Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

  1. #1

    Default Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Hello all,

    Since the fall of 2017, I've been working with Don Paine of Pomeroy Instruments on a novel build, playfully dubbed the "liuto americano". The concept is a sort of evolution of Don's "V-style" builds, which typically feature niceties including inlaid purfling, edge overhangs, and hide glue to hold it all together.

    My instrument takes a couple of steps closer to the world of violin making. Perhaps the most notable of these is the headstock scroll. The concept is an old one, and can be found on Lyon & Healy's among others. The difference is in the design and execution! Well, I think it looks good anyway...

    Another fairly unique addition is the floating tailpiece, which is an ebony/brass/ebony laminate. This construction is needed to withstand the pulling force of the 10 strings. I won't lie, we might have destroyed a couple of prototypes in the process of getting this right.

    Finally, she's got a JJB piezo, and room for a humbucking EM pup which will be built by another luthier. Bit of an eclectic mix of elements for sure...

    So, why the funny name? I felt "mandocello" didn't really describe its eccentricities at all, and rather conjured images of K-1's, K-4's and K-5's. My instrument shares perhaps more in common with the liuto cantabile (from the 5 courses to the headstock scroll) but then again that term generally suggests bowl back construction and a more "medieval" aesthetic and sound. I even toyed with calling it a cittern, but this also felt unsatisfying, since it's a bit of an umbrella term for multi-coursed instruments of various scale lengths and tunings.

    Then it sort of hit me: Don has a long history of making incredible instruments steeped in American mandolin-making heritage (right down to the locally sourced Colorado Engelmann). Yet, he's also fully willing to experiment and draw inspiration from other traditions of luthiery when it serves the project. What's more, while I myself am something of a mutt genetically and musically speaking, I consider myself all-American; a product of the great melting pot. To be "Made in America" is to be adaptable, eclectic, and boldly individualistic. Hence "liuto americano"!

    This thread on the history of the mandocello helped cement my choice of etymology: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...ocello-History

    All tangents aside, we're still about a month out from the finishing touches, as we'll begin the varnishing process in a matter of days. Nevertheless, I'm proud to share some pics of this oddball "in the white" with the 'cafe, which has been a wonderful source of education and inspiration along the way.

    Cheers!

    Edit: this isn't meant to be a self-promotion post, but if you want to take a look at some of the build process, I've got some photos up on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecelloronin/

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2018-06-15 (5).jpg 
Views:	74 
Size:	319.4 KB 
ID:	168768Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2018-06-15-6.jpg 
Views:	95 
Size:	36.2 KB 
ID:	168769Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0102.JPG 
Views:	80 
Size:	1.17 MB 
ID:	168770Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0112.JPG 
Views:	54 
Size:	1.23 MB 
ID:	168771Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0113.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	1.17 MB 
ID:	168772
    Last edited by thecelloronin; Jun-21-2018 at 4:15am.

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to thecelloronin For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    1,777
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    That is a nice one, can't wait to see her all done!

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Halifax, Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    What a beauty! I hope you don't go spoiling it with a dark sunburst finish - let the woods speak (a la Lyon & Healy). I do like the violin construction-style touches, and the obvious homage to the Lyon & Healy mando designs.

    When you say you are working with Don do you mean you are sharing some of the making or do you mean you have commissioned/ helped to design it and he is the maker? If the former you should say which parts you are making. Then I will be really impressed!

