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Thread: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

  1. #1
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    I am getting very excited about the new Sorensen 2020 X-Series prototype mandolins that I have in finishing.

    These sleek new machines distill everything I have learned from working with, listening to, and watching so many great artists picking Sorensen mandolins.

    Here's a sneak peek in the nursery --

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    More details to follow!

    Steve

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  3. #2

    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Yes, please. You are certainly in the crucial "beta phase" and although normally handsomely compensated for this service, I will offer to test one for you
    Beautiful!

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    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Ha! Oh, we're well past beta phase. These are fine-tuned and ready for production.

    In fact the VX prototype has been hiding out in the open with Darren Nicholson. I had to build another since he snapped up the first one at IBMA last fall and never lets it out of his sight.



    Steve

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  6. #4

    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Yer killin' me Steve. I'm trying to be happy, and you keep coming up with new beautiful designs.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  7. #5

    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    dang,,,i was afraid of that. Beautiful work Sir.

  8. #6

    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Oh you are a terrible tease, Steve. More information on what makes this phase different, if you please.

  9. #7
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Before we get into the features of these new designs, let me give a bit of background.

    This project starts with my belief that the Gibson/Lloyd Loar early 1920s mandolins were one of the most successful short-lived musical experiments in the modern history of instrument building. Loar was tasked with modernizing the design and increasing the responsiveness and tone-balance of Gibson's arch-topped instruments in an effort to re-spark mandolin interest in the US . . . and for the brief period he worked at Gibson, his results were astounding! Unfortunately, however, the effort was a musical success but a marketing failure.

    There are a host of builders who work to re-create those fine instruments. However, even during my first build, I was struck by how very post-Victorian the structure, geometry, styling, and build processes were. Loar was working with Gibson almost 100 years ago, and is shows in his work!

    Still, to this day, many Gibson/Loar era mandolins are at the pinnacle of what American mandolin players seek in instrument response.

    I have HoGo's fantastic Loar drawings up in my shop and every year or so I go back and ask myself, "Knowing what I know now, what was Loar trying to achieve with this approach to the mandolin? Where was he limited by technology? Where was he limited by Gibson Corporate? What are the things he got right which are more important than most people realize?"

    And then I go back to my designs and make changes.

    And after the changes are built-in to new instruments, I watch and listen to how players respond to them. Because, what is most important is the underlying goal that I think Lloyd Loar actually had as a musician himself -- to make instruments which were more fun and effective for him as a player.

    I call this approach, "Player First".

    And that is why most of what I post on MandolinCafe and Facebook is just players playing.

    That is what it is all about.

    It is hard to appreciate, for most of us part-time picking hobbyists, but real musicians live through their instruments. Their mandolins are their voice, their way of interfacing and connecting with the world, the window to their souls. They play constantly, explore constantly, consume new music constantly. As my wife says, "They are Obsessive in the best way -- they are Passionate about music."

    I am building for them.

    All that matters is that the instruments offer, and keep offering, a voice which expands their range of expression and makes playing more delightful and satisfying.

    So, I focus on what I call "The Drive Train" -- how the instrument as a machine creates music from the tuners to to the tail.

    I ask myself, how each component came to be, what is its purpose, what bugs players persistently (But that they live with because, "That's just the way the instruments are . . ."). I try to figure out how to make each component in the Drive Train more of what it should be and less of what drives folks crazy.

    I constantly search new materials and production techniques.

    I ask myself, WWLLDT?

    And I can assure you, there are NO instruments being built today, in Asia, Europe, or the Americas that have some of the innovations built in to the new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins.



    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Those look purdy Steve. What's the A-style sound like? Is it rich and deep with popping bell-like highs? One can only imagine what you are creating lately Steve. You sir are quickly becoming "the Man." Please post some samples of the A and 2pt if you can. They almost always sound better than Fs, or at least it seems that way periodically. (sorry, sick and droning on I'm afraid) Blessings

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    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Rusty,

    Thanks!

    All four of the 2020 X-Series designs (AX, SX, VX, and Sprite2X) are built around the new Sorensen "Fusion Frame" that unifies blocking, kerfing, and side support, and the top and back graduations are the same for all, the tone and response of all four styles is very similar. Since the AX and Sprite2X don't have the open area of the interior of the scrolls, there is slightly less air to move in the body cavity, but the similarities out-weigh the differences.

    When I was picking on them in the white, I would have been hard-pressed to differentiate by the top response. However since I used four fairly different maple backs, I did have to fine-tune the back graduations to move them each into the desired back response mode. Once the backs were all acting in the same way, they really were almost quadruplets.

    Of course once the prototype set is strung back up we'll get some demo video of them all. Until then, I have no qualms about saying Darren's VX stands as a fine representation of how all these instruments will pop, chime, and chop.

    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Varnishing is progressing quite nicely indeed --

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    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Oh, goodness. Would you take a kidney?

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Another X-Series prototype that has been hiding in plain sight and getting some real world exposure is Eli Wildman's SX Prototype --

    Played by Eli -


    Played by Andy Statman -


    Plugged in with The Widmans -


    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Eli Wildman recorded this version of "Brilliancy" from a practice room at Berklee School of Music today --



    Steve

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  21. #14

    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Fine work, Steve!

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Just about done with the varnishing part of finishing --

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    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sorensen View Post
    Just about done with the varnishing part of finishing --

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    Steve
    Id be happy to spend some time with an AX... 😉

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    . . . and . . . patiently waiting for the shellac final finish to cure . . .

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    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Eli Wildman and Victor Furtado are back home for the summer from Berklee College of Music . . . and picking up a storm where ever they go. Here's a snippet of Eli picking the SX "Stratus" prototype that he got in September --



    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Here's a bit of a flashback, to September 2018, with Danny Roberts (The Grascals) and Zack Arnold (ClayBank & Sideline) with a Sorensen VX "mandolin tasting" --



    And for comparison's sake, here is Chip Bach picking his Sorensen Sprite 2X Two-Point --



    And Joey Lazio (Melted Plectrum) on his new VX-3D --



    Steve

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    Default Re: The new Sorensen 2020 X-Series mandolins . . .

    Here's Darren and Balsam Range backstage warming up --



    And another from Chip Bach on his Sprite 2X Two-Point --



    Steve

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