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Thread: Electric mandolin build.

  1. #1

    Default Electric mandolin build.

    Hello gentlemen,

    I am looking to build an electric mandolin after a long hiatus. I went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing, MN for musical stringed instrument repair. I have built since I got out of school. I had been thinking of building a tenor guitar, but then saw a video of the Waldschmidt Tiger Mandolin. I have a reclaimed Redwood top cap, and a Sapelle Mahogany neck blank. I also have a Telecaster bridge from Moongazer. I have lots of questions but I'll keep it light in initial post. What body wood would go well with the neck? Fingerboard?

    It should be noted that I have a body template for a Epiphone Rumblekat copy, that will be shrunk down to mandolin size. I absolutely love this body shape.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    Any dark wood would work, Honduras mahogany, various dalbergias including cocobolo or even walnut. If you stain the wood, lots more will work.
    Play it like you mean it.

  3. #3
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    Cocobolo is gorgeous but be aware that the color will darken with time. I have a Cocobolo Irish flute which started with a really striking grain pattern and is now nearly all very dark brown. Cocobolo is also highly allergenic so you need to take special dust precautions when you work with it. One woodworker I know says "There are two kinds of wood workers: those that are allergic to Cocobolo and those who aren't allergic to Cocobolo yet".
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    To me, nothing beats ebony for a fingerboard. Especially on a mandolin scale, where you can still get pretty pieces of wood for very sensible money. For the body main on a solid body, I still like ash the best. Pleasantly light weight, too.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    S.W. Wisconsin

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    Even in an electric instrument woods make a difference. Heavier denser woods will be brighter sounding and since the mandolin has a tendency to be brighter sounding, I would use Mahogany or Swamp Ash. Something lighter to hold and warmer in sound.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    I will throw Poplar or Tulip wood as some know it into the pool. Quite a lot of painted electric instruments use it. It doesn’t have a grain pattern to some of it either if you used a translucent lacquer.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Electric mandolin build.

    The one thing I would say about building a Tiger is that a lot, and I mean a lot, of thought needs to go in to the woods because the original was such a piece of art that to just throw something together does it injustice. Here is an example. The one on the left was poorly thought out. Click image for larger version. 

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