    Kevin
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,308

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Beautiful build! While Don does a beautiful natural finish, color that baby however it floats your boat!! Agree, please post some pics of the finished instrument!
    Chuck

  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,113

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    You can call it whatever you like. I do like the name liuto americano. A few questions:

    What is the scale length? What is the width at the nut? Is the fretboard radiused? What kind of bracing is inside? What made you choose f-holes vs. round hole? The neck looks like a shorter one with the bridge located further back on the body. Was that a choice? What are the gauge of strings you are using?
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

  7. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  8. #6
    Registered User NotMelloCello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Doodah, Doodah
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Looks gorgeous to me. Please post a video of it when you're done.
    The difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

  9. #7
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cornwall & London
    Posts
    2,549
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Looking good, great to see the various approaches combined in one instrument.
    Good luck with the finishing & I hope it sounds as nice as it looks once done.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  10. #8

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    That is a nice one, can't wait to see her all done!
    You and me both!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglocelt View Post
    What a beauty! I hope you don't go spoiling it with a dark sunburst finish - let the woods speak (a la Lyon & Healy). I do like the violin construction-style touches, and the obvious homage to the Lyon & Healy mando designs.

    When you say you are working with Don do you mean you are sharing some of the making or do you mean you have commissioned/ helped to design it and he is the maker? If the former you should say which parts you are making. Then I will be really impressed!

    Kevin
    Oh man, I should have made this clearer in the OP: Don deserves 110% of the credit for the outstanding workmanship. The only credit I'll take is for the design of the scroll and tailpiece (including the brass laminate). When I say we worked together, I mean we've maintained lengthy discussions over the course of the past few months to dial everything in. It's a collaboration of vision, rather than construction, so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Beautiful build! While Don does a beautiful natural finish, color that baby however it floats your boat!! Agree, please post some pics of the finished instrument!
    I've definitely deliberated on the finish quite a bit, in no small part because Don does such a beautiful natural nitro... I'll definitely be posting pictures as the varnish goes on in the coming weeks :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    You can call it whatever you like. I do like the name liuto americano. A few questions:

    What is the scale length? What is the width at the nut? Is the fretboard radiused? What kind of bracing is inside? What made you choose f-holes vs. round hole? The neck looks like a shorter one with the bridge located further back on the body. Was that a choice? What are the gauge of strings you are using?
    • Scale length: 25"
    • Nut width: 1-5/8"
    • Compound radius: 12"-14"
    • Bracing: Tone bars
    • Strings: Think we're just doing the regular D'Addario EJ 78's, with plain steel .011 or 12 for the E course.
    • F vs Oval: I've owned exclusively oval holed m'celli before, and while they had beautiful, round sounds, in practice it was a bit brittle. I wanted a bit more fundamental and "immediacy" to my notes, so I went F. Additionally, I was somewhat concerned about how well oval hole/x bracing would maintain the balance up and down the neck, considering the extended range offered by the E course. Funny enough, Don suggested that we try smaller F-holes to give a little more body to the bass frequencies. We ended up using the template for his octave mandolins here!
    • Neck/bridge: There are two factors as play here. First, yes there was a conscious decision to have the neck join at the 16th fret to allow greater access to the upper positions. I'll be using this to go through the cello suites, so this will come in especially handy on the 6th suite in D. The decision to stop at 20 frets was somewhat arbitrary, though there was the unintended benefit of having the 20th fret on the E course land on a C, giving me a clean 4 octaves from the very bottom. Additionally, there will be an electromagnetic pickup installed directly under the fretboard, so we left a little room to play with visually speaking. The other factor I mentioned is that F-hole instruments often have fingerboard extensions, which we had to do away with to accommodate the pickup. Check out the pickup design here: http://jaenpickups.com/wordpress/p-series/

    Quote Originally Posted by NotMelloCello View Post
    Looks gorgeous to me. Please post a video of it when you're done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Looking good, great to see the various approaches combined in one instrument.
    Good luck with the finishing & I hope it sounds as nice as it looks once done.
    Thank you sirs! I plan to post many videos as I work through the cello suites. Don already sent me a rough sound clip. The sonic results are striking, even untamed in the white as it is. I'm especially fond of the E string, which has a definite sparkle, for lack of a better word.

    I'm attaching that recording, for SCIENCE! https://www.dropbox.com/s/lvrecj7hrr...cello.MP3?dl=0
    Last edited by thecelloronin; Jun-21-2018 at 11:53am.

