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Thread: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Hey guys,

    I am preparing to design and hopefully sell a carbon fiber mandolin and wanted to get thoughts from the mandolin community. We are in the process of developing a new carbon fiber manufacturing process that will allow us to reduce costs while maintaining quality and even tune the material to improve the tone (something current carbon fiber instruments lack). At an anticipated price point around $800-$1000, would this be something you guys would be interested in? Please let me know what your thoughts are and if there is anything you would like to see in the instrument. We want to make sure that we keep the musician's needs and perspective in mind through the process. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaco56 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I am preparing to design and hopefully sell a carbon fiber mandolin and wanted to get thoughts from the mandolin community. We are in the process of developing a new carbon fiber manufacturing process that will allow us to reduce costs while maintaining quality and even tune the material to improve the tone (something current carbon fiber instruments lack). At an anticipated price point around $800-$1000, would this be something you guys would be interested in? Please let me know what your thoughts are and if there is anything you would like to see in the instrument. We want to make sure that we keep the musician's needs and perspective in mind through the process. Thanks!
    Tone, volume, and playability are important, no matter the price. Your targeted price point seems very aggressive and surprisingly low. At that price, if the sound and volume are decent and if playability is good, I would definitely buy one. I have a carbon fiber guitar that I like a lot and has a more wood-like tone than other carbon fiber guitars I've played, and price was good (I paid $900 for it used - new price was about $1600).
    Doug Brock
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  4. #3
    Registered User BCVegas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I'd be very interested in a quality carbon fiber mandolin at the price you mention. Living in the desert, it would be nice not to have to worry about humidity control for a change.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I would be careful not to concentrate on the c-f element to the extent that you don't take sufficient care with the parts that are not carbon fiber. I speak from experience of a builder who supplied instruments blighted by extremely poor contributions from the so-called luthiers who did the fingerboards and bridges.

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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Wintertime low humidity in northern climates, hurts playability. Having a good tone and a stable mandolin would be very nice. I would be interested.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I would definitely be interested! I would love to have a mandolin that I could leave in hot car without worrying.

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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I play hot humid cruises on the river and this would be great. May have to sell something else tho.
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Well … I am a traditionalist . I have yet to find a carbon fiber instrument I like the tone of. Price point is fourth in importance to tone touch and playability IMO. But I wish you good luck in your luthier adventure. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Even inexpensive mandolins have a certain attractiveness about them, the wood grain, the finish and mandolin mystique. I would be careful to keep an attractive appearance in the list of considerations (along with the other qualities already mentioned) and avoid the military standard issue look of many carbon fiber instruments.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Interested unless you build it with a big chunky neck.
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    A smaller, light weight travel mandolin might be of interest to players who don’t want to take their good instruments on trips to different climates or when camping, sailing, mountain climbing and doing other outdoor activities where temperature and humidity extremes are of a concern.

    Will you be offering a plugged in version as an option?

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Yes, a pickup would be a nice option. If the entire instrument is decent, might be worth buying as a performance instrument in less than ideal weather.

    Count me as interested.
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I would be very interested in a affordable carbon fiber mandolin if the tone and playability are solid. Would love a durable regular size/scale A shape with ether F or oval hole for the sailboat.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    There is a carbon fiber guitar on the market. The manufacture ice Emerald. I have heard only good about them.

    With the carbon fiber you get a very stable instrument. No more concerns about humidity.

    I would be very much interested in a carbon fiber mandolin.
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rstaight View Post
    There is a carbon fiber guitar on the market. The manufacture ice Emerald. I have heard only good about them.
    With the carbon fiber you get a very stable instrument. No more concerns about humidity.
    I would be very much interested in a carbon fibre mandolin.
    There are multiple carbon fibre guitars on the market. Along with Emerald Guitars AVA Instruments, Rainsong Guitars, and CA guitars come to mind. I think AVA are also building bowl back mandolins in cf.

    (I own a Rainsong OM-1000 and a Mix F5 both of which I have found indispensable for outdoor gigs in weather.)

    Don't leave a cf instrument in a hot car. The glue will soften just like with a wood instrument.

    And interestingly, cf instruments conduct electricity. Be careful around non-grounded equipment!

    Daniel

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  20. #16
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Nestlerode View Post
    Don't leave a cf instrument in a hot car. The glue will soften just like with a wood instrument. Daniel
    Hmmm. CA Guitars must have used a glue with higher temperature tolerance then. When I got my Bluegrass Performer, I asked them about leaving the guitar in the car in the hot summer summer sun. They said their glue could handle that.

    CA Guitars used to do some fun things to show how tough their guitars were and I remember seeing pics of people trying to fry an egg on the back of the guitar in the hot sun. The black CF did get hot, but not hot enough to fry an egg, lol, so be sure to take a frying pan on your camping trip.
    Doug Brock
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  22. #17

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I’m interested. I’ve been trying to build one of my own. It’s hard! I think a small neck A style would be great.

  23. #18

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I'm interested.

  24. #19
    Registered User Steve-o's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I’d be surprised if you could make a quality CF mandolin at that price point, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Count me in on an A-style. Tone, volume, and playability are paramount.

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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    Even inexpensive mandolins have a certain attractiveness about them, the wood grain, the finish and mandolin mystique. I would be careful to keep an attractive appearance in the list of considerations (along with the other qualities already mentioned) and avoid the military standard issue look of many carbon fiber instruments.
    The look is important.

    http://martinjacobson.com/id/project...olin-prototype

    This one sounds very good but I can't get past the look.

  26. #21
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxCarJoe View Post
    The look is important.

    http://martinjacobson.com/id/project...olin-prototype

    This one sounds very good but I can't get past the look.
    Huh. I sort of like the look of that one. Would prefer a different tailpiece, but the overall look of the instrument doesn't bother me.

    Oh, and as to guitar CF builders - don't forget McPherson https://mcphersonguitars.com/carbon-series/
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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    I've liked just about every carbon fiber guitar I've ever played so count me in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Huh. I sort of like the look of that one. Would prefer a different tailpiece, but the overall look of the instrument doesn't bother me.

    Oh, and as to guitar CF builders - don't forget McPherson https://mcphersonguitars.com/carbon-series/
    A few months back I played one of those over at Acoustic Vibes Music in Arizona and it was surprisingly good.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Peter Mix had Clear Carbon of Rhode Island for the Carbon , he did the finishing in VT.

    Luis and Clark in MA have a similar arrangement, for orchestral string instruments ..

    I think they use PrePreg and vacuum bag them in an oven, to heat the pre impregnated carbon sheet..
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  30. #24

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Mr. Jacobson, your prototype both looks and sounds great.

    By "sounding" great, it's very reminiscent of a "wooden" instrument, not quite exactly the same, but very, very close.

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  32. #25

    Default Re: Carbon Fiber Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Albert View Post
    Mr. Jacobson, your prototype both looks and sounds great.

    By "sounding" great, it's very reminiscent of a "wooden" instrument, not quite exactly the same, but very, very close.
    It's the first one I ever made, so definitely not done yet. Sounds better with the bracing I've added to it. A couple more rounds of R&D, and some wood layers on the top to help it look more "woody", and I think it'll check off a lot of boxes.

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