View Full Version : Michael lewis

Dec-13-2007, 9:42pm
Heres a picture of my Lewis...

Dec-13-2007, 9:43pm

Dec-13-2007, 9:44pm

Dec-13-2007, 9:45pm

El Greco
Dec-13-2007, 9:46pm
Gorgeous! Bet it plays like a dream.

Frank, by the way, I believe you've misspelled your sig.

Dec-13-2007, 9:46pm
Mother of Pearl feather with silver wire

Dec-13-2007, 9:52pm
That is one heck of a nice thing that Santa Lewis and his elves created Frank.

Way to go Michael.
Way to go Frank.

(Ted Silverman)

Dec-13-2007, 10:10pm
v. nice....
does it have walnut back sides and neck? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Dec-13-2007, 10:20pm
Michael makes some of the sickest looking mandolins (and that's a good kind of sick http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif )! How does she sound?

Dec-13-2007, 11:00pm
Beautiful! But I think it needs a bigger tailpiece http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Dec-13-2007, 11:11pm
Hate to be a drag, but this mandolin looks really awkward to me. Tailpiece is totally out of scale and the fingerboard extension is just pointless... may the gods please tell me why people insist on these ridiculous, scooped, fretless extensions...

Big Joe
Dec-13-2007, 11:21pm
Michael...Brilliant as always! Makes me jealous.

Glassweb...Because we like them. Different strokes for different folks. I think they add to the instrument and its jazz retro feel.

Dec-13-2007, 11:27pm
Sure Big Joe, that's why we both play Gibson F5s! I love some of Michael's other designs, but this is all wrong to me aesthetically speaking. The pickguard, the headstock... ah well, each to his/her own I guess.

Dec-13-2007, 11:28pm
Brazilian sides and back, mahogany neck, and engelmann spruce top (I think)... The tail piece is a work of art on its own... Does not inhibit playing at all... The bound f holes are an added bonus... A striking mando if I do say so.My Webpage (http://franksolivanii.com)

Greg H.
Dec-13-2007, 11:31pm
Perhaps so that you're allowed to change your mind and have it un-scooped by just replaceing the fretboard. Looking at both of my (scooped) mandolins there is supporting maple underneath the extension so if I simply cut it off there could be no reversing it.

Personally I like it. Then again, the last time I was at IBMA (2004) Michael had IMHO two of the best mandolins in the whole show.

Dec-13-2007, 11:41pm
Hey, what the hell do I know... most of the response here seems to be positive! Play on!

Bill Snyder
Dec-13-2007, 11:52pm
Glassweb, I can name a lot of things that I don't like that other people do. Some of them really bewilder me as the extension does you. I figure I will have to accept that some (in some cases maybe even most) people don't like everything the way I do. I am not even sure that the f-style is my favorite design although some of them sure do look good.
I guess since I am posting in a thread about a Lewis mandolin I could say something about it.
I think Mr. Lewis is an incredible luthier and while I would have some different appointments on the instrument if it were mine it is a stunning instrument.

Chris Biorkman
Dec-13-2007, 11:54pm
Michael defintely pushes the envelope from a design perspective, but I think his instruments look great. The fact that other builders hold him in such high regard speaks volumes about his work.

Alex Fields
Dec-14-2007, 12:23am
That's a beautiful back. I just started a thread asking about mandolins with rosewood, so on that note, how does this one sound? Specifically, what do you think the rosewood adds to the sound as opposed to maple (and what made you choose rosewood)?

Hope you enjoy the mandolin, as I'm sure you will.

Dec-14-2007, 12:34am
Just a heads up... Michael Lewis does make exceptional Loar type replicas for the trads out there. This mandolin above will stand up to any others I have ever played... including a number of Loars. Just sayin' is all... His archtop guitars are pieces of art too... the few flattops he's made are reminiscent of the tone of late thirties Martins... anyhow... If you have an opportunity to to check out his website and/or shoot him an email... here you go:
Michael Lewis website (http://www.michaellewisinstruments.com/)

Dec-14-2007, 1:52am
I like it. Two thumbs up.

Dec-14-2007, 2:36am

Michael Lewis
Dec-14-2007, 3:40am
Well, late to the party again I guess. That is nothing new. Wow folks, thanks for your confidence.

