View Full Version : New Brentrup V23 under construction

Jun-09-2004, 8:27pm
Here is the first.

Jun-09-2004, 8:29pm
A closer look at the peghead

Jun-09-2004, 8:30pm

Jun-09-2004, 8:31pm
Routing top

Jun-09-2004, 8:32pm
Another step

Jun-09-2004, 8:33pm
Back glued in.

Jun-09-2004, 8:34pm
Back going on.

Jun-09-2004, 8:35pm
Another view

Jun-09-2004, 8:36pm
Front and sides.

Jun-09-2004, 8:37pm
kerfing. Slightly out of order

Jun-09-2004, 8:38pm
Body assembled

Jun-10-2004, 10:59am
Sorry, got the order of pictures a little wrong.


Bill James
Jun-10-2004, 1:03pm
That's OK, it's easy to get mixed up when you are SOOOO EXCITED!

A masterpiece in the making! I love it!

Jun-10-2004, 1:10pm
I like the first picture of the four headstocks, all those billets of mando wood in the background look pretty cool stacked up like that....a lot cooler than my office.

Jun-10-2004, 2:53pm
The day I spent with Hans was one of my best. What a treat to be confronted with 10 of his mandolins laid out on the workbench so we could sample, compare and play each.
There were samples of top woods, finishes, and ages.

We "eliminated" some of the mandolins and after spending time doing this, we moved to the wall of Hans' shop and went thru the billets. We selected the top and back and it was lots of fun watching Hans tap-tune the individual billets, trying to have the top and back woods complement themselves on the mando he was going to build.

Chris Cantergiani
Jun-10-2004, 7:21pm
What a cool set of photos!
Spending a day with Hans sounds like a mando-freak fantasy!
Thank you VERY much for showing us pictures of the process!


Jun-18-2004, 4:47pm
OK, here we go again. The scooped fingerboard extension will be fretted. Hans is carving the neck. If you look closely, you'll see 2 neck profile schematics that we agreed on.

Jun-18-2004, 4:48pm
And now the back is on.

Jun-18-2004, 5:54pm
<sarcasm on> Let me guess, he couldn't find any maple with decent flame, and this is what you had to settle for. Well, if I were you, I'd drop off his list and let somebody else take that nasty looking thing away...<sarcas off>

... somebody like me, patiently waiting for Hans to start mine in October!

Jun-22-2004, 7:40pm
Here are the latest "baby" pictures.
The first is of the back of the neck Hans is carving. After comparing the neck of my Rigel(which I like), to some of the mandolins had me sample, Hans took measurements at a couple of spots and made templates, which you see in the picture.

Jun-22-2004, 7:43pm
An this of the fingerboard being glued on. I asked Hans to scoop and fret the extension. That means a bunch of extra frets to challenge me.

Jun-23-2004, 11:49am
Strung up in the white for the first time.

Scotti Adams
Jun-23-2004, 11:58am
..nice stuff..are you going dotless?.....bet you cant wait huh?....how long before you get it?

Jun-23-2004, 12:49pm

Hans put on a scooped, 29 fret fingerboard. I couldn't tell from the picture, but it looks like he is putting in the frets next week.
Nope, not dotless.Going with small snowflakes in place of the dots.
I'm assuming the pickguard goes on last.

Once the frets are on, he starts working on the varnish finish. I expect that will take quite some time to apply, and then he lets the mandolin hang and dry for more time.
I'm guessing August sometime. Given the length of time I've been waiting, its hard to believe, but I'm not in a hurry.
The summer weather is hot here, and I'd almost rather it get shipped when there is a stretch of cooler weather.
For me the hardest part will be when it does arrive. Hans wants folks to limit their playing time to a few times a day and 10 minutes per session. The mandolin, in contact with your warm body retards the curing and hardening of the varnish. Now THAT will be difficut, looking at it and only playing it a few minutes a day.

