View Full Version : Michael Lewis' Django model

May-10-2004, 7:20pm
Hey Ted, thanks for all the recent photos. Was that your Django Ritz that Josh Pinkham was playing? If so, what were his feelings regarding the instrument? (Josh, if you read this, I would love to know what you thought of such a beautiful instrument.) What a great looking mandolin by Mr. Lewis.

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 8:52pm
Bill, it was hilarious...
I showed up for the jam after the final concert, whipped this out of the case, and Josh leapt out of his chair and ran across the room to get it to play (like a Beagle after a dog biscuit...). Before he could hardly strike a chord, Mike Marshall grabs it out of his hands and plays four of five songs. We all laughed at the the abandonment of jam "protocol," as once Mike finally gave it up, Josh and his Dad, Jeff started to "wrestle" over who got it next. (I'd never seen anything like this...)
Considering the number of very FINE instruments there, Loars, Kellys, Nuggets, it really caused quite a stir.
I guess that's typical when a "blonde" waltzes in on a room full of guys. They all start panting...
Seriously, they must have liked it, because it was a good 30 minutes before I got it back again. Such fun to be able to share this kind of art, though. This instrument is the work of a true genius. I asked him where he gets his ideas for design, like if it comes from architecture, or something else in the "art" world. He said "no," ideas just come to him from nowhere...
Maybe I'll try to pack this when the family comes out to New England to see you this Fall.

May-10-2004, 9:12pm
never seen one or heard one, but if its that good, we are gonna have to have a bomando festival just to check it out when you come to new england. get ready all you massmandos django comin to town!

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 9:12pm
More jammin' with the 'Django'...

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 9:14pm
I think Mike liked it...

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 9:15pm

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 9:17pm
Though he doesn't get his due press, Josh's father, Jeff is an amazing musician himself!

Ted Eschliman
May-10-2004, 9:24pm
This guy, too.
Imagine what it sounds like in the fingers of the "Tone King," himself...

John Zimm
May-11-2004, 7:06am
Dang, there are a lot of us who would have loved to be a fly on the wall at that scene. That mandolin looks awesome.


May-11-2004, 7:55am
Outstanding story Ted ... besides the gorgeous instrument in the photos was the ability to compare Mike Marshalls hands (hams?) with the various other players. Does he really have a 14 fret span?

Brad Weiss
May-11-2004, 3:29pm
So does the unqualified success of the Django mean that the soon-to-be neglected Djangolin will have to be sacrificed?? Are you taking bids?

So many mandos, so little time...

May-11-2004, 10:48pm
Whats the thing sound like?

May-12-2004, 6:21am
Dolamon Posted on May 11 2004, 07:55
Outstanding story Ted ... besides the gorgeous instrument in the photos was the ability to compare Mike Marshalls hands (hams?) with the various other players. Does he really have a 14 fret span?

Dolamon, I'm not sure how many frets they span but he does have some big hands. As a matter of fact he called his digits "Sausage Fingers".

peterbc Posted on May 11 2004, 22:48
Whats the thing sound like?

Peter, I regret that my limited vocabulary prevents me from describing what it sounds like. Let's just say that from the first time you strike a note a grin starts spreading across your face. The tone is even more impressive than the gorgeous looks.


Michael Lewis
May-13-2004, 11:14pm
Wow gentlemen, I'm flattered by the interest in my little blond Django. er, Ted's little blond Django. The tone is pretty similar to an old gibson oval hole mandolin but with a few twists. To begin with the top is fairly soft engelmann spruce, X braced with some very stiff redwood, so the top is very light yet fairly stiff. This promotes the sweet warm tone with such sustain. Like most oval hole instruments, it can't compete with a good F hole instrument for cutting through fiddles and banjos, but it is really wonderful in a relatively quiet room where you can appreciate the complexity of the tone. Don't get me wrong, it makes a good accounting of it's self regarding volume but it ain't no bluegrass cannon, but then it wasn't designed to be.

May-24-2004, 3:59pm
I would describe it as a difference between a flat top martin, and an arch top guitar. alot like a Machapharie (spelling??) it was a verry unique pretty dang cool instrument, it definitely had its own thing, it really struck me cause it looked just like a Machapharie ( again spelling??lol) Great stuff Michael.
Thanks tedd for letting us beat on it! and yes Mike has got some serious "sausage paws" , two of my middle fingers fits in his pointer lol


May-24-2004, 4:20pm
Hi Josh,

It's Maccaferri. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Though IMO, I think it looks more like a Patenotte. (http://www.gypsyguitars.com/instrument-closeup.php?id=175)

Or, maybe a Gerome (http://www.gypsyguitars.com/instrument-closeup.php?id=95) or a di Mauro. (http://www.gypsyguitars.com/instrument-closeup.php?id=425)

In any case, really neat looking mando. Michael, were any of those guitars your inspiration for the forward position of the oval hole, or where you just trying to clear a brace? Is it X braced?

May-24-2004, 4:24pm
Separated at birth?

[edit] You see, MM's fingers are so big they look like ST's fingers on the piccolo... ah nevermind..

Ted Eschliman
May-24-2004, 4:34pm
Darrel, I gotta share with you...
I embarassed myself talking to Mike M. the next morning when I drove him to the airport. Our conversation went something like:
Ted: It's like the Mc AFF ree style of guitar.
Mike: Mc AFF ree? I'm not familiar with that maker....
Ted: You know, the Selmer style gypsy guitar?
Mike: OHHH, you mean Mac ah FAIR ee guitar.
Ted: Oh boy, I've been pronouncing it wrong for over a year now.
<pauses, hangs head in embarassment>
Ted: Now your're going to tell me Mc AFF ree isn't Scottish, either...
(Don't feel bad, Josh... I got 30 years on you; I should know better...)
One difference is its Golden Arches, and I don't mean McDonalds. (not Scottish, either...). This baby can be as subtle and sophisticated as a gypsy critter, but it packs some volume too, because of the Lewis "Secret Sauce:"
The unique bracing.

May-24-2004, 4:56pm
Ted, as long as we can keep your conversation off of the Yahoo gypsy jazz discussion group, you should be fine. Those Django cats are as serious about their guitars as, well us mandolin guys......

Michael Lewis
May-25-2004, 1:13am
Dellsbrother, the sound hole position was dictated by the end of the fingerboard and the bridge. I like the forward placement because that promotes more low frequency vibes than if it were farther back. Yes, it is X braced, and it's inspiration was basically the Maccaferi "petit bouche" with a healthy dose of new age California spirit.