The back and sides are as Frank stated, old Brazilian rosewood. I think I have enough more to make 3 or 4 mandolins, and will start one next Summer for Scott Gates.

In response to Glassweb, no offense meant, but just because I can. When I make instruments that have not been specifically ordered by or for some one I can take some artistic license if the mood strikes. On the other hand, when I make an instrument for an order I follow the design of what is ordered. Sometimes I make very traditional instruments on spec just because. As a maker I enjoy the freedom to push the boundries of design once in a while. In regard to the scooped fingerboard extension, the F model is a very visual design and by scooping the fingerboard instead of cutting it off the visual element is retained and more access to the strings is gained.

Mark Walker
Dec-14-2007, 8:10am
Beautiful mandolin. Love that headstock and inlay. The huge tailpiece is a bit much for me, but regardless, it does give it a unique look. I like the color of the pick-guard too!

Nice work Michael! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Dec-14-2007, 8:13am
Yes, I like it too, and that tailpiece reminds me: I need to buy a pancake flipper http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Dec-14-2007, 8:15am
I've had the opportunity to play that mandolin, and it's one of the best-sounding instruments I've ever played. With tone like that, it could be bound in pink coral with a unicorn inlaid into the headstock and it still wouldn't matter.

I dig the look of this one, though: it's very in-your-face, and totally works, especially given its owner's playing style.

Skip Kelley
Dec-14-2007, 8:16am
Frank, Beautiful mandolin! It is a masterpiece! Looks very jazzy! I like the bound F holes.

Dec-14-2007, 8:29am
Cool looking mando. Congrats on it, Michael and Frank. I like it as a departure from a traditional F5. The jazzy look suits Franks style. That feather tells me you'll write your own story your own way with that instrument.


Dec-14-2007, 10:14am
OH Michael. There's a lot of great work out there, a lot that I can't do.But rarely do I have feelings of envy, but uhm......you did it. Now I have to do some bound f holes. That doesn't look like fun. Incredible job!

Dec-14-2007, 10:21am
If it sounds at all like the Lewis rosewood backed one I played at Wintergrass a few years back who cares what it looks like! Oh, BTW, it looks stunning... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Dec-14-2007, 10:55am
I love the look of this mandolin. Since the first picture has the mandolin leaning away from the camera, I'll bet the tailpiece is exaggerated and the headstock diminished by the camera more than one would think. Do you have a straight-on picture? I'd surely like to see one. I'll bet the way the headstock and tailpiece flare in opposition to each other makes for quite a design statement.

btw I'm new on the Cafe. What a great site. Thanks for all the great info and eye candy.

Dec-14-2007, 11:12am
In response to Glassweb, when I make an instrument for an order I follow the design of what is ordered. In regard to the scooped fingerboard extension, the F model is a very visual design and by scooping the fingerboard instead of cutting it off the visual element is retained and more access to the strings is gained.
Hi Michael... thanks for your reply to my post. I completely understand that, as a builder, you need to satisfy the wishes of the customer... if that's the mandolin Frank wanted, then you did your job and made him happy. Regarding the fingerboard extension, I am definitely in the minority... many people have come to embrace the look of the scooped, fretless fingerboard. Still, I do believe there are some very tasteful solutions to the pick click problem that do not require the end of the fingerboard to be cut off squarely. I think Collings has created a most elegant solution to this problem, with all lines complementing each other beautifully.

Dec-14-2007, 11:30am
Absolutely beautiful ... you are so lucky... drool drool http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

first string
Dec-14-2007, 11:46am
That is too cool for words.

Dec-14-2007, 11:47am

Dec-14-2007, 12:07pm
New mando Frank? If it sounds anything like like looks then it's a killer for sure!

dirty harry
Dec-14-2007, 12:22pm
Michael Lewis can build you a traditional looking F-5 but I for one, I am glad he is building outside of the mainstream look............ As I look at the Gruhn guitar book I see he is good company. Many builders over the years have wanted something........shall I say, with a new look! Now they are classics in their own right. Ever get tired of the same old thing? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Tom C
Dec-14-2007, 12:35pm
Even though I too believe the tailpiece looks a bit large....
That is one of the nicest scrolls. The color,along with the pickguard and f-hole binding all compliment each other nicely.

