Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Mandolin Builders output?

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin Builders output?

    I was wondering about the relative numbers of mandolins a builder may make in a career. Has anyone compiled a list of their output? I noticed a builder such as the highly regarded McClanahan, who has mandolins with serial numbers (?)in the 750s. Is it possible he made that many? Was wondering what others were able to make in their careers. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    As a first-timer it took me 18 months to build my first mandolin... So for 750 that would take me about 1,125 years.

    I've read that there were something like 300 Loar F5s made. But that seems low to me?

    Anecdotally, I have looked around at other professional builders websites and things and seen figures in the area of one dozen per year, I think--give or take. Assuming someone spends a career's length of 45 years or so then something in the neighborhood of 500 would see right.

  3. The following members say thank you to putnamm for this post:


  4. #3
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,300
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    Quote Originally Posted by putnamm View Post
    ... I've read that there were something like 300 Loar F5s made. ...
    Yes, but Loar's team was not only making mandolins. It's probably more appropriate to count all the instruments that Loar signed during his time at Gibson to get a more comparable number.

    And, keep in mind that his department was a team, not a single person-shop as many if not most of today's boutique mandolin builders are.

    I don't know if there is documentation that suggests that Loar actually built any mandolins with his own hands while at Gibson.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  5. The following members say thank you to dhergert for this post:


  6. #4

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    I started building in 1999 It took me two years to build my first mandolin. June #1 put me on the map and as of now I have built 85 mandolins and 25 guitars over the past 20 years. Like most other builders a lot of restoration and repair work in between the builds. The most I have completed in one year was 12 but have settled in to building an average of 8. Repair work cuts into building time.
    Walter Johnson
    JUNE mandolins and guitars

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


  8. #5
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    2,022

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    I think I'm a relatively slow builder, averaging 10-12 a year. Before kids it was 15, but if I can get 40 hours in these days it's a good week . Not that I'm complaining.

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to amowry For This Useful Post:


  10. #6

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    Gilchrist is in 700s now and he's been building since 1980 or so. I find it hard to believe that McClanahan serial number reflects the # of instruments he's built.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

  11. The following members say thank you to Don Grieser for this post:


  12. #7

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    I was hanging out with Will Kimble in his shop today. He is up to 275.

  13. The following members say thank you to Mandomusic for this post:


  14. #8
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    Two prolific luthiers:

    1. Antonio Stradivari. Surviving examples: at least 602 instruments. Estimated total production: 1116 instruments.
    These numbers do not include instruments with a Niccolo Amati label that were at least partially built by Strad while he was working for Amati.
    These instruments were completely built using only very simple hand tools and slow drying oil varnish.

    2. John D'Angelico. 1164 guitars with carved tops and backs. 44 mandolins with serial numbers, plus an undetermined number of mandolins without serial numbers. An older estimate by George Gruhn was a total of 300 to 350 mandolins, but that estimate might be a bit high.

    The numbers on Stradivari were compiled by W. Henry Hill in 1902. Those who might debate them should bear in mind that, at that time Hill wrote his book, the number of existing Strads with a 1709 label was 21 violins, 1 'cello. Strad was 65 years old in 1709.
    Last edited by rcc56; Feb-11-2020 at 12:59am.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  16. #9
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,583

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    One should also think that they were noto working alone but had workshop with aprentices. In times of stradivari that was typically whole family pluse several aprentices and journeymen all working together, sometimes 10-15 people. They also made cases, bows and accessories that modern makers simply buy.
    I don't know much about D'angelico but he likely had a few hands to help with that.
    Gilchrist has quite thought out machinery and jigs to speed up his process and few helpers as well.
    Ellis is also in similar high numbers but he's got his CNC's and co workers...
    Adrian

  17. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HoGo For This Useful Post:


  18. #10

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    Stradivari ran a small production shop with many workers, family, and apprentices in the old world tradition; he did not work alone. He also lived a very long life was still producing instruments at the age of 95!

    D'Angelico had full time help from Jimmy DiSerio and Jimmy D'Aquisto. Both of the D'As died at age 59.

    Yearly output can be challenging to describe to an outsider. Many builders also do restoration and repair work with an ebb and flow between the two. Some years more new instruments get built; other years very important historical restorations can take up a tremendous amount of time resulting in lower new build output.
    Spruce dork

  19. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to grandcanyonminstrel For This Useful Post:


  20. #11
    Registered User barry k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Savannah Ga.
    Posts
    878

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    I have been building 27 years and I have built over 165 instruments. I asked him one time how he based his serial numbers, he wouldnt answer me ??

  21. The following members say thank you to barry k for this post:


  22. #12
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,583

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    Quote Originally Posted by barry k View Post
    I have been building 27 years and I have built over 165 instruments. I asked him one time how he based his serial numbers, he wouldnt answer me ??
    Who? McClanahan? Perhaps he just started numbering with 700... Common practice. Many makers or factories use fancy numbering systems containing encoded date and year so the resulting number is in 5or more digits...
    Adrian

  23. The following members say thank you to HoGo for this post:


  24. #13

    Default Re: Mandolin Builders output?

    My 595 over 30 years has been made possible by: no adult supervision M-F, location so far up the creek even the Episcopalians are handling snakes up here, and enough 'mental health' instruments to avoid groundhogs day syndrome. At the end of the day, as my hero Jethro would say, I've made enough money to last the rest of my life, as long as I die by next Tuesday!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1020772-001.JPG 
Views:	26 
Size:	669.8 KB 
ID:	183766   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	colshop11.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	283.8 KB 
ID:	183765  

  25. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to oldwave maker For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


Posting Permissions

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