View Full Version : A Weber dream materialises

Mar-24-2009, 6:26pm
The dream started on December 5th, when I saw these two photos on the Sound To Earth web site....

http://www.rod-neep.com/rod/instruments/mandolin-weber-yellowstone-tortc/0-webercat1.jpg http://www.rod-neep.com/rod/instruments/mandolin-weber-yellowstone-tortc/0-webercat2.jpg

I instantly fell in love! And placed my order.

It is a Weber custom Yellowstone, with a red spruce top, tortoise binding and white purfling, peninsula fingerboard, and a tortoise colour shading. The fingerboard and headstock also has the tortoise binding and white purfling.

In February Brett Byers sent me this photo of my instrument just before he started his magic on the finishing job....


And then early in March these two photos arrived from Tony Polecastro, with a report that it was ready for the polishing....



Mar-24-2009, 6:26pm
And today...... Jon Garon of My Favorite Guitars took this photo outside his store in Naples, Florida.....

Its mine! ..... and it is now on the way to me here in England. :grin:


Now begins the perpetual clicking on the tracking screen.


Mar-24-2009, 6:35pm
Very nice. I'm sure you'll treasure it, Rod.


Sean Greer
Mar-24-2009, 7:06pm
Wow, she's a beaut' alright. Got a real nice 'burst and a great all-around look. Well done Weber! And congrats to you, Rod.

man dough nollij
Mar-24-2009, 7:20pm
Very nice, Rod! I'm curious, though... with fancy binding and gold hardware, wouldn't that make it a Big Sky? Yellowstones are single-bound with nickel hardware, I believe.

The filled TP is a classy touch, too. I like the plain headstock without the "fish knot". Cool.

Jim DeSalvio
Mar-24-2009, 7:29pm

Nice mando! That will fit in well with your Martin guitars. I hope the journey to you is fast.

Jim D (desaljs from UMGF)

Jill McAuley
Mar-24-2009, 8:19pm
Congratulations Rod, that is gorgeous! The tortoise binding along the fingerboard is a lovely touch, as is the filled tailpiece. Please post a video clip when it arrives, like you did with your Bridger A, so we can hear how great it sounds!


Rob Powell
Mar-25-2009, 3:08am
That's a beaut....those folks sure know how to build a mando. You keeping the loaner? ;)

Mar-25-2009, 7:59am
That's a beaut....those folks sure know how to build a mando. You keeping the loaner? ;)

I would have a really hard time keeping the loaned custom (red spruce) Yellowstone. Beautiful as it is! I have serious "sense & sensibility" thoughts, unusual for me, but I can't really justify having two "lifetime" instruments that are so similar. It was always the plan to send it back to Jon Garon (MyFavoriteGuitars) when the replacement arrived, and so I have tried not to bond with it. :whistling:


But it sure is lovely!
The ideal solution would be to sell it here in the UK, but I am not sure that there is a big enough market over here to move it quickly, and therefore most probably it will go back to Jon.

man dough nollij: Very nice, Rod! I'm curious, though... with fancy binding and gold hardware, wouldn't that make it a Big Sky? Yellowstones are single-bound with nickel hardware, I believe.

Yes, the custom features take it so far away from the Yellowstone that its hard to know what to call it, other than just "custom". There are features on the Big Sky that are not present on this one. It is a sort of "in between" hybrid of the two, and not quite as expensive as the Big Sky.

Differences from the standard Yellowstone are:
"The Weber" script in abalone
No knot inlay on the headstock
Tortoise binding plus white purfling all round
Tortoise binding plus white purfling to the fingerboard and headstock
Custom tortoise shaded colour scheme
Red spruce top
Infilled tailpiece
Wood nymph
Gold hardware
Peninsula fingerboard extension
No position markers on the fingerboard (just side dots)
and.... great personal communication and treatment from the folks at Weber.


Kevin K
Mar-25-2009, 8:34am
That is a really, really nice looking mandolin.

Capt. E
Mar-25-2009, 8:48am
Beautiful finish and color. I expect it will play even better. My Bighorn also has a red spruce top (quartersawn) and the tone is fabulous. Congratulations.

Mar-25-2009, 9:09am
I have played on a Yellowstone. Very nice, very authoritative chop. And beautiful to hold and play. Be interesting to hear your report, and what your customization has brought to the party.

Quite a difference in sound from your Bridger. You will have both ends of the range!

Your enthusiasm is infectious - maybe you could get someone to video you opening the case for the first time.

Ken Olmstead
Mar-25-2009, 10:11am
Very class act! Congradulations!

Mar-25-2009, 10:17am
I have played on a Yellowstone. Very nice, very authoritative chop. And beautiful to hold and play. Be interesting to hear your report, and what your customization has brought to the party.

