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Thread: Praise for Steve Smith

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Praise for Steve Smith

    Hello all. A few weeks ago I sent my 1993 Gibson A5L to Steve Smith at Cumberland Acoustics to get some work done, and I just wanted to share my experience.

    I had Steve do the following:
    1) Install and fit a new Cumberland Acoustics bridge
    2) Create and install a new full-sized pickguard (the original was pretty warped)
    3) Full set up
    4) Address the area around the truss rod screws where the lacquer was coming up
    5) Dress and level the frets

    I just got it back this Monday. Since I have the Loar shaped headblock on my A5L, he had to custom make the pickguard for a more slender point. It looks great and fits nice and solid. He was able to use the original hardware. You can see in the photos that the celluloid binding is just a little bit lighter on the pickguard than the mandolin, but I anticipate that it will age to match in time. It's very difficult to distinguish a difference in normal illumination.





    I couldn't be happier with the work they all did. The truss rod cover fits flush now and the frets look good and are easy to play. Above all of that, the setup is incredible. It's very easy to play all the way up the fretboard now. He even worked on the nut to resolve a little bit of string binding. The bridge is also fitted perfectly and adjusted for easy action.

    It was a great sounding mandolin before I sent it to him, but somehow they were able to make it sound even better, especially on the A course. I had a few problems with the A course being a bit "jangly" before sending it to him, but now it sounds much warmer, with more presence than before.

    I know he gets a lot of praise for his bridges, but I just wanted to pass along how impressed I was with his other work too. You can really tell that they went the extra mile to make my mandolin sound, look, and play better than ever. I know where I'll be sending my mandolins when it's time for a refret!

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  3. #2
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    always good to hear the positive,
    man thats a sharp looking mandolin!
    the pickguard looks very well done.

    d


    ** show us the backside and closeup headstock if you don't mind**

  4. #3
    Registered User Freddyfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    They do good a great job!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    STEVE Has never let me down . Always a very good job .

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    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    I concur with all the positive comments. Steve is a great luthier. I own a Red Line A5 and use it as my main instrument. It's loud, super easy to play, and sonorous. I highly recommend his instruments for anyone looking for a nice A5.

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  8. #6
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    Nice work! Those guards take a very long time to age on their own, if they do at all, think original Loar's...often times much whiter than their body binding. A small bit of amber tinted (vintage tint) clear lacquer and an artist's brush will do the trick...you can add coats and darken to match as you go. Guitar ReRanch sells lots of good stuff for this kind of thing.

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  10. #7
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by mtucker View Post
    Nice work! Those guards take a very long time to age on their own, if they do at all, think original Loar's...often times much whiter than their body binding. A small bit of amber tinted (vintage tint) clear lacquer and an artist's brush will do the trick...you can add coats and darken to match as you go. Guitar ReRanch sells lots of good stuff for this kind of thing.
    The pickguard will never age the same as the body of mandolin as there is no lacquer to yellow. On Loars it is not as noticeable as they used Ivoroid for the outer layers of binding which is not a bright colored but the white accent lines on the guards are always brighter than those on body.
    Adrian

  11. #8
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    Yes, it makes sense. Well said!

  12. #9
    Shredded Cheese Authority Emmett Marshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    Beautiful work!
    Weber F5 Bitteroot Octave - "...romantic and very complicated."
    My instruments professionally maintained by...RSW
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE

  13. #10
    Registered User Stephen Cagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    You know I've had a Steve Smith bridge in my case for about a year now. Yes I call it a Steve Smith bridge because this is what they were called before Steve went off and got fancy with a new name (Cumberland Acoustic)😀. Certainly one of the nicest guys you will EVER meet. He loves to talk and so do I so when we get together it's for a pretty good while. My custom mandolin had a bridge installed on it that I found here on the cafe and let me say it's a premium bridge for sure so I actually had no intention to have the Smith bridge installed fully knowing that if I did it would certainly make a difference. Well you know the rest of the story. I took it to my luthier yesterday for a fret level and to fit the bridge. It absolutely did exactly what I expected. As far as tone it sounds pretty close to the other premium bridge that was on it. Let me explain the difference real quickly. The previous premium bridge had a 2 foot base on it. (one side over the bass and the other over the treble side) My Smith bridge was basically a full contact bridge and I knew going in there would be some difference I just wasn't sure what that would be. After Wayne (Wayne Wright) my luthier finished some minor sanding to the bridge It was a full contact bridge that Sat perfectly to the top of my mandolin. Now back to the sound. As I said before the tone really didn't change much because of my premium bridge that was on it. With the full contact it is much FULLER sounding and it also increased the volume as well. So with all this said I knew what would most likely happen when I had it installed I just needed a good reason to do it. Strings were coming off for a fret level so it was a good time to do it. Not surprised at all by the improvement and very happy I went ahead and had it done.
    👍👍👍

  14. #11

    Default Re: Praise for Steve Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    ** show us the backside and closeup headstock if you don't mind**
    As requested, here's a photo of the back and headstock.




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