Scotti Adams
Jun-23-2004, 12:58pm
...sorta like giving water to a drowning man huh?

Jun-24-2004, 2:11pm
Pickguard installed and the strings are on.
I see a pick sitting there...I hear Hans is a pretty good picker in his own right.

Gary S
Jun-24-2004, 2:31pm
Hey there Peakbagr,
Your mandolin looks like it is coming along real fine. The only reason I am not jealous is that Hans is is also building me a 22v which is probably just one serial # behind yours. I have been getting similar pics from him only a few days after your posts.

Enjoy and thanks for the pics...Gary Silverstein

Jun-24-2004, 4:27pm
I talked to Hans today about a couple of small details. He has to inlay the fingerboard and then the stain/finishing process begins.
He was thinking estimating a late August-early September delivery date. As I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, this is the easy part. The difficult part for me will be rationing my playing time to a few short sessions a day for a couple of months after receiving it.
I have a new Pegasus case coming in week or so. Mandolin has to remain out of the case for an extended period of time while the varnish cures, thins, and hardens.
Have fun with you mandolin as well.

Jun-24-2004, 5:01pm
Looks great... kinda hard to pick now, I imagine, cause it ain't got frets yet...

Did you mean to say lacquer? I thought this one was going to be varnish?

Jun-24-2004, 5:37pm
Yep, varnish...

Jun-26-2004, 10:26am
Headstock close up. Truss rod and cover not in yet.

Jun-26-2004, 10:33am
Comparison of 3 headstocks. Mine, under construction is in the middle.
One has MOP buttons, one the standard Schaller buttons, the other Ivoroids.

It would be great to discover who makes the Ebony buttons for Waverly. They would look great on this mandolin.

Jul-02-2004, 8:20am
I was sitting in bed playing my "brunette" Hans last night and thinking about what a complete joy it is to play. I just gets better all the time. I have to tell you that the long curing process and limitations on playing at first are really worth it. Hans knows his stuff, and what he tells you to do is dead-on correct for your instrument. I know you will be pleased beyond words when you finally get it in your hands. Big congratulations! elen

Jul-02-2004, 9:21am
Thanks to Elen and Steve and others who posted great reports of their Brentrup's I now have one also. I strongly urge you to follow Han's instructions regarding the finish. It will be soft for a least 2 months. I live north of Houston and it remainded soft for 3 months due to high humidity. I got mine the end of March and I don't think I will play outside in our heat and humidity until the weather changes in early October.

Scotti Adams
Jul-02-2004, 1:18pm
..Ive got Waverly ebony buttons that I modified to fit Grover tuners...they work splendid...I got mine from our own MandoMedic...Ken Cartwright....give him a shout he may still have some. The reason I went with the Waverly buttons is because they are smaller...the Grover ebony buttons were huge..they had to be guitar buttons....I also know that Peter at Rigel will custom make you a set to fit....be prepare to pay though..If I remember right he gave me a price of $140..

Jul-04-2004, 9:41am
I sent an email to Ken. In the meantime, where would you get ebony buttons for Grover? Can they be made to fit Shaller tuners/


Scotti Adams
Jul-05-2004, 5:36am
..the same place..Ken...but...like I said they are huge...if you get a reply back from Ken have him send you pics of them compared to the Waverly button..there are bigger than a faux pearl Grover button and shaped different to...sorta like a half moon....

Jul-09-2004, 10:34am
The frets and fingerboard markers are in.

Jul-09-2004, 10:37am
Closeup of frets (.078) and fingerboard markers.
Hans says he'll be making adjustments over the next week and then disassemble to start the sanding.

