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words
Jan-17-2010, 8:42pm
Hi Folks!

I just got this beautiful, eccentric mandolin as a gift from my wife. It was made by Elmo MacDonald, a brilliant New Brunswick Luthier. It's modeled after the Gibson F5, but with an innovative twist.

I really can't say enough about how comfortable this is to play, and how amazing it sounds. The tailpiece doubles as an arm-rest just below the bridge, which is perfect. That's where I naturally tend to wrest my wrist, and is it ever comfortable. The neck has a slight radius to it. The bridge is sculpted of a single piece of mahogany, I think, same as the fingerboard. the tailpiece might be rosewood, but I think it's all local wood. I'll have to talk to Elmo.

To me, it looks more oblong than a conventional F style. Also, the scroll doesn't curl in as far. I actually prefer this scroll because I can fit a polishing cloth in there.

I'm so happy!

Jim Kirkland
Jan-17-2010, 9:00pm
Nice, the rest looks functional.

JEStanek
Jan-17-2010, 9:10pm
Very interesting shape. That hand/wrist rest is pretty cool too. Congratulations!

Jamie

words
Jan-17-2010, 11:12pm
He's such a great luthier. Always seems to be experimenting with new woods/designs... I'm so happy that I have one. I never thought I would. I want to show everyone

LateBloomer
Jan-18-2010, 6:36am
This is the first Elmo I have seen, thanks for posting!:mandosmiley:

billhay4
Jan-18-2010, 12:29pm
Cool!
Bill

Chuck Naill
Jan-18-2010, 7:17pm
Excellent looking mandolin. I like the innovative arm rest also. :)

Chris Biorkman
Jan-18-2010, 7:46pm
That tickles my fancy. Get it, get it? Tickles. ;)

Jake Wildwood
Jan-19-2010, 12:36pm
The whole thing looks like it should be a 1930s air racer. Sweet.

words
Jan-19-2010, 4:26pm
The whole thing looks like it should be a 1930s air racer. Sweet.

:D thanx! I'm surprised there aren't more Elmo mandos posted on here. That's one of the reasons I posted, actually was to have some kind of internet record of what his work looks like.

Here's a pic of me after I saw it.

words
Jan-19-2010, 4:27pm
Very interesting shape. That hand/wrist rest is pretty cool too. Congratulations!

Jamie

Yo Jamie, that bowlback looks an awful lot like mine. IT's kind of hard to tell from the pic, but does it have a little star on the headstock?

Fstpicker
Jan-19-2010, 7:37pm
Wow! That is beautiful! Love the choice of colors and how they match each other. How does it sound?

My friend has commissioned Elmo to build him a more traditional "F" style mandolin, and he is to start on it this Spring sometime. I believe I remember him saying that Elmo was building your mandolin or had just finished it. This was at least 2 months ago I believe. And his prices are very reasonable.

The first (and only) time I ever heard an Elmo was at Cassia, Florida, and it blew me away with its volume and rich tone!!

Thanks for sharing that with us. I too am surprised that there aren't more Elmo mandolins out there.

Jeff

JEStanek
Jan-19-2010, 7:49pm
Words, Here's a thread on my bowlback The Globe with plenty of photos (no star on the headstock - bu that scratch plate design and headstock shape were common for US made bowls). It's a wall hanger/prop more than a player. I do, have a an old American Conservatory bowlback that I have and like to play in addition though.

Jamie

PS, great face on opening your mandolin up!

words
Jan-19-2010, 11:27pm
Wow! That is beautiful! Love the choice of colors and how they match each other. How does it sound?

My friend has commissioned Elmo to build him a more traditional "F" style mandolin, and he is to start on it this Spring sometime.
Jeff

It boggles my mind that people in Florida are playing instruments from New Brunswick.

It sounds amazing. Great tone. Energizer-bunny-like sustain. I was surprised at the sustain. Mind you, I learned to play on an old bowlback. The volume is such that it makes me slightly concerned for my high frequency hearing. I'll post a decent recording as soon as my schedule clears up a little bit.

They're worth so much more than he charges. That seems to be the consensus.

words
Jan-19-2010, 11:29pm
Words, Here's a thread on my bowlback The Globe with plenty of photos (no star on the headstock - bu that scratch plate design and headstock shape were common for US made bowls).

Thanks, Jamie. I guess it's origins will always remain a mystery.

JEStanek
Jan-20-2010, 7:51am
Actually, the mystery may be solved. There's a handful of very knowledgeable folks here. If you post a photo of the whole front/back, headstock front and back and any other markings that may be on it we can likely give you a general origin for your bowl.

Jamie

Jim Garber
Jan-20-2010, 8:35am
They're worth so much more than he charges. That seems to be the consensus.

Ssshhhhhh!!!

It looks sort of Rigel-oid, tho with a smaller scroll, more elongated body and larger f-holes. Does he use similar construction techniques?

I can't find his listing in the builders DB.

Here's a Rigel for comparison. Frankly, I find the design a little on the clunky side -- I would also find the tailpiece/armrest in my way -- but if it sounds and plays great, all the better. Congratulations.

words
Jan-20-2010, 4:49pm
Ssshhhhhh!!!

It looks sort of Rigel-oid, tho with a smaller scroll, more elongated body and larger f-holes. Does he use similar construction techniques?

I can't find his listing in the builders DB.

Here's a Rigel for comparison. Frankly, I find the design a little on the clunky side -- I would also find the tailpiece/armrest in my way -- but if it sounds and plays great, all the better. Congratulations.