  11. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to thecelloronin For This Useful Post:


  12. #9

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    As I already told you, pictures and sound clip of your "Liuto" make me question if I made the right choices when I got my instrument Anyway, I'm sure you'll make some great music on it, looking forward

  13. #10

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Update time!

    We've got the aniline dye applied. Don used a combination of spraying and hand-applied techniques, which I think turned out beautifully.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0147.JPG 
Views:	39 
Size:	99.5 KB 
ID:	168961Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0149.JPG 
Views:	36 
Size:	109.4 KB 
ID:	168962Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0151.JPG 
Views:	37 
Size:	116.8 KB 
ID:	168963Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0150.JPG 
Views:	37 
Size:	122.3 KB 
ID:	168964Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0146.JPG 
Views:	39 
Size:	94.3 KB 
ID:	168965Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0152.JPG 
Views:	28 
Size:	103.4 KB 
ID:	168966

    In his email today, Don mentioned how colorizing spruce is always something of a journey, full of surprises. As the the top takes the dye, certain aspects of the wood can become revealed. In this case, Don was able to ascertain that the spruce had a slight twist to it, and was extremely slow growing. In fact, he went so far as to call this the tightest-grained spruce he'd ever worked with!

    The aesthetics heavily favor the violinmaking tradition, with somewhat mottled, "organic" distribution of the dye rather than the smooth, homogenous result you get from spraying alone. I'm crazy about it so far. Can't wait to see what the Tru-Oil does on top of the dye in the coming weeks!


    Quote Originally Posted by Roman Pekar View Post
    As I already told you, pictures and sound clip of your "Liuto" make me question if I made the right choices when I got my instrument Anyway, I'm sure you'll make some great music on it, looking forward
    Bro, that Gibby lute of yours is a beautiful instrument. Such a nice character to the sound, easy to play, and a rare specimen it seems indeed. I'd never seen one before yours, and haven't since...

  14. The following members say thank you to thecelloronin for this post:


  15. #11
    Registered User NotMelloCello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Doodah, Doodah
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Gorgeous!
    The difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

  16. The following members say thank you to NotMelloCello for this post:


  17. #12

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    More varnish photos!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0160.JPG 
Views:	15 
Size:	231.9 KB 
ID:	169209Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0161.JPG 
Views:	17 
Size:	233.6 KB 
ID:	169210

    The first two show the same dye job, but in natural light. At first, I was a bit concerned about the red-brown balance between the spruce top and the maple, but these photos put those worries to rest.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3445.JPG 
Views:	16 
Size:	323.4 KB 
ID:	169215Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3444.JPG 
Views:	16 
Size:	310.2 KB 
ID:	169216

    I asked Don to burnish the edges further (though keeping within the bounds of what he'd consider good taste) in order to offer a bit more contrast. I've seen violins and cellos with this type of aesthetic, and I always liked it. Since we don't have the ivoroid binding found on most high-end instruments, I figured a nice pale outline would look good. These photos offer a close-up of this aesthetic.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3443.JPG 
Views:	14 
Size:	295.9 KB 
ID:	169214Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3442.JPG 
Views:	18 
Size:	281.8 KB 
ID:	169213

    You can also see the raised reed of the spruce caused by dampening the wood and then scraping it down, rather than sanding. Again, this is a touch borrowed from the violin world that needed to be done within good taste. Don and I are both quite happy with how it turned out. The extremely tight-grained spruce wouldn't really allow for a more vulgar protrusion of the grain anyway.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3439.JPG 
Views:	20 
Size:	200.6 KB 
ID:	169211Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3440.JPG 
Views:	18 
Size:	159.1 KB 
ID:	169212

    Finally, we come to the headstock, which also has that burnished edge look to it. I think it will look stunning with the black and brass Rubner tuners.