Scotti Adams
Jul-09-2004, 2:33pm
I sent an email to Ken. In the meantime, where would you get ebony buttons for Grover? Can they be made to fit Shaller tuners/

..you can fit the buttons oneor 2 ways....take a Dremmel tool with the appropiate bit and sand the shaft hole to accomodate the button you want....some shafts are square and some have two rounded sides and two straight sides. If you decide to alter the button be sure not to take out to much material right away...do it gradually..test fitting as you go...I also recommend that you countersink the top of the hole on the button to accept the head of the screw...over tightening the screw will crack the ebony....Ive done this a couple of times...The other method is actually grinding the post of your tuners to accept the button. On my new mando Im having built I took a set of Gotohs..threw away the buttons and bought real ivory buttons to use. The only problem was these ivory buttons had a completely square shaft while the tuner shafts were rounded on two sides. I took the trusty old Dremmel and ground the tuner shafts square. By the way I bought the ivory buttons from Elderly and it clearly stated they were too fit Gotoh tuners.....not....I emailed them and told them they were advertising them wrong...got no reply and I see in the latest catalog they are still advertised that way. I prefer the method of grinding the tuner shafts to fit the buttons...its faster...less room for error too....hope this helps...

Jul-09-2004, 2:43pm

Thank you again. I found the ebony buttons, small Grover buttons that Ken is holding for me. Hans said he could take care of the conversion to make them fit on the Schaller tuners. I'm starting to have second thoughts about whether to go leave it the way it is with the Schaller white plastic or put on the evony buttons. Having trouble visualizing whether it would look good with black buttons or not.


Bill James
Jul-09-2004, 2:57pm
Peakbagr I'm afraid at this point that mandolin's fate is sealed. It's going to be drop dead gorgeous no matter what you put on it. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jul-21-2004, 5:38pm
Peakbagr is having trouble posting photos, so he forwarded these to me and asked me to post them. The first one is of yours truly checking out his new mandolin in the white. It sounds just like mine did in the white, which means it's going to be a great mandolin.

Jul-21-2004, 5:42pm
Ready for staining...

Jul-21-2004, 5:43pm

Jul-21-2004, 5:44pm
Airbrushing back...

Jul-21-2004, 5:46pm
Freshly stained front...

Jul-21-2004, 5:47pm
And back.

Scotti Adams
Jul-21-2004, 6:56pm
..thanks for sharing those pics with us Rob....its great to see a nice mando being built from the infancy stage all the way thru completion....sure to be another fine feather in Hans' plumage...

Jul-22-2004, 12:09pm
Hans scraping the binding.
Here is the maestro's commentary on the scaping and varnishing photos, with a few more pictures of these steps to follow:

"Here's a pix of scraping, and several pix after the first coat of varnish. Color differences are lighting. The real red scroll is camera flash. That's about it for now, It's just one coat a day from here on with a rough sand
after about half of the finish is on."

Jul-22-2004, 12:10pm
Another look.

Jul-22-2004, 12:15pm
Fresh varnish on the scroll.

Jul-22-2004, 12:16pm
Fresh varnish on the front.

Jul-25-2004, 7:45am
drool - i wish that was mine. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

Jul-27-2004, 8:38pm
7 coats of varnish with sanding inbetween coats at this point.

Aug-09-2004, 10:18pm
Really lovely "silk" on the top wood - nummm......

Aug-13-2004, 6:00pm
Oh my goodness, the label is going in! Hans just sent me this teaser.
If I don't think about it, the weeks go faster.

Scotti Adams
Aug-13-2004, 6:04pm
..is that one of those Price Traditional 2 piece Tailpieces?....looks like it...if so..Im sure you will enjoy it...I had one....but opted it out to get a Gilchrist Tp...enjoy your new mando..Im sure its down to counting the hours now.

Aug-13-2004, 6:15pm

Actually, with all the details, I forgot what Hans recommended when I was in his shop. You're probably right.

The mandolin will probably be ready to ship in a couple of weeks, but we have some construction going on at our home and with all the sanding, dust, sheetrocking and contractors walking about, its probably not a great idea to have it hanging somewhere in my home for a few weeks while the varnish dries. After much back and forth about asking Hans to gets some small Waverly buttons and have him fit them to the Schallers, Hans came across a new set of #ebony Waverly's #that someone changed their minds on and I went for them.
I've been dying to see what they look like on the mandolin.
Hans is a wry rascal by taking the photo with a portion the Waverly box in the photo and the headstock out of sight...I owe him one now.