Bill James
Dec-14-2007, 2:23pm
Ahhhh...so nice to look at. I like the tailpiece, there's no such thing as too much tailpiece. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Bravo Michael!

Jonathan James
Dec-14-2007, 2:32pm
hey great mando Frank and a wonderful version of Big Scotia on your webpage. Great picking!

Dec-14-2007, 6:01pm
Striking design - love it!

Dec-14-2007, 7:59pm
Well friends... I am a mandolin player... I wish I took better pictures... just so you know the mando is quite balanced in appearance (headstock vs. tailpiece). Here's a shot of some more silver wire around the fret markers along the side of the neck. I have been playing this mando for about three years. I did not order this mandolin, but after playing it... it really doesn't matter what it looks like.

Michael Lewis
Dec-15-2007, 2:24am
Glassweb, having a fondness for traditional designs is certainly valid, and I agree that Collings has done well with their version of the F5 design. Collings instruments are generally spare in design and very well finished, an excellent example of craft and production. I too have a fondness for traditional designs like the F5, I also make authorized replicas of D'Angelico guitars which are another style of design, and also traditional. Talk about some "in yer face" over the top design ideas, especially for the time they were first introduced.

It's curious how we become accustomed to odd designs, like the Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars from Fender, or the Volkswagen. Do you recall the first time you saw them? Now they're "traditional" designs in our culture. The first time I saw a Gibson F model I thought "who in their right mind would play such a feminine looking thing?" At the time I had no idea who Bill Monroe was or how the instrument was really used, or what sort of music it was associated with. This was the mid 50s and I was not yet a teenager. How the world changes. Thanks for the discussion.

Dec-15-2007, 4:23am
Nice.......there is thousand words i could try and use to give my thoughts on this mandolin but being a relative new guy to mandolins.......all i can think is....NICE

sean parker
Dec-15-2007, 6:21am
i love the tailpiece! very art deco,and very very cool.

Bob Bronow
Jul-10-2011, 1:05am
It's a beautiful instrument and sounds amazing in your hands!

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-10-2011, 2:46am
Well,for what it's worth,i commented on it's superb sound in another thread on here re.a YouTube clip of yours - "Good Morning Country Rain". Forget the critics - it's awesome,

Jul-10-2011, 11:26am
Beautiful as usual Michael. As a long time admirer I can tell you no matter the pic's, they don't do it justice. You have to see and hear his work to truly appreciate it.

Michael has always pushed the envelope, being outside of the box before mainstream could even fathom doing such things. This is truly what Loar did, so what's traditional now was totally radical at one time. Same with Michael's work. With so many odd aesthetic quirks like scrolls, points, and fretboard extensions that are rarely ever used to play actual notes on, it's all just an aesthetic choice IMHO. My reaction to the tailpiece is it looks like a good place for me to rest the heel of my pickin' hand maybe, instead of the bridge. We truly all see something different, and viva la difference!

Two thumbs up Michael and Frank. Thanks for sharing.

Jul-10-2011, 11:28am
With My G5 and Phoenix Jazz, I have subdued 66.67% of my MAS. The rest just might belong to Michael Lewis. An L-5 style mando from him just might finish me off.......for a while!

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-11-2011, 2:10am
From Michael Lewis - "The first time I saw a Gibson F model I thought "who in their right mind would play......". I saw a photo.of a Gibson F-5 Mandolin for the first time after i began playing Banjo at age 18 in 1963. My first thought was WOW !!. It did look a tad strange,but somehow it also looked absolutely 'right'. The shape & the 'proportions' of the instrument made it look very beautiful to my mind. The first recording i heard with a Mandolin on it,was of the Osborne Brothers & i heard the sound of this wonderful instrument.The recording which really blew me away,was of the 'Greenbriar Boys' with Ralph Rinzler on Mandolin.The Mandolin intro.to the song "I Cried Again" still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My only regret is not taking up Mandolin 40 years ago,having said that though,it would have taken a lot of searching to find one in the UK back then. I'm now trying to make up for lost time & enjoying every second of it,

Jim Garber
Jul-11-2011, 8:34am
Do the recent posters here realize they are commenting on a 4 year old thread? just saying...

Jul-11-2011, 10:47pm
Dave's not here man!

Jul-11-2011, 11:07pm
4 years old or not......Lewis rocks the hiz-ouse!