I suspect that it will be very similar to the red spruce Yellowstone that I have as the "loaner". But I haven't played that one enough to get it moving properly, and typical of red spruce, it is kind of "tight" sounding to begin with. Clear and bell-like, but requires some driving. I have a couple of red spruce Martin guitars, a D-28 Marquis and a custom 00-28VS which is now about 5 years old, and those changed quite considerably, and are a delight to play.

Quite a difference in sound from your Bridger. You will have both ends of the range!

Oh yes indeed! The Weber Bridger A amazes me with its rich mellow tone, and (three months old now) it gets better and better. My plan was to own three great mandolins for different types of music. The Bridger to play some English and Celtic folk stuff, a Yellowstone to learn how to play some bluegrass & gospel music, and to complete the lineup, a Bridger A Octave which is about 5 weeks away. Learning to play the mandolin is something very new for me. I have been playing guitar for 50 years, but I concentrated almost entirely on finger styles and virtually the only time I use a pick is for the occasional strumming. I never did learn to play "lead" guitar and single note stuff or improvisation, and so learning to play the mandolin is quite a challenge! A fun challenge though! I'll admit to knowing how to play only two guitar pieces with a flatpick. Wildwood Flower and Gospel Ship, both of which I learned in 1963 from a Doc Watson album.

Your enthusiasm is infectious - maybe you could get someone to video you opening the case for the first time.

Enthusiasm is something that comes easy to me. I'm just a big kid who never grew up. :) I just made my mind up that I WAS going to succeed with the mandolin, and that's why I wanted some really great instruments to learn on. Yeah, I know that I am really fortunate, but man, there's so much feedback and incentive to play with a good instrument that just wants to be played.

Your idea of a video record of the arrival of the new mandolin is excellent. Thanks! I'll do it!


Bill Auld
Mar-25-2009, 10:34am
Beautiful mandolin, Rod! Congrats! Can't wait for a sound report ...

Bob Stolkin
Mar-25-2009, 1:44pm
I've always loved that look with tortoise binding and white purfling. Nice.

nate w
Mar-25-2009, 1:55pm
Very beautiful mandolin you got there. Congrats.. I am sold on Weber, I haven't put my new Gallatin Cumberland down in the past week.

Susan H.
Mar-25-2009, 2:21pm
Rod, that is a beautiful mandolin. Can't wait to hear how much you like and how it sounds. Love the binding on it.

Mar-25-2009, 5:50pm
Say Rod that's a beaut! I'm developing a real fondness for TS binding I guess 'cause it's a bit more subdued and makes the finish look more homogenous so to speak and I like that. :grin:

I hope she sounds as good as she looks and plays really good as well. Congrats. :cool:


Gerard Dick
Mar-25-2009, 6:04pm
You will love it. I already have one, "verry nice" as the French knights say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Ivan Kelsall
Mar-26-2009, 12:35am
A beautiful,beautiful Mandolin Rod. If that sounds as good as it looks (eventually of course),then it should be stunning. One question - did you manage to get it for a 'pre-crunch' price or did the price actually increase ? (i not asking what you paid). I know that the new price for a Weber Fern in the UK has increased by almost 1,200 UK ($1,740 US) since i bought mine.
Let me know when it lands Rod & i'll come down & play it in for you - FREE of charge even !,
Saska :)

Mar-26-2009, 5:26am
Yes, I already paid for it early December. There's a bit of a story to that actually.....

I saw the photos of the instrument on Jon Garon's newsletter and web site (MyFavoriteGuitars.com (http://www.myfavoriteguitars.com)) and fell in love with the appearance. Knowing that it would be a great instrument because it was from from Weber, I paid for it immediately. That coincided with a trip I was making to the USA the following day, and so I asked Jon to send it to New Jersey rather than direct to England. Then came the complication. Jon was away from Naples on the day it arrived in from Weber (next day) and so he didn't get to see it in person, and his store guy took delivery, and shipped it off to me immediately. However, what arrived was the tortoise and honey red spruce custom mandolin that you see in the photo higher up this thread.

When I opened it up I was gutted! It wasn't the same mandolin that what was in the photos. Obviously, the honey & tortoise custom was an awesome instrument, but not the one that I had fallen in love with. :disbelief:

There had been a mix up all round, because Jon had paid the honey & tortoise price to Weber, which was less expensive than the tortoise/tortoise, and I had paid accordingly. I'm not saying that it was all Jon's fault because it wasn't. Part of it was my fault because I hadn't read the specifications carefully enough and I was going by the photos! The specs were for the honey & tortoise red spruce, and the photos were of the tortoise and tortoise red spruce.