Yeah, he's never been in the DB.

Hehe, well - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like weird, but tasteful. I didn't even pick it out. But I would have. In a heartbeat. I could see the armrest getting in the way if I planted and plucked close to the bridge. My wrist only ever just touches it though, it feels good. Although anything's better than the 8 strings in the forearm that I got from my bowlback.

I think he's a pretty eclectic builder. The first one of his I saw had a birdseye maple TOP, and a fiddle scroll for the headstock. Weird lookin', but I'd've bought it if I had had the money. Except I know that birdseye can get "bug-eyed" if not aged to perfection. On mine, nothing touches the top, except the bridge. The pickguard is screwed to the side of the fingerboard. Neither make contact.

The tailpiece screws into a base, and there's an endpin through it that you can remove. At the neck, on the inside, there's a little hex bolt like the one at the base of the tailpiece that you can use to adjust the action by inserting a long Alan key through the endpin hole. It's pretty cool.

words
Jan-20-2010, 4:50pm
Actually, the mystery may be solved. There's a handful of very knowledgeable folks here. If you post a photo of the whole front/back, headstock front and back and any other markings that may be on it we can likely give you a general origin for your bowl.

Jamie
Yeah, Jim was actually going to have a go at that, now that you mention it. He said it looked reminiscent of a Lyon & Healy. You can see it here:

http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=52399&highlight=bowlback

JEStanek
Jan-20-2010, 5:04pm
Jim was my Usual Suspect for getting the answers to those old bowlback origins. He's a treasure of information and old catalogues.

Jamie

Jim Garber
Jan-20-2010, 8:36pm
I found some info on Mr., MacDonald. Perhaps Scott wants to put him in the DB:

ELMO MacDONALD
(506)368-2218
Fredericton Junction, N.B.

Fstpicker
Jan-21-2010, 2:44am
It boggles my mind that people in Florida are playing instruments from New Brunswick.....

Here's the story behind my discovery of Elmo mandolins:
Elmo Mandolins played way down in Florida... (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38451&highlight=elmo)

Jeff

words
Jan-21-2010, 6:11pm
Here's the story behind my discovery of Elmo mandolins:
Elmo Mandolins played way down in Florida... (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38451&highlight=elmo)

Jeff

Aha. I thought I recognized the user name. You know what? I might actually have met that guy in Florida... was he a really cordial, boisterous fella with a moustache? Almost like a biker? I can't remember what his name is. Bruce something, I think.

Fstpicker
Jan-25-2010, 1:04am
Yes, that's him. Bruce was his first name. His last name escapes me right now. Met him once and never forgot about his mandolin and how awesome it sounded.

Jeff

words
Jan-25-2010, 3:22pm
holy small world.


Yes, that's him. Bruce was his first name. His last name escapes me right now. Met him once and never forgot about his mandolin and how awesome it sounded.

Jeff

words
Jan-26-2010, 9:15pm
-- I would also find the tailpiece/armrest in my way.

okay okay... for the record, when I chop, my wrist hits it above the E string... It would probably work wayy better if it were tapered toward the treble side. But still... it's only a teeeeny bit in the way. I'll adapt. I'm still tickled

peggyjeanp
Sep-14-2010, 12:21pm
Just this morning... I am now the proud owner of Bruce and Dar's Second Elmo Mandolin ( the one bruce purchased for his wife Dar)
She (the mandolin) is now in her new home with an owner that couldn't be MORE PROUD!!!... friends/family may gaze upon her beauty but no one is touching her :-D lol lol

testore
Sep-15-2010, 10:12am
It's just different and weird enough to fall in love with. I usually don't like stuff like this but this is clearly well made and fits well into F model evolution. Two thumbs up!

mandroid
Sep-16-2010, 2:16pm
Would appear theres a side sound port also... acoustic monitor ,

a good thing to add to a forward projecting F hole design.

words
Sep-28-2010, 2:54pm
Just this morning... I am now the proud owner of Bruce and Dar's Second Elmo Mandolin ( the one bruce purchased for his wife Dar)
She (the mandolin) is now in her new home with an owner that couldn't be MORE PROUD!!!... friends/family may gaze upon her beauty but no one is touching her :-D lol lol
Did you post a picture Peggy?! I actually live quite close to him, so I'm thinking about visiting his shop. :D He's got a photo album of everything he built. I remember when Bruce came in to Renaissance Music talking about that second mandolin. He offered to buy one for me and bring it to me, and I could pay him back. My wife would have freaked. But in the end it was she who bought me one.

words
Sep-28-2010, 2:55pm
That's actually a little fish emblem that he puts on all his instruments. It doesn't really need a port, since its so effing loud. If I get a chance (probably never), I may post some MP3s.


Would appear theres a side sound port also... acoustic monitor ,

a good thing to add to a forward projecting F hole design.

Rob Giuffrida
Sep-28-2010, 6:46pm
All I have to say: Holy Gorgeous, Batman! ...And you are very lucky.

Mandolin Mick
Sep-28-2010, 7:23pm
Lovely mandolin ... but I admit that when I saw the title of this thread I pictured this ... ;)

P Josey
Sep-30-2010, 6:08pm
Here's a couple photos of Elmo and Rolfe I've posted on another thread. This was at the 2nd annual S.A.I.L. (Society of Atlantic Independent Luthiers) meeting in New Brunswick last May. These two represent about 80 years of mandolin building experience.

mandolinken
Oct-01-2010, 7:04am
Beautiful mandolin....