View Full Version : 5 course mandocello project

Michael Lewis
Jan-10-2010, 8:30pm
I have been working on a project that has my juices running with anticipation. It is a 5 course mandocello with a high e course. 25" scale, and based on a 17" archtop guitar architecture. There will be pretty massive tension so I put a strut between the neck and tail blocks, just below the top. The top is X braced and the neck has (2) 1/4" X 1/2" CF bars and an adjustable truss rod. It hasn't yet been sealed up so I may add some refinement to the CF aspect.

Great sitka spruce and big leaf maple are the main ingredients. I will add a few pics as it nears completion, which will not be long now.

Now, if I can figure out how to put up a pic . . . . . .

Jan-10-2010, 9:08pm
Hi Michael,

in a recent thread on the ANZLF Rick Turner described how he uses CF tape soaked in epoxy for bindings. This apparently adds considerable stiffness to the rim and another exotic visual element. Im not sure if I can post the link to another forum (Mods?). I havent tried it yet but the idea has great merit.

I look forward to seeing some pics.

Andrew DeMarco
Jan-10-2010, 9:13pm
wowwwzerssssssss -- flagging this thread for notification on updates >:)

Michael Lewis
Jan-11-2010, 12:31am
My apology for not putting anything up to see yet, the "small" changes in the new Cafe software plus some changes to my computer have temporarily rendered me incapable of uploading to a discussion. I'm sure there is an easy way but at the moment I haven't found it. I can e-mail pics but can't get them to a post.

More later

Jan-11-2010, 12:54am
Don't use the Quick Reply form. Click either the dark gray "Post Reply" button at the bottom of this thread, or the light gray "Go Advanced" button a little further done. Then click the paper clip icon to attach photos.

Michael Lewis
Jan-12-2010, 2:52am
Got the "paper clip" and all that, can't seem to find how to get them out of my computer, gotta find them. New camera with new program, new frustrations. It ain't wood and glue or metal work. Bear with me, I will find a way soon.:redface:

Jan-12-2010, 7:57am
Take a lesson! :grin:

Jan-13-2010, 2:46am
If you have a Windows computer and you plug your camera into it with a USB cable, it will assign a drive prefix to that camera (F: or G: or H: or J: or whatever). You have to figure out which drive is your camera, and then you can find your pictures.

I don't know if this is true for Macs or not.

Jan-13-2010, 9:39pm
haha...seems we are all drooling here waiting for the pic's...wait til he has trouble posting the soundclips....yikes!

Michael Lewis
Jan-14-2010, 12:06am
Here goes an attempt to put pics on this thread.

Michael Lewis
Jan-14-2010, 12:25am
Here we go again, incorrect file extension??? PSD?

Thank all you folks for the offers of help, it is appreciated. I must figure out how to make my own computer behave, or else!

Jan-14-2010, 2:44am
PSD is a PhotoShop Document. If you have PhotoShop, you'd need to open the files in PhotoShop and save them as JPGs.

I'll PM you an e-mail address where you can send some photos, and I'll figure out what's going on and post them to this thread.

Jan-15-2010, 1:15am
Michael sent some photos. Here's "fairing the recurve after binding."

Jan-15-2010, 1:17am
Here are some photos of neck parts.

Jan-15-2010, 1:33am
The body. First two photos show it in place for dovetail joint to be routed. Last photo is the routing template for the dovetail joint.

Ben Milne
Jan-15-2010, 1:39am
I don't know if this is true for Macs or not.

iPhoto will regognize the camera (when turned on) as a drive and automatically open to view. once uploaded to iPhoto, you can attach files to cafe posts directly from iPhotos library.

not to worry the project is looking great. sure Michael is super exited. Thanks Martin for relieving the pent up anticipation.

Michael Lewis
Jan-15-2010, 1:53am
Martin, thanks for the assist in this effort. I don't like to depend on others for anything I should be able to do myself, but you have relieved my stress level temporarily. Thanks.

Michael Lewis
Mar-13-2010, 1:03am
Update: it sings!!!:grin:

I will take another run at putting pics up, soon.

Mar-13-2010, 8:41am

I think I am among many who are waiting on the edge of their seats to see the final outcome. Pictures are great, but man would we like to hear it sing:mandosmiley:

Jake Wildwood
Mar-13-2010, 3:44pm
So cool!

Michael Lewis
Mar-14-2010, 2:34am
Well, Gravity, I don't have recording equipment but might know someone who does.

This instrument sounds every bit as good as i had hoped, and much better is some respects. It will be a while until Mr. Marshall comes to collect it, so there is a possibility I can get a recording of it, but it will sound much better in his hands. During the ensuing time I will have it professionally photographed, so the meager photographic attempts I have made are of much less importance to put up here. I will put a few up but really want to have the better pics from the professional guy.

Andrew DeMarco
Mar-14-2010, 8:37am
Very excited for more pics and hopefully sound clip!~o)

Michael Lewis
Mar-24-2010, 10:44pm
Another attempt

Close up of the tail piece.

Michael Lewis
Mar-24-2010, 10:50pm

Michael Lewis
Mar-25-2010, 4:15pm
OK folks, trying this again, with expert help!

Here is a pic of the tailpiece. This was designed so it can use either loop end or ball end strings, as you can see in the pic.

Also, Waverly guitar machines, trimmed so they use one screw between each plate to condense the spacing, otherwise the headstock would have been significantly longer.

More to come.

Michael Lewis
Mar-25-2010, 5:11pm
Headstock and nearly a full front pic.

Michael Lewis
Mar-25-2010, 5:18pm
This instrument sounds clear and resonant, almost edgy with new strings. The clarity really helps define the bottom notes, otherwise they can be muddy and lack volume. I am quite pleased with the result, and it's just new. Should sound even better after it gets exercised a good while.

Mar-26-2010, 10:42am

That is stunning. I am sure that it sounds amazing! I have been wanting an instrument like that for a while now. That is something I will put on the top of my list to get.

Michael Lewis
Mar-26-2010, 8:15pm
What color would you like?:)

After making this one I have thought of a few ideas for improvement, but they are minor. This one hit it out of the park! From this point I think the selection of materials may be a major factor in selecting the tonal characteristics. I had thought of redwood for the top bur this one is already "bright", and more brightness would only bump the bass (establish clarity to define low notes, not emphasize volume). This is what some carved top instruments are so great doing, they make the bottom clear without over emphasizing volume. This makes a very well balanced delivery of frequencies which should be much easier to mic and record. Gonna have a cup now~o)

John McGann
Mar-27-2010, 7:06pm
wow wow wow! Looks fantastic, how is the string tension? 25" is a stretch, but if the tension isn't too hard to the left hand, this could be quite a beast!

Mar-27-2010, 10:19pm
Very cool!

Michael Lewis
Mar-27-2010, 11:36pm
The string tension feels pretty normal, except for the bottom strings but that's just because they are so big. They fret easily enough.