So we had a problem. But it was solved within an hour by Jon. He contacted Weber, and then suggested that I take home the honey & tortoise, but that I would have to wait while Weber made one that was the same as the pictures. Then when the replacement arrived I was to send the honey & tortoise back to him, and that he would cover the shipping for both. The downside was that I would have to pay more for the tortoise & tortoise because it had additional purfling and some other special custom features. But that was OK by me, because my mind was set on the "love at first sight" instrument. :)

Jon Garon handled the whole thing wonderfully from the customer's point of view. OK, there had been a mix up, part of which was down to me, but his suggested solution was as good as it can get, and I had the honey & tortoise to play with in the meantime.

All that happened in the first week of December, and I have spent the time since trying not to bond with that lovely instrument. Over the last few of months I have had several communications with Brett Byers and Tony Polecastro at Weber, and they have kept me tantalisingly up to date with the mandolin's progress, and even sent me some photos of it in progress. There were positive thoughts all round. Everyone has been really good to me. That kept me going for the duration of the wait! :)

Now, ironically, I am sitting on a custom Yellowstone honey & tortoise red spruce with a flowerpot that due to the change in the dollar rate would now cost much more in the UK than I paid for it back in December, and I am kind of tempted not to send it back! If I sold it here (heck, even to a dealer), I could cover the upcharge that I had to pay for the additional features on the tortoise & tortoise replacement. I have until next week to make up my mind on that. :confused:

But life is good! And I am now clicking on the tracking screen hourly as a sort of ritual to see where my mandolin is right now.

Now Saska.... if you would like to come down to Gloucestershire to help break in the new Weber then please do! I'll even supply the food and beer. I live in a mandolin desert down here, and I don't even know anyone else who plays the mandolin! Come to think of it, I have never even sat beside anyone who can play one! Learning to play is entirely a "do it yourself" task!


This is what I play with when I am not playing mandolin. More fun. (http://www.helpkenyakids.org/2007-alara/2007alara-newschool.html)

Skip Kelley
Mar-26-2009, 6:36am
Rod, that is one sweet looking mandolin! I love the sunburst! I bet you just can't wait to pick it!!

Mar-26-2009, 7:12am
Man, that's gorgeous. I love the tortoise/tortoise look and the filled tailpiece is really striking...congratulations!

Jim DeSalvio
Mar-26-2009, 7:52am

How about a few comments on that tailpiece. It looks lovely and really adds a classy touch to the entire package.

Mar-26-2009, 8:35am
I'll take a close up photo of that tailpiece when it arrives.

The whole idea behind having this was to create a themed colour scheme throughout.

Ooohh! ... it just moved again, and is making good progress....


Mar-26-2009, 8:54pm
Moving on well, doing a tour of the Eastern US:

Location Date Local Time Description
NJ, US 26/03/2009 21:30 ARRIVAL SCAN
KY, US 26/03/2009 19:29 DEPARTURE SCAN

I know from my Weber Bridger delivery in January that it is following the same timetable, which means that it will fly out of Newark at 08.50 tomorrow morning (Friday), and appear on the tracking in the UK at around 8.30pm UK time. Saturday it will hang around in Customs, and then be delivered on Monday, (perhaps Tuesday).

OK, OK.... I am getting excited. :whistling:

In the meantime I have been watching some Bill Monroe on YouTube for inspiration :)

How about this for an introduction to a tune.... two bars and then he steps aside.... leaving me laughing out loud in disbelief and uttering something that sounds like "Fwooork".


Ivan Kelsall
Mar-27-2009, 2:19am
I'll be there directly Rod !!. ( Now,learning how to play a Mandolin while drinking beer - that's a whole new ball game),
Saska :grin:

Mar-27-2009, 2:26am
sooooo pretty! looking forward to your report..........btw, i love your word........"fwoork". fabulous....

Mar-30-2009, 5:46am
Well.... the tracking listed everything in great detail whilst it sped through the USA, and the mandolin arrived in the UK last Friday, since which it hasn't moved and the tracking hasn't been updated. :mad::crying:

I phoned UPS.... it won't be here today. Maybe tomorrow. :whistling:

Mar-30-2009, 6:41am
That's normal for UPS

Ivan Kelsall
Mar-31-2009, 12:46am
Hey Rod - Just be glad that it wasn't sent by Fed-Ex - they have to be the world's worst,at least in this country. I've had 2 expensive shipments held by them,without them notifying me of an 'attempted' delivery.In the first instance,it was only when FQMS in Louisville sent me the tracking no.,that i knew that nearly 250 ($365) worth of my goods was in the country.That was 4 days before they would ship it back & try to charge me for it.If they had tried to deliver it,then unlike UPS & Royal Mail "Parcelforce",they didn't notify me. Anyway i hope that your new Mandolin arrives safe & well - then it's piccies please !,
Enjoy - Saska;)

Mar-31-2009, 2:53am
Saska.... I am pleased that it isn't coming by Royal Mail Parcelfarce (intentional mis-spelling). Their tracking always shows as "Attempted Delivery", which translated into real terms means nothing of the sort. Instead it means that it has cleared customs and they have posted a letter to you snail mail to ask for the VAT & Duty. Only after paying does it go out for delivery.

So to this grey Tuesday morning.... UPS tracking report shows some overnight activity, (the first since Friday when it arrived in England).... but not the magic words.


That means at least that it has reached Gloucester. It may now be on a van for delivery. But who knows?

I'm sitting here (none too patiently) in the man cave waiting for the dogs to bark, which will be the next sign.....


Chris Keth
Mar-31-2009, 3:43am
Strength, sir. That wait is always tough. I'm waiting on my first mandolin to arrive. I'm excited and it's a much less glamourous instrument than yours. You must be positively antsy.

Mar-31-2009, 5:53am
Yes... very positively ansty! If I didn't value my fingerpicking nails so much they would be chewed down to the bone by now. :))

Almost 12 noon and no sign yet. I have been pacing around the house all morning, high on coffee, and I have arranged some picks in a neat line, made sure that there is a good battery in the electronic tuner, and sorted out three straps as potentials.

See... I really do have it bad! :) But in my defence, I have been waiting since December 5th for this to materialise.

Ooohh... dogs bark.... must run.....

Edit... nope... false alarm.

Mar-31-2009, 6:00am
From what you show above it won't arrive today....

Dan Johnson
Mar-31-2009, 6:28am
great mando! sorry for the complications... you are living my dream... I've currently started saving a hundred bucks a month (or twice when I can) towards a Weber... thanks for the inspiration!

Mar-31-2009, 9:19am
Its here..... arrived a three and a half hours ago.



Don't worry. I'll watch over it for you while the case warms up to room temperature....
It won't take long. Its quite mild outside.

Mar-31-2009, 9:23am
One up for UPS, they've had one of mine for in the UK 3 days.... and waiting. From the depot here it always shows as out for delivery around 7 a.m.

Mar-31-2009, 9:31am
So... what do I show you first..... ?

OK... that tailpiece. ;)


Gold plated.... and infilled with tortoise coloured resin, with a swirl that looks like tortoise shell. Matches the body colour perfectly.

Mar-31-2009, 9:37am

Looking good so far...
How does it sound??



Mar-31-2009, 9:42am
The mandatory headstock shot.


Very, very dark rosewood (could even be ebony?), and unlike the standard Yellowstone, it has no knot inlay or the standard "Weber" lettering. Just a "The Weber" script in abalone. Simplicity. Gold plated tuners.


Simplicity with style again... more variation from the standard Yellowstone. A peninsula fingerboard, without any position markers (except on the edge). So that's just a plain black ebony fingerboard and an uncluttered appearance. Fine white purfling all around the fingerboard, and tortoise edge binding to the fingerboard.

A stunningly beautiful "tortoise" colour finish. Thanks Brett. Perfect!

Mar-31-2009, 9:47am
Another shot of the fingerboard...


And the neck. Note how Brett has graduated the shading. Darker at the heel and headstock, and more pale in the middle. Nice attention to detail, and bringing out the rich figure in the maple.


Mar-31-2009, 9:50am


And the portrait view...


Gerry Cassidy
Mar-31-2009, 9:54am

Congratulations on your new, and beautiful instrument!

The fit and finish are superb. Definitely my new favorite finish available from Weber.

I really like the subtlety of the build. Kind of like a 'Sleeper' in a way. My Bighorn is the same way. At first glance they look nice, yet somewhat simple. But, the catch is the more you look at them the more you will see.

Again, Congrats, and have a wonderful time with your new beauty!

Mar-31-2009, 10:01am
OK... the sound....

Although the top is of red spruce, which is renowned for needing to be played in well to open up its full potential, this one is already extremely responsive. Even before I tuned it up and put a pick to the strings it began to ring just by me talking to it. A good start.

It already has a "want to be played" sound. Its open and free, not at all like an instrument that wants to be opened up and which needs to be played hard to respond. Thats extremely encouraging indeed! It can only get better.

Its big, round and impressive. Play it gently up over the fingerboard and it is nicely mellow. Play it further south and dig in with the pick and its got that clear bell like chime of red spruce and LOUD!

I love an instrument that can be "milked" into providing my ears with different tonal qualities. This one really has it.

Worth the wait? You betcha!
Thanks a million to the guys at Weber. You made this old guy really, really happy. :grin:


Jill McAuley
Mar-31-2009, 11:03am
Wow, well done Rod - that is a beauty! My favourite two shots are the one of the tortoise binding along the fretboard, just stunning, and then the one of the back of the neck, the maple with that finish looks quite "tortoise-y". Simplicity of the headstock inlay and no fretboard inlay is lovely as well. You are a lucky man, but sure, you know that! Enjoy!


Chris Biorkman
Mar-31-2009, 11:52am
Real nice.

Mar-31-2009, 12:17pm
Toto, I don't think we're in Montana anymore! Congratulations, Rod. Enjoy it.


Mar-31-2009, 3:49pm
BEAUTIFUL!! Congratulations.

Leigh Coates
Mar-31-2009, 3:59pm
That's a beautiful mandolin, that's for sure!

But I have to say, looking at the picture of your sun-room, garden and dog made me lonesome for England. The view outside looks like my cousin's garden in April. I love it there and hope to go back to visit REALLY soon.

Jim DeSalvio
Mar-31-2009, 6:34pm

Congrats. Glad the saga came to a nice ending. Thanks for the photo of the tailpiece. It does match up with the beautiful color of the body.

Very classy appointments. You done good!

Chris Keth
Mar-31-2009, 7:00pm
That is beyond beautiful in a very classy, understated way. Very English. ;)

I do love the shading on the back of the neck. Adding that makes every major surface of light wood sunburst.

Ivan Kelsall
Apr-01-2009, 3:00am
Rod - without a doubt,that is one of the most beautiful Mandolins i've ever seen. The LACK of headstock ornamentation & fingerboard dots,is right up my street & the colour is stunning. It makes me wonder if you didn't take a hint from this one,although i have to say the headstock on yours is more to my taste.All told,a very,very beautiful instrument indeed,
Saska ;)

Apr-01-2009, 4:55am
Saska..... that one does look beautiful too..... and it has one special feature that I wish I had done on mine...... It has ebony tuner knobs, but I can still do that...


See how the pearloid ones stand out brightly on mine. Now imagine the look of it with ebony knobs, or even better, snakewood, which has that "tortoise" look to it. Stewmac sell Waverly guitar machines and knobs, but unfortunately not snakewood mandolin knobs.

http://www.stewmac.com/product_images/1lg/4098-G/Waverly_Machines_for_Slotted_Pegheads_with_Snakewo od_Knob_Detail.jpg

I also have a nice arm rest on order from King Brown. Ebony with a Celtic knot, like the one that I have fitted to my Bridger A. I'll have to see how it looks, but it might distract from the "simple theme".

Finally, I have always been in two minds about an ebony truss rod cover with a simple and tasteful abalone inlay. Again, that may distract from the lovely simple appearance of the headstock.

Thanks for all of the wonderful and encouraging comments, folks. I really appreciate you sharing my dream.


Ivan Kelsall
Apr-01-2009, 5:32am
I really like the ebony tuner buttons as well,very cool.I'd love a set of ebony ones for my Lebeda.The thing is, the ones on it are real MOP so i'll just leave 'em be. I too thought of either a MOP or Abalone TRC,but as my Lebeda Headstock is 'simplistic' (not too ornamented) maybe not quite as nice as your Weber Rod,again,i'll defer. The only thing i'd add to your Mandolin,is a new set of strings every now & again,
Saska ;)

Apr-01-2009, 5:39am
Congrats, Rod. Absolutely stunning. Love the simplicity of the mandolin and the tortoise/tortoise color scheme. The honey/tortoise loaner isn't hard to take either. :)

Michael Cameron
Apr-01-2009, 12:49pm
This is what I play with when I am not playing mandolin. More fun. (http://www.helpkenyakids.org/2007-alara/2007alara-newschool.html)

Just wondering about your Martin (K3?) uke. New or vintage?
Lighter in color;so,it's koa,right?
Has a nice sound. It has the "skunk" stripe down the fretboard,but no "cartouche" on lower soundboard;so,I'm thinking it may be newer?

Pretty Weber!

Apr-01-2009, 3:06pm
Oh... yes Michael. That is my Custom Martin 3-Cherry uke that I took with me to Africa. One of the new ones, but I had them make it without the dark red stain, and so its a natural cherry wood.


I have a collection of Martin ukes, new and vintage.... OK. I am a uke nut too :whistling: This one is a custom 3-K, again a modern one, but "retro" in the style of a 1919 3-K with a kite inlay on the headstock and a bowtie in the fingerboard.


But the ukes and guitars haven't had much play time recently!
Mandolin has kind of taken over. :grin:


Apr-02-2009, 3:18pm
The final hours of waiting....
... the arrival
... the moment of opening and unveiling

Apr-02-2009, 3:37pm
that thing is crazy nice....

Susan H.
Apr-02-2009, 3:40pm
Rod, do you know how hard it was to watch that video and NOT drool all over my keyboard??? That is a beautiful Weber. Mine pales in comparison. I hope you have many, many years of enjoyment from it. They are beautiful to look at and wonderful to hear. Congratulations.

Brett Byers
Apr-02-2009, 5:22pm
You totally made my day. Any time I start to get bogged down or caught up in the small things, I'll come back and watch this video and it will remind me of all that is right with the world. Thank you.
I think when your Bridger Octave is ready to ship I'll just hand deliver it so we can sit down in that lovely sun room of yours and share a couple of pints! :mandosmiley:

Apr-02-2009, 7:10pm
I think when your Bridger Octave is ready to ship I'll just hand deliver it so we can sit down in that lovely sun room of yours and share a couple of pints!

Brett.... you would be made to feel like a king over here. Book the flight fella! (Continental fly direct from the US into Bristol, which is close to me). I'll get in the supply of suitable local beers. That's a very serious invitation! Spring time in the Royal Forest of Dean is something to be experienced!

http://thumb12.webshots.net/t/48/48/3/13/59/346731359dWsUFs_th.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1346731359060872672dWsUFs)

Notwithstanding the fact that there have been several hands building that mandolin and creating the great sound, lots of kudos goes to you for creating the thing that everyone notices first.... the colour and the finish. It is truly awesome. Beautiful. Perfect. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. But you have seen my initial gut reaction in the video. ;)

Buying an expensive instrument long distance without hearing it first isn't an easy thing to do, especially a custom instrument, a one off that is going to be an "unknown". That is why I chose a Weber. Everything I read about you guys and the company just gave me good vibes, and I knew that all would be OK, and I never had a doubt.

Please pass on my thanks to the team at Weber.


Apr-03-2009, 2:25am
There are 14 Weber mandolins, 1 mandola and soon to be 2 octave mandolins and a mandocello to try out in my store.. not far away... about 150 miles.

Brett Byers
Apr-03-2009, 7:36am
I certainly am just a cog in the wheel, and everyone at the shop played a big part in the success of that instrument. Mike, Vern, Helen, Dan, Bruce Jr, Bruce Sr, Gary, Clint, and Marty all have very important roles in the building of all of the mandolins. And of course Tony, Kathy, and Mary in the office. I'm going to make a point of showing this video to everyone in the shop today. I don't think I've ever actually witnessed someones "first impression" like that before with one our mandolins. Usually we'll get an email, or a phone call a couple of weeks or months after they've gotten to know their instrument, but to witness a video like this really gives it a whole new perspective.

Apr-05-2009, 4:45pm
A lovely spring day, with temperatures in the upper 60s.
Spent the whole afternoon gardening.... and the early evening picking... outside the sun room.

Life is grand. :)


Ivan Kelsall
Apr-06-2009, 12:18am
Brett,as a Weber owner, i have to say that you folk at Weber deserve all the kudos that go with the territory. I've never seen a Weber that wasn't immaculate, & Rod's instrument & his initial reaction on seeing it,is testament to that fact - beautiful,beautiful craftsmanship,

Bob Stolkin
Apr-06-2009, 11:57am

That is a fine looking instrument. Contgrats!


P.S. I'm surprised someone hasn't grabbed that also-gorgeous tortoise-bound Big Sky at Cotten.

Capt. E
Apr-06-2009, 12:46pm
Thank you so much for the video, Tears came to my eyes and a smile on my face watching you open the case and play for the first time. I own a Weber "Bighorn" and still receive immense pleasure just holding it. The exquisite sounds it produces elevates to ethereal realms. I am sure it will be the same with you.

Apr-06-2009, 2:27pm
Today I made her a new strap, using 2mm round leather cord of natural and black. I was aiming at a colour theme to match the instrument. It is finished with neatsfoot oil which softens it up nicely.

The scroll loop is of a fixed size, just enough to go round the scroll, and with 6 ply braid..... spliced back into itself..... and then for the main strap I added three more cords to make it nine in the braid, and 1/2" wide.


Capt. E
Apr-06-2009, 3:01pm
I like the armrest. First we've seen of that.

Tony Polecastro
Apr-06-2009, 4:30pm
Rod, the video is excellent and as Brett said, it made my day as well!!! The strap and armrest are an awesome touch!!!

Even over my crummy computer speakers that instrument sounds as good as when I first played it up in setup, can't wait to hear it a couple years down the road.

To see the look on your face when you first opened it was absolutley priceless!!!

Aug-13-2009, 10:37pm
Well.... the third instrument of the "trio" is now on its way to me!
Phew..... its been a long wait, but I am sure that it will be worth it.:)

Like the other two, (The Bridger A and the Yellowstone) first it travelled from Montana to Jon Garon at MyFavoriteGuitars.com in Naples Florida.... and now it has started the journey to England...

