with us. Forget your job and your family; lock your self in a room with the computer, a camera, and the mando; and don't come out for the next few days. Is that too much to ask? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

But serriously, thanks for starting this thread, and keeping us all up to date. The pictures you've posted along the way were what put me over the edge. So I guess I will have you to thank for my depleted bank acount come this summer. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Lane Pryce
Mar-28-2006, 6:08pm
MAS is a killer ain't it. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif Lp

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:15am
Okay, so time to bring this thread to a close, probably. I've got some photos to post, now that I've gotten a chance to take a few, but here are a few thoughts on the mando. I'm not a sound expert, so I'll say this - I love it! Clear notes high up on the E string (harmony scales playing A and E double stops sound great), and a punch that is there, but not yet developed, on the lower strings. Plenty of volume - no worries there. The u-shaped neck and 12" radius fretboard (with medium frets) is what I wanted, and that works well for me. I love the arm rest. It's comfortable, and helps situate my wrist so I'm not even resting it on the bridge as I would otherwise tend to do. Nut width is 1 1/8", slightly smaller than my Breedlove at 1 3/16", and its apparent this will help my chord work, since the stretch for the elusive 4-finger G is a little easier. The weight and balance are great - it sits just right, so my fretting hand can just concentrate on playing. In another thread on instructional material, someone used the old adage that says when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. My teacher has arrived...

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:17am
Even comes with a born on date. And unlike your food, which might say "best if used by...", it's safe to simply say with the mando "Best if used."

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:19am
The peghead one last time.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:20am
Check out some of the grain.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:22am
Look closer.........

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:24am
Medullary action (if I recall correctly from some other threads). On Engelmann. It is apparent in a number of spots on the top.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:27am
And now for something completely different.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:29am
Okay, three more to go. The classics. Reverse scroll.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:31am
Front scroll.

Dave Gumbart
Mar-30-2006, 11:35am
Folks, it's been a kick to share this thread with you. I owe a more complete description on my impressions to a few, and I'll do that pm after I get some more playing time in.

Got Mowry?

pick up the world
Mar-30-2006, 1:24pm
jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats what I'm calling a mandolin. Very nice

first string
Mar-30-2006, 4:35pm
No argument here.