Aug-15-2004, 8:50am
3 more baby pictures. The V23 is finished, strung up, and waiting for the varnish to cure. The first is of the front.

Aug-15-2004, 8:51am
And the Peghead. Black, ebony buttons a little difficult to see.

Aug-15-2004, 8:56am
Here is the back.
If the pictures do any justice to how the mandolin looks in person, it will be as much fun to look at as to play.
For anyone who's been following this thread and is wondering...Hans is every bit as great to work with as his mandolins look and sound. He has been a great guy to work with and I've enjoyed every step of the process.

Thanks you Hans !

Scotti Adams
Aug-15-2004, 9:06am
..absolutley stunning work...congrats!!.....your a lucky one....

Aug-15-2004, 10:08am
No kidding! What Scotti Said!

Michael Lewis
Aug-16-2004, 12:25am
Beautiful shading. This is another great instrument, typical of Hans' work. Complete in execution.

Skip Kelley
Aug-16-2004, 6:10am
Awesome mandolin! I bet you can't wait to pick on it!

G. Fisher
Aug-17-2004, 9:02pm
The back of mine looks very similar to Peakbagrs'.

Aug-18-2004, 6:15am
That is really nice !

Aug-18-2004, 7:11am
Greg's mando is also the best sounding Brentrup i've heard - he's a lucky man...

Aug-19-2004, 12:53pm
Rob Coleman is a 2 Brentrup family. I'm told by others that the Italian Spruce Brentrup Rob has is the best mando they've every heard and he's more than a little happy with it. His mandolin certainly influenced my decision on the tonewood.


RI Jim
Aug-19-2004, 3:00pm
After looking at these pcitures for a few i noticed something odd that i'd like to ask about. This mandolin is missing the 2 little ' ears' that are part of the fretboard extender where the neck joins the body. You can really (not) see it in that great scroll picture. What is going on there , does he just use a straight piece that holds the fretboard ? I've never seen an F style that doesn't have those little ' ears '.
This is truly a Beautiful instrument. THIS is the golden age ya'all !

Aug-19-2004, 3:36pm
Sharp eyes, RI Jim. I took a close look at the binding joint at the crosspiece, and didn't even notice that! I'd like to know more about this too.

G. Fisher
Aug-19-2004, 10:21pm
I think all of Hans' mandolins sound and play great. Mine was on the 2003 mando tasing Cd. #When Ken put the sound bites out without names asking people to guess which one was John Reichmans Loar. My mandolin is the one most people guessed as the Loar.

I am also lucky enough to live close to Hans and I get to test out alot of mandolins before they are sent out. I know it sounds rough but someone has to do it. ##http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Strado Len
Aug-20-2004, 7:44am

Take a look at the close-up of the scroll. The ears are there. They are just very small and dark brown colored, thus, hard to see. Some mandos have big ears, some small -just like people.

Aug-20-2004, 8:26am
I don't see them-- I see the "ears" on the riser block, but not on the extender. I just looked at Hans' website, and you can see the details on the scroll closeups that he has. I don't think he includes the "ears" on the extender. It looks like there's just a square interior corner behind the cross-piece.

Aug-20-2004, 8:46am
Hi folks,

Thanks for all the kind comments. Alan, I really enjoyed building the instrument for you.
As to the question of ears or no ears, I don't put them on. The one on the treble side would interfere with my pickguard mounting system, and while they may look pretty, I feel they don' t add anything structurally or tonally to the instrument. I have thought about putting one on the bass side only, but have reached no conclusions about that yet.