Location Date Local Time Description
NEWARK , NJ , US 13/08/2009 20:23 ARRIVAL SCAN
13/08/2009 15:45 DEPARTURE SCAN
13/08/2009 12:25 ARRIVAL SCAN
13/08/2009 10:04 ARRIVAL SCAN
MIAMI , FL , US 13/08/2009 8:31 DEPARTURE SCAN
13/08/2009 4:10 ARRIVAL SCAN
HIALEAH , FL , US 13/08/2009 3:35 DEPARTURE SCAN
13/08/2009 0:03 ARRIVAL SCAN
NAPLES , FL , US 12/08/2009 21:31 DEPARTURE SCAN
12/08/2009 20:21 ORIGIN SCAN
12/08/2009 16:55 COLLECTION SCAN #

The wait begins again! It could be here Monday, maybe.

This one is the Weber Bridger Octave, finished in Brett's special "Desert Dawn" colour. Its been a long wait, but the folks at Weber were not 100% satisfied with the first one they made for me, and therefore started on another. That's quite OK with me, because that shows that they are fussy and want things to be dead right for me, the customer.

I hope to be able to post photos Monday, perhaps. Plus a shot of the family of three Webers. :)


Chris Biorkman
Aug-13-2009, 11:10pm
I think it's safe to say that Rod likes his Webers.

Aug-14-2009, 1:31am
Man that tortoise binding is beautiful with that color WOW!!!

Weber has really cranked it up and they are really coming out with there best mandolins right now just like Gibson.

I still like my Gibsons but I really think Weber has surpassed Gibson in the fit and finish department. Really beautiful work they are doing now!

AND ... you get a free Wood Nymph string silencer ... doesn't get any better than that! :mandosmiley:

man dough nollij
Aug-14-2009, 1:39am
Congrats, Rod. Your's is very similar to mine. My Scarlet Fire color is just a little redder and darker than the Desert Dawn. I did have a small problem with mine on delivery. I was doing a little setup work on mine when I discovered that it was delivered with the bridge screwed up all the way. A Weber dealer I was showing it to said that wasn't the first time they had seen that particular setup flaw. You might have the Florida dealer take a look at that before they send it across the pond. Weber makes different bridge base thicknesses, and should have used a thicker one for ideal adjustability. Weber agreed to fit a taller bridge for no charge. I'm out of the country for an extended stay now, so I just dropped it off in Logan, and they're storing it for me. I got to meet Bruce, John and Tony, and hang around there a little bit. Great folks. :mandosmiley:

Aug-14-2009, 7:03am
You might have the Florida dealer take a look at that before they send it across the pond.

Too late. :)
It is already at this moment on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic.

I just had a phone call from UPS.... and paid the VAT and duty in advance. It will be delivered Tuesday. (Actually had an interesting conversation with the UPS guy, who worked in the same office with my father, until he died, back in 1978).

Anyway... I am sure that the setup will be fine on the Octave. :)


Darren Bailey
Aug-14-2009, 3:04pm
That is abeautiful piece of wood Rod, any chance you could stick a video of you playing it up on youtube to get a sense of its sound. Deep envy on this side of our island.

Aug-14-2009, 4:23pm
Infinite moments within nine or ten minutes.

Aug-18-2009, 9:22am
Arrived this morning.....

A Weber Bridger A Octave Mandolin
Custom "Desert Dawn" finish by Brett Byers.


and against a Weber Bridger A mandolin for size comparison.




Aug-18-2009, 9:23am





Aug-18-2009, 9:24am


and completing my trio of Weber mandolins...


Aug-18-2009, 9:25am
Lovely! Congrtulations and enjoy it!


Aug-18-2009, 9:33am
Oh yes.... and I just noticed something substantially different from the standard Bridger A Octave.:disbelief:

The guys at Weber have been cheeky with me!

Can you see what it is?
(Forget the colour and the wood nymph)

This is the Bridger octave as pictured on the Weber web pages



Gerry Cassidy
Aug-18-2009, 9:50am
Congratulations Rod. She's a true beauty! The first octave mandolin I ever played was a Weber Bridger A. That was over 10 years ago and I have been sold on Weber ever since. I guess you could say I was spoiled at the very beginning. :))

Difference? Hmmm... extra fret marker? Satin headstock veneer? I know that's something they are doing standard on all their instruments these days. My Bighorn went back to Weber for some work and they refinished the headstock in satin for me. It looks great!

Aug-18-2009, 10:21am
Congratulations Rod. She's a true beauty! The first octave mandolin I ever played was a Weber Bridger A. That was over 10 years ago and I have been sold on Weber ever since. I guess you could say I was spoiled at the very beginning. :))

Yes... me too!!
But I had the benefit of reading what all you guys had to say before I opted for buying Weber instruments.

Difference? Hmmm... extra fret marker?

Kind of close....
But no... something that is major structurally different!


Jill McAuley
Aug-18-2009, 10:30am
Is the neck longer on your one? Looks like the 12th fret markers on yours aren't as near to where the neck joins the body as on the stock photo one you posted... maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me.

