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Thread: 10-string mandolin

  1. #1

    Default 10-string mandolin

    I just finished this 10-string mandolin for an exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria, BC, Canada. The idea was a group of artists of varying backgrounds all make objects using wood from the same tree. This is my contribution.
    It was perhaps the oldest Black Walnut tree in Victoria and it needed to come down. When I first picked up my chunk of wood it didn't look very promising but I was able to find some good stuff in there. I got Nicolo Alessi to make the tuners and had a custom pickup made by Kent Armstrong. I used my standard Northern Flyer tailpiece that Bill James makes for me. It seemed to fit the design perfectly.
    It has a 14.25" scale and I used a .052" pair for the low C course.
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  3. #2

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Stunning work. I'm curious as to why you elected to go for a five-course instrument?

  4. #3
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    Stunning work. I'm curious as to why you elected to go for a five-course instrument?
    Because he could

    No seriously though....that's one nice instrument, and a really cool idea for different artists to build from the same tree! Just curious... is the bridge walnut as well?

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Beautiful work, and yay for another 10-string in the world.

    Why 10 strings? Because 8 is not enough.
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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Brilliant work, Wyatt. I'd sure like to hear this one.
    Neat concept too. You sure found some nice wood in that tree.
    Ten strings? Do the math.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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  10. #6

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Yes the bridge is also walnut. Back, sides, neck and binding.

  11. #7
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Beautiful! I love that custom Armstrong.

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    gary nava; luthier GarY Nava's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Simply beautiful work!
    Cheers Gary

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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    That instrument is beautiful. The headstock is so elegant.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    What a stunning instrument and original design. It all goes together so well, from the design to the wood choices to the whole construction. I am interested in it as I too am in the process of attempting a 5-course instrument with a 380mm scale (14.96 inches). i saw and heard the Sobell that Dagger Gordon (a fellow Scot and regular poster here on the Cafe) playes and I contacted him re scale length and string choices. Dagger told me his is about 14.5 inches and he tunes the bottom course to D using low E guitar strings and D'Addario J74s for the other courses. I am using a cedar top (flat with arch induced by the bracing) and maple back and sides. Will get some pictures posted when it is completed but I can say now it does not get near the looks of your instrument!
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  19. #11

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Thanks Andrew. I love Kent's pickups. I especially love how he is willing to do custom stuff. This is the second 10-string pu he has made for me and it is the way to go on an instrument like this I think. It sounds so natural and balanced.

  20. #12

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Thank you John! It was fun to make and challenging. That's what I like about a project like this, I can do what I want and don't have anyone to answer to! This is only the second 10-string I have made but the scale length and string gauges seem right to me. It is very easy to play, intonation is right on and it just sounds great. Would love it if Dagger could try it out but I'm hoping John Reischman will have the opportunity to play as he has shown some interest in it. Would LOVE to get his feedback. So now it sits as part of an exhibit in a museum in Victoria for a few months and I'm already itching to get it back. Looking forward to seeing yours!

  21. #13
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    I would suggest that a fanned fret design works very well on a 10-stringed instrument. And the fanned frets are very easy to adapt to. They were on mine and I'm a beginner player.
    This gives you a bit of leeway on the string diameters.
    It does make the bridge a bit of a challenge, though.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

  22. #14

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    I would suggest that a fanned fret design works very well on a 10-stringed instrument. And the fanned frets are very easy to adapt to. They were on mine and I'm a beginner player.
    This gives you a bit of leeway on the string diameters.
    It does make the bridge a bit of a challenge, though.
    Bill
    I had an order for one last year but my customer changed his mind. I did manage to get the fretboard slotted so if I ever get the opportunity again I'll be ready. It was a 16"/14" scale. I imagine it would be a fun project.

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    Registered User StevenS's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Really lovely and tasteful.

    Steve
    Steve Sorensen
    Sorensen Mandolin & Guitar Co.
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  26. #16
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by wwwilkie View Post
    Would love it if Dagger could try it out but I'm hoping John Reischman will have the opportunity to play as he has shown some interest in it. Would LOVE to get his feedback.
    Well so would I! Where there's a will there's a way, I guess....
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by wwwilkie View Post
    Thanks Andrew. I love Kent's pickups. I especially love how he is willing to do custom stuff. This is the second 10-string pu he has made for me and it is the way to go on an instrument like this I think. It sounds so natural and balanced.
    It's a magnetic pickup, is it?
    David A. Gordon

  28. #18

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Well so would I! Where there's a will there's a way, I guess....
    I am building another one right now so who knows? I'll try to make it happen. Yes it's a magnetic pickup made by Kent Armstrong. Sounds great!

  29. #19
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by wwwilkie View Post
    I am building another one right now so who knows? I'll try to make it happen. Yes it's a magnetic pickup made by Kent Armstrong. Sounds great!
    I have a soundhole magnetic pickup in my Sobell put in by Mike Vanden in the early nineties.I haven't seen many mandolin magnetic pickups. I run it through a Boss GE-7 graphic equaliser which gives me more control over the sound and boosts the signal.
    David A. Gordon

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  31. #20

    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Very nice! Excellent eye-candy - all the pieces work so well together.

    Kent's custom stuff is superb. He loves a challenge and is very easy to work with.
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    I have a soundhole magnetic pickup in my Sobell put in by Mike Vanden in the early nineties.I haven't seen many mandolin magnetic pickups. I run it through a Boss GE-7 graphic equaliser which gives me more control over the sound and boosts the signal.
    I have been using one for a few years, and switched from EQ with the Boss pedal to the Baggs Para DI, to get a more "acoustic" tone (has plenty of gain, too). However, I am enjoying an undersaddle pickup from Headway quite a lot on my recent Buchanan.
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