View Full Version : Newell Elk Mandolin... Pictures

Jul-22-2009, 9:27am
Well its a little after 7am and I pick up my new custom "A" mandolin at 5pm. I had my mandolin built by Keith Newell of Canby Oregon. I found a way to control MAS. I seem to make my mandolins so custom that they become complete keepers. My F style bitterroot has over 50 bluegrass greats singnatures on the back....that coupled with great sound makes it a keeper.
My new "A" model is also customized to represent my huge "6x6" bull elk I shot with my bow and arrow. The entire mandolin tells a story of the hunt, from the color of the mandolin to the blood trail on the fretboard. I was very impressed with Keith's artistic abilities. He was able to take my concept and actually put in on paper then "create it" out of natural materials. I told him what I wanted on the tailpiece and headstock.........he didn't even flinch. I told him how I wanted the fretboard...again no flinching and I think he kinda enjoyed doing a little something different. I will post pictures tonight after I pick it up. Oh yea, Keith said this mandolin "has it" in the sound department too, which isn't always the case.:mandosmiley::grin:

Jul-22-2009, 10:31am
Cool. Can't wait to see the pics:)

Jul-22-2009, 11:00pm
Well I picked up my mandolin today and it was better than I imagined it could be. When you come up with a a concept your not sure if someone can get on the same page as you and see it through. Well Keith Newell took the concept and ran with it.

The main theme of this "A" style was all related to Elk bowhunting. I wanted the mandolin to tell a story, the story of my 6x6 elk taken with a bow. It was the first elk I ever shot with a bow and it was a monster. I located a herd of elk, tracked them, shot the bull, followed the blood trail, harvested the animal.

I knew that I wanted the mandolin to be similar to a blackface but I didn't want it to be actually black. I wanted the mandolin to be smoke colored(Darkest on the face, little lighter on the side, and a tad lighter smoke on the back. The smoke color represents the elk campfire or the fog covered mountains in the morning before you head into the timber. I will attach a picture of the color before the finish was added because it really shows the smoke color. What I love about the color of this mandolin with the finish is that it absorbs colors and takes on the characteristics of being camouflage at times(especially in the pictures we took outside) Outside the mandolins was looking brown and times, smoke at other times, and green too.

The headstock shape is an original Newell design which was perfect to display the rack of the elk. The headstock elk has mother of pearl antlers and wood inlay for the body of the elk. The wood and mother of pearl look great together.

The fretboard is radius and has staggered elk tracks walking down the fretboard as fret markers in white mother of pearl. As the elk walks down the fretboard it meets up with me and my bow and arrow. The 12th fret marker is represented with an arrow head in white mother of pearl. At the 15th fretmarker is the start of a blood trail that drips all the way up and off the fretboard at the 19th fret all in pink mother of pearl.

The custom tailpiece was done by laser by Keith. I found a picture of a screaming bull elk and Keith turned it into my tailpiece. He took the tailpiece and I think he colored it with fire.

Every bull elk has two real ivory teeth amongst their other enamel teeth. Many people make the teeth into some type of jewelry but I had them embedded into the back of the headstock(Just a little something to remind me of the wonderful hunt..little extra mojo).

The mandolin is a great sounding mandolin and I can't wait to have several hours on it to hear it come alive even more. Keith thanks again for such a quality instrument and for making it a fun experience.

man dough nollij
Jul-22-2009, 11:05pm
Holy Cow! (...or bull, as the case may be.) As I was reading the description, I was honestly thinking this was going to be really tacky. Nothing tacky about that! It's amazing. Both the headstock inlay and the tailpiece are works of art. Congrats! :mandosmiley:

Jul-22-2009, 11:08pm
More pics

Jul-23-2009, 1:25am
Saying it's one of a kind doesn't do it justice. It's the only one of its kind - completely unique! Hope it sounds as good as it looks. And you are quite right about the finish. It really seems to change colors with its surroundings. I hope you like telling its story, because you are going to be asked about it again and again!

Black Elk Speaks ...

Skip Kelley
Jul-23-2009, 6:34am
That is a really cool mandolin;congratulations! I like all the unique touches. Especially the tailpiece!! Nice!!

Jul-23-2009, 8:26am
way to go root
that is real nice
i like the head stock a lot

Jul-23-2009, 8:43am
I do enjoy telling the story, the mandolin is an opportunity to tell it again and again:))

The sound is that bluegrass sound I wanted. Its loud, very even, and incredible tone. Its only like a couple days old so I'm sure its gonna get better:mandosmiley: as it opens up. The mandolin also has a very good feel to it in your hands. Now that I have a shiny mandolin I guess I'll have to get use to wiping it down all the time, my bitterroot was more forgiving.

Jul-23-2009, 8:54pm
More pics!

Jul-24-2009, 5:10pm
What a cool mando! Very artistic, great story and nice looking wood. I admire owners and luthiers who step outside the box. Are you going to post sound clips?

Jul-24-2009, 5:19pm
I like that. I like that alot! You don't keep it hanging above the elk rack, do you?

Jonathan Reinhardt
Jul-24-2009, 5:29pm
truly beautiful.

Jake Wildwood
Jul-24-2009, 6:15pm
The coolest part are the tracks up the fretboard. I may have to borrow that idea at some point. :cool:

Jul-24-2009, 6:38pm
I will be putting some sound clips up soon. And no it doesn't reside above the rack mount in my house. I was actually scared to balance it there just to get the picture. :)

Adam McKillip
Jul-24-2009, 9:04pm
Fantastic looking mandolin! Cant wait for the sound clips! The tail piece is truly exquisite. A applaud your creativity sir!


Tim Saxton
Jul-25-2009, 2:50pm

Very cool. Great Job Keith.

Susie A
Jul-25-2009, 5:14pm
Nice! You did good. Now ... show us the sounds!

Jul-28-2009, 4:21pm
I'm a few days into playing this mandolin..........beautiful!!:mandosmiley:

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-29-2009, 7:42am
That's a seriously nice looking instrument. I love the 'transverse' back grain,so different from the usual grain running from top to bottom & the colour is wonderful,

Doug Edwards
Jul-29-2009, 8:06am
I like the head stock a lot.

Aug-22-2009, 9:26pm
Well the mandolin has opened up.............WOW! I think everyone of you would like to have a little time playing this mandolin.

Aug-23-2009, 8:15am
Outstanding! I am drawing a theme mando based on an 8 point buck that I intend to do a euro. mount in the peghead small braodheads for dots and an old indian styl broadhead for truss cover. Had not thought of deer prints.Also I am on board for the tailpiece .congrats.