Rod, congratulations and enjoy - what a gorgeous instrument. I particularly liked the family shot - you are a very fortunate man indeed!


Gerry Cassidy
Aug-18-2009, 10:36am
Yes, I can see that the neck joins at a different fret, but I think the pictures on their website are the same for each model version, i.e. They use the Bridger A mandolin pic's for examples of the Bridger mandola, OM, Cello, etc.

You can see where the pic on the website matches up with your Bridger A mandolin.

Tony, or someone from Weber could confirm this.

Aug-18-2009, 10:36am
Is the neck longer on your one? Looks like the 12th fret markers on yours aren't as near to where the neck joins the body as on the stock photo one you posted... maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me.

Right! Well spotted.

Here's the direct comparison... from the Weber page on the left, and mine on the right.


15 frets to the body, longer fingerboard with more frets (25 frets - 2 octaves +1 !!), and the soundhole further south

Jill McAuley
Aug-18-2009, 10:48am
Who needs "Where's Waldo" when we've got "spot the difference" with octave mandolins instead!


Tony Polecastro
Aug-18-2009, 11:22am
Good eyes. Sorry for any confusion and I hope to clear it up. The picture on the website is of an octave with a shorter scale length (20") and Rod's octave is our standard 22" scale length. Kudos to all that have noticed it. We had to put a picture up on the site and unfortunately the only standard bridger A octave pic that we had laying around was a short scale.

Rod, congrats on receiving your octave, all the instruments look great together... "the mandolin family portrait"

Aug-18-2009, 12:58pm
I would like to publicly thank the folks at Weber (http://www.soundtoearth.com).... ALL OF THEM !!! for yet again coming up with a superb instrument. The attention to detail, workmanship and finish is second to none in my book. You are people who really care about making fine instruments, and it shows. Thank you!

Thanks also go to Jon Garon at My Favourite Guitars (http://www.myfavoriteguitars.com) for the excellent way that he has handled this, and the other mandolins, ukuleles and guitars for me. Nothing is too much trouble for Jon, and he ensures that I have been 100% satisfied and happy with everything, even though I am several thousand miles away in England.


Al Hagensen
Aug-18-2009, 2:06pm
What a BEAUTIFUL Instrument!Wishing you good health and MANY YEARS of enjoyment with it!!

Aug-18-2009, 3:10pm
Beautiful instrument, congratulations! What a handsome family of Webers you have!


Aug-18-2009, 3:55pm
Nice one Rod !!!! As far as Bills Roanoke intro, nice ain't it ? He was a showman and back then he was in his prime.

Aug-18-2009, 6:57pm

She is indeed a beaut !!!!! Your photos represent the best look at the "Desert Dawn" finish..........Sound Clips Please !!!!! :mandosmiley:

Aug-18-2009, 8:04pm

Sound Clips Please !!!!! :mandosmiley:

Give me chance to learn to play it. :)

Must admit though, my fingertip calluses are in shreds from playing it today.


Aug-18-2009, 10:14pm
Wow! The Folks in Logan are doing some outstanding work. What a beautiful instrument(s). Have fun!

Aug-19-2009, 7:55pm
I'm getting ready to do a custom order from them there Weber boys. So many choices !!!! Love that Desert Dawn, Scarlet Fire, and the Antique Vintage Burst. Pretty sure it will be a Yellowstone........

Aug-19-2009, 11:31pm
Congrats Rod. I have the twin to the amber/honey loaner you have. I LOVE it! You're going to be a very happy guy!

Aug-26-2009, 7:59pm
This is a nice shot.

Oct-06-2009, 10:39am

I decided to follow your lead and place an order for a custom Weber Yellowstone through Jon at MFG. Its a Honey-Tortoise Yellowstone, Red Spruce top, upgraded maple back and sides, gold hardware, black tuner buttons, 1"3/16 wide neck, and the Fern on the Headstock (just couldn't resist it). I've been in contact with Tony and Brett at the shop, and they've sent a few pics of the progress, which was very kind.


Oct-06-2009, 5:04pm
Great!!! Jon at My Favorite Guitars (http://www.myfavoriteguitars.com) is a really great guy! I just know that he will look after you every step of the way. I have now bought a total of 18 instruments from him! :whistling: OK, "only" three mandolins.;)

Yes... it is really neat to get status reports and the in progress photos from the guys at Weber. When is yours due??


Oct-06-2009, 6:00pm
Hello Rod;

Greetings from the state named after King Charles and the Town the named after Sir Walter ( I did pay attention at least two days of middle school history)....... Tony tells me that it will be done some time in early November, so technically it could not be considered a Christmas or Boxing Day present.......
Jon has such a great reputation in the Guitar world......that along with your positive experience, and his know out quote......I just decided to work with him and Sharon.