    Looks like we're just shy of two weeks til the completion. Cedar Creek, the company making the case, has for unknown reasons affected a tremendous delay on delivery without following it up with any form of customer service. In other words, they're not returning Don's calls. We'll have to see how that pans out...

  18. The following members say thank you to thecelloronin for this post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Varnishing is finished!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3500.JPG 
Views:	13 
Size:	415.0 KB 
ID:	169648Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3499.JPG 
Views:	14 
Size:	355.9 KB 
ID:	169649Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3501.JPG 
Views:	19 
Size:	383.3 KB 
ID:	169650Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3502.JPG 
Views:	14 
Size:	394.6 KB 
ID:	169651Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3503.JPG 
Views:	14 
Size:	392.2 KB 
ID:	169652Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN3504.JPG 
Views:	14 
Size:	331.9 KB 
ID:	169653

  20. The following members say thank you to thecelloronin for this post:


  21. #14
    Registered User Mike Rodbell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Charlottesville, Va
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Beautiful instrument! Look forward to hearing it once complete!

  22. #15

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    She's done! Check out the full album here:

    https://imgur.com/a/fBHN99f



    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	001.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	175.5 KB 
ID:	170131Click image for larger version. 

Name:	002.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	173.2 KB 
ID:	170132Click image for larger version. 

Name:	003.jpg 
Views:	23 
Size:	222.0 KB 
ID:	170133Click image for larger version. 

Name:	004.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	222.6 KB 
ID:	170134Click image for larger version. 

Name:	005.jpg 
Views:	20 
Size:	178.1 KB 
ID:	170135Click image for larger version. 

Name:	006.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	157.1 KB 
ID:	170136Click image for larger version. 

Name:	007.jpg 
Views:	20 
Size:	151.8 KB 
ID:	170137Click image for larger version. 

Name:	008.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	168.6 KB 
ID:	170138Click image for larger version. 

Name:	009.jpg 
Views:	17 
Size:	106.4 KB 
ID:	170139Click image for larger version. 

Name:	010.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	159.4 KB 
ID:	170140

  23. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to thecelloronin For This Useful Post:


  24. #16
    Registered User NotMelloCello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Doodah, Doodah
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Exquisite. Now post a recording....
    The difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

  25. #17
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,531

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Quote Originally Posted by thecelloronin View Post

    My instrument takes a couple of steps closer to the world of violin making. Perhaps the most notable of these is the headstock scroll. The concept is an old one, and can be found on Lyon & Healy's among others. The difference is in the design and execution! Well, I think it looks good anyway...

    ......My instrument shares perhaps more in common with the liuto cantabile (from the 5 courses to the headstock scroll) but then again that term generally suggests bowl back construction and a more "medieval" aesthetic and sound.
    .....
    a product of the great melting pot. To be "Made in America" is to be adaptable, eclectic, and boldly individualistic. Hence "liuto americano"!
    That is a great idea! I'd love to play this instrument, although that most likely won't happen unless you bring it to the CMSA convention in Santa Rosa in Nov.

    Nice work.

  26. #18

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Quote Originally Posted by NotMelloCello View Post
    Exquisite. Now post a recording....
    I've cut a deal with the FedEx guy, he'll come by my house tomorrow and I'll kindly relieve him of the massive box he's been hauling from Colorado the past three days. After that though, you bet!


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    That is a great idea! I'd love to play this instrument, although that most likely won't happen unless you bring it to the CMSA convention in Santa Rosa in Nov.

    Nice work.
    Thank you sir. Probably won't make it out this November, unfortunately. But hey, there are presumably going to be CMSA conventions in the future, right?

  27. The following members say thank you to thecelloronin for this post:


  28. #19

    Default Re: Pomeroy Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"

    Well, the instrument has been in my hands for a few days, and it is truly marvelous. I am currently practicing and getting my chops to a less rusty degree, but then I will make a recording to share here. Thanks for staying tuned!

  29. The following members say thank you to thecelloronin for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •