View Full Version : Kelley F4 mandolin

Skip Kelley
Dec-22-2008, 1:49pm
Here is a F4 style I completed recently. It has a very wide grain sikta top I had laying around for years and the back and sides are made from some master grade quilted maple I bought several years back. The neck is mahogany. The finish is an oil varnish. I tried to make it look as though it is years old. It has that wonderful old oval hole sound. It is real loud especially up the neck.

Dec-22-2008, 1:51pm
Man, that looks sweet!

Can you post a sound clip?

Skip Kelley
Dec-22-2008, 1:51pm
Here are a few more pics.

Dec-22-2008, 1:52pm
Lovely... close up photos please!
Is the binding and rosette really "golden" looking as it appears in the photo?


Ah! you did add them.
Quilted maple! Gorgeous!

Michael Gowell
Dec-22-2008, 1:53pm
Congratulations on building a handsome instrument! It does indeed look old - a very good look for an F-4 with a big ol' flowerpot on the peghead.

Dec-22-2008, 2:03pm
Beautiful Skip. Really looks like one of the old ones!

Skip Kelley
Dec-22-2008, 2:13pm
Here's the soundhole. You can see the wide grain better. I will try to get a sound file soon.

Dec-22-2008, 2:17pm
Beautiful instrument! And an especially lovely sunburst.

Dec-22-2008, 2:20pm
That looks amazing

Skip Kelley
Dec-22-2008, 2:55pm
Everyone, thanks for the compliments! I really appreciate it!
Rod, the binding is yellow from the varnish.

Skip Kelley
Dec-22-2008, 3:41pm
Here is a sound clip.

Dec-22-2008, 4:32pm
Wow Skip... There is no doubt it's an oval hole from your sound clip. It sounds like the real thing and looks like it too. Outstanding job.

PS ...wouldn't some of Mike Blohm's handle buttons look good on that baby?

Bill Snyder
Dec-22-2008, 4:35pm
Very Nice. I really like the looks of the old Gibson oval holed mandolins. A's and F's. Yours looks just as nice.

Doug Edwards
Dec-22-2008, 4:39pm
Super! Looks and sounds great too.

Dec-22-2008, 6:14pm
Great job Skip.
Looks just like you used a "Wayback" machine.;)

Tim Pike
Dec-22-2008, 8:20pm
wOw, fantastic sound and look! Great job!

Steve Cantrell
Dec-22-2008, 8:23pm
Awesome job, Skip. That's a fine looking mandolin.

gibson mandoman
Dec-22-2008, 8:30pm
Skip, great looking mandolin. Sounds great too! Is this F-4 spoken for?

Dec-22-2008, 8:59pm
Fine looks and sound. A tip of the hat to you, sir.


Trey Young
Dec-22-2008, 9:10pm
wow, that's a great looking and sounding mandolin.

Dec-22-2008, 10:04pm
Sounds even better than it looks! Congrats once again.

Dec-22-2008, 11:26pm
Wow! That's a gorgeous looking F-4 copy. Love that quilted back. Outstanding work!

Skip Kelley
Dec-23-2008, 8:23am
Thanks again everyone for the kind words!
Mike, it would look great with some of Mike Blohm's buttons for sure!
Dan, it isn't spoken for. I built this just for the fun of it and to see how close it would sound like one the old ones.

Big Joe
Dec-23-2008, 8:30am
Good job, Skip! I would love to play it!

Austin Clark
Dec-23-2008, 9:55am
That looks great, Skip! I bet it sounds good, too.

Jim Hilburn
Dec-23-2008, 10:16am
Skip, I'll be writing for advice since my next one will be my first oval. I'll need all the help I can get.

Skip Kelley
Dec-23-2008, 10:30am
Jim, I would be glad to help in any way I can. And don't forget Gail Hester; she has a wealth of knowledge on the oval hole mandolins!

Dec-23-2008, 11:04am
Ditto what everyone else has said. Thanks for posting the sound clip!

Stephanie Reiser
Dec-26-2008, 8:27pm
Great job, Skip. NIce sound, too. I especially love your stain and finish work.
Here is a pic of mine back before it was finished, showing Mike's tuner buttons. They really add to the instrument and I get alot of nice comments. But mine is an example of an earlier time period whereas yours is a later one.
Looks really good!

Mark Walker
Dec-27-2008, 10:42am
Skip - great job! You're always so complimentary toward other builder's efforts on the Cafe' and it's obvious you're no slouch at crafting a beautiful-look and great sounding mandolin yourself!

Keep up the great work! :)

James P
Dec-27-2008, 12:51pm
Wow. Very nice work on the finish! The whole package really.
Great sound too. If ya don't mind me asking, how old are those strings?

Skip Kelley
Dec-28-2008, 12:57pm
Danny, Mark, and James, thanks guys for all the compliments! James, the strings aren't but a couple of months old. Do they look old in the pictures?

Dec-28-2008, 4:29pm
Nice job, Skip!
I especially like the rosette, it's not easy to get them to look that much like the old ones. Where did you get that purfling?

Dec-28-2008, 4:53pm
Purdy Skip!
John, I get the purfling from Grizzly. Try the online store.

Gail Hester
Dec-28-2008, 5:15pm
Awesome Skip. Terrific vintage vibe, color and I love the quilt back.

Skip Kelley
Dec-29-2008, 8:27am
John, Hans and Gail, thank you for the compliments! John, you can get the purfling at Grizzly like Hans suggested. I bought mine from stew-mac and cut it.

James P
Dec-29-2008, 12:28pm
Danny, Mark, and James, thanks guys for all the compliments! James, the strings aren't but a couple of months old. Do they look old in the pictures?

Not that I'd noticed. The soundclip made me wonder whether that old sound I was hearing was coming from new strings on a new mando. Again, great work Skip.

Skip Kelley
Dec-29-2008, 2:27pm
James, thanks!