Back to the # #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

RI Jim
Aug-20-2004, 8:49am
I'm with Andrew here. There are no ' ears' . I've never noticed it before when drooling, i mean looking, at Brentrups. I can't imagine having that 90 degree angle at the the crosspiece ! That must be a bear to finish and buff out. I like the smooth transition the standard ' ear' provides. I'm waiting for Hans himself to chime in here, this instrument is so stinkin nice !

Andrew, i'm going to drop you a pm after work, to see how your making out.

Jim Combra

Aug-20-2004, 8:55am
Spectacular work Hans, I'd love to pay you a visit on some future cross-country trip! You really add that extra level of class to this instrument. Great website too.

Sounds good Jim, I didn't realize it was you at first.

Aug-20-2004, 3:38pm
I'm glad Hans "de-cloaked" to take a bow.
I think anyone who's gone thru the steps with Hans will agree he is a true professional who never dismisses your questions or concerns and truly tries to build you the mandolin you want.
It begins when Hans takes time away from his shop to answer your phone and email questions, even before you're on his waitlist. And continues when he invites you to his home and picks you up and drops you off at the airport. "Oh, by the way, you can use our guest bedroom...."
After the trip back to his home from the airport, Hans spent a day with me, answering a myriad of my questions, and then listening while I tortured 10 of his mandolins, each with a different tonewood or finishes and ending late in the afternoon with the selection of the wood he's going to use.
I'm very impressed with Hans the luthier, but equally impressed with Hans the person, and how professionally he conducts the building process. There are so many very satisfied Brentrup owners that I spoke and corresponded with during the process. They too are folks who've had the same experience, something that makes you comfortable when having a custom mandolin of this caliber constructed.
So, Hans, here's a very public thank you for making the whole thing much more fun than I could have imagined.


RI Jim
Aug-20-2004, 5:02pm
Hey Alan, your last note was VERY cool ! It's really refreshing to hear people talk about a luthier in those terms. It sounds like Hans really knows what to do, not only in lutherie, but in life itself. It is very hard to take time away from your work, but it makes ALL the differance in the world. I personally treat every phone call and every e-mail as a potential client and treat them as i would like to be treeated and it sounds like Hans is a Beautiful person first, and world class luthier second... And that's just right......Good luck with a Beautiful instrument. John Monteleone inspires my work, and Hans and Dave Smith inspire my attitude.

Jim Combra

Oct-05-2004, 11:07am
OK, it's been a while... has it come yet? What's the status?

Oct-22-2004, 8:34pm
Hans is shipping on Monday, with arrival Tuesday morning.
Tick tock, tick tock. The weekend is passing slowly.

Oct-22-2004, 8:35pm

Oct-22-2004, 9:16pm
yours and mine will be going out at the same time!

yes, folks, now i will have 4!!!!!!!!(they're mine! #all mine!!!!)bwaaahahaha!(evil laugh)

Oct-22-2004, 9:53pm
Is the new one a 23 or a 21?

(congratulations by the way!)

Oct-23-2004, 4:03am
it's a 23 this time.

Oct-27-2004, 10:49am

How do you like your new arrival?
Pls see my comments on the other section of the board under "The Eagle has landed". The V23 is more than I could have ever imagined, visually and in its quickly developing sound.

Oct-30-2004, 7:04pm
i am enjoying my new arrival so much i have decided to sell a large chunk of my non-brentrup mando collection.........i never thought i'd say that!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif

Nov-02-2004, 7:26pm
I managed to borrow a 5MP camera. Being unfamiliar with its controls, I messed up the lighting and focus. I just shrunk the pix and hope to do better justice to this beautiful mandolin the next time I get the camera.

Nov-02-2004, 7:27pm
...and next

Nov-02-2004, 7:28pm

Nov-02-2004, 7:29pm
And one more.

Nov-02-2004, 9:08pm
Wow, I do like how that fingerboard turned out.

Now take her out in the sun and get some more pics -- kinda got a camera shake thing going on there, need more light. I want to see more! More!