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Thread: Ebay: maple top mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Something you don't see everyday, that may be a good thing:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Frederick-E...gAAOSwTzBeTAVd
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Shouldn’t this really be in the “worst scroll” thread?

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    I love how it has a scroll with a strap pin in it

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Spruce is the most common/popular wood for mandolin tops, correct ?
    Is there another species of wood which is frequently used for solid mandolin tops? I think I've read about redwood sometimes being used, but not sure.

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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Quite a number of mandos have been made with cedar tops. I'm not sure how how that affects the sound. In the 1930s, Martin made some mandolins completely from Hawaiian koa wood, which often was used for ukuleles. To my ear, the sound is muted and does not project.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Cedar, redwood, spruce, fir, basically any good piece of a conifer (softwood), properly oriented and seasoned, will make a good mandolin top. Hardwoods in general don't make good carved-top mandolins. And slab-cut curly maple is a particularly.... adventurous choice.

    Weber's got that new Koa octave mandolin. First of all, that's an octave mandolin - bigger plate, longer scale length, which opens up some possibilities. Koa has been used on ukulele and guitar tops plenty of times, so it's an outlier, like certain lightweight mahoganies. And it's an octave mandolin, so nobody has a specific octave mandolin tone that they're comparing it to, like we do with F-style mandolins. David Harvey made a koa-topped F-5 at one point.

  9. #7
    Registered User Peter K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post

    Weber's got that new Koa octave mandolin. First of all, that's an octave mandolin - bigger plate, longer scale length, which opens up some possibilities. Koa has been used on ukulele and guitar tops plenty of times, so it's an outlier, like certain lightweight mahoganies. And it's an octave mandolin, so nobody has a specific octave mandolin tone that they're comparing it to, like we do with F-style mandolins. David Harvey made a koa-topped F-5 at one point.
    Martin's old AK style mandolin had a koa top as well, in addition to the KOA back/sides.
    I have never found a tone comparison of the Martin spruce top vs. the koa top model. I used to own their conventional spruce top A style mandolin, and it was a delightful instrument.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    I have a mandolin with an all mahogany body and it sounds really good. I don't know the maker but my best guess is that it was made in the late 1930s by the successors to Oscar Schmidt as some of its construction is similar to my Sovereign mandolin. Harmony made some all mahogany mandolins but it is not a Harmony instrument- nor Regal or Kay.

  11. #9
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    looks like a square neck

  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    For the usual hysterical porpoises—a quote from the seller:

    Frederick Edwin West (1933- ) is a now-retired Ohio-based luthier who built guitars, mandolins, mandolas, and cellos from about 1985 to 2012. Born in Vandalia, Illinois, West worked as an industrial equipment salesman by day. At age 52, he began building musical instruments for his grandchildren. His speciality was thinline Telecaster electric guitar copies. After he retired as a luthier, I bought the contents of his shop.

    This is one of his mandolins. Striped tiger maple top and back. Abalone floral inlay on the fretboard. Ebony fretboard. Truss rod. F-style. 14" scale length. No case. 12th fret action is about 3/32".

    This one has never really been played much, so is in like-new condition. Frets and fretboard in great condition. I know West is completely unknown. He made instruments only for himself and his family. But they are quality instruments.

    It's a good sounding mandolin.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinstew View Post
    looks like a square neck
    To be fair to the seller, it does but it’s really a shadow.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    I have bought from Chris Till, the seller and he's a good guy. His eBay rating is 100%. Obviously, buying this mandolin from an unknown maker would be a gamble but that's true of many eBay purchases. If the mandolin fails to live up to its description etc it can be returned or a discount negotiated.

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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    I am curious about it, if it was closer it would be worth a road trip to see it, but it's about 4 1/2 hours away. Too bad - it could be interesting.

  16. #14
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    I think its interesting too, but I doubt the top would produce the sound I'm looking for, and I don't like the look of figured maple for the top. The top and back plates are probably too thick for my taste as well (judging from the joints I see) depending how they were carved. I think there's a reason maple is not 1st choice for top plates these days, and I also think figured maple makes it a worse choice.

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  17. #15
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    BTW as an aside, I think Mr. West may have been channeling the same muse that inspires Bruce Wei and Antonio Tsai, pitting the maple curl against that fretboard inlay on this particular instrument. No disrespect intended. The strap button fits right in.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
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  18. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebay: maple top mandolin

    Same seller has an unfinished baritone guitar also with a maple top. I almost thought it might be a good candidate for a mandocello or octave but the scale length is over 30 inches and the price is no real bargain. It does look more like a mandolin than a guitar.

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