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Thread: A couple more new ones

  1. #1
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default A couple more new ones

    Plans were to show some mandolins at a stringed instrument festival in Tasmania next month, so the past couple of months has been getting a few mandolins and a couple of ukuleles ready for that. Of course, the festival has now been cancelled, but I have just strung up a couple of mandolins I was planning to take to show.

    The A model is made from entirely Australian timbers. This has a bunya pine soundboard with streaky Tasmanian myrtle body and neck. The fingerboard is a hard casuarina of some kind with some gidgee as the head overlay. The bunya is an unattractive timber but rather good for soundboards. Maton and Cole-Clarke, our two largest guitar makers here use it extensively for steel string guitars, but this is the first time I have tried any on a mandolin. This is a very loud barking instrument with loads of punch.

    The oval hole instrument is based on a Washburn Model G (or an E or F) from the 1920s and is made with a King Billy pine soundboard, a Huon pine body with an Australian red cedar neck. The fingerboard and head overlay are rosewood. A very different sounding mandolin to the bunya/myrtle A style.

    Sound files to come.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    I have a definite weakness for 2-point oval holes . . .

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #3
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Real beautiful.

    Jamie
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    All in FredK's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Great work. The back side of that A is beautiful.
    "If your memories exceed your dreams, you have begun to die." - Anonymous

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  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    I would love to have a mandolin with a King Billy Pine top just to say the name of the wood.
    Jim

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  7. #6
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    The bunya is an unattractive timber but rather good for soundboards.
    Dunno, Graham, I kind of like the looks of the top on that one. The back too.

    Also agree with Mike, the two point oval has a really nice look to it.
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  8. #7
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    I am sure that could be arranged, Jim

    and here is a closer pic of the bunya soundboard. This is almost perfectly quartersawn, though it is hard to tell. Lovely pointed dome shaped trees with bunya nuts the size of coconuts which were much prized eating by the First Australian peoples. Not sure why they are not more available as a food.

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Beautiful, Graham... how about some videos so we can hear 'em in action?!?!?
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  10. #9
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    I always look forward to these posts, Graham, your designs always work for me. Would also love to hear these - the deco-ish prototype sounds fab, BTW!!
    Last edited by bbcee; Mar-25-2020 at 6:10am.

  11. #10
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    A recording of an old-time Australian mazurka. the first time through on the oval hole, the second on the f-hole mandolin. Unfortunately you have to listen to my playing as everyone else I could ask to play is confined to barracks for the foreseeable future. I don't suppose there is a way to upload an mp3 file in the same way as a photo?

    Cheers

    https://soundcloud.com/graham-mcdonald-4/mazurka

  12. #11
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Very nice Graham. Out of interest, how dense was the bunya you used? I have a soundboard-size piece that is extremely low density compared to other bits I've got. There seems to be a big variation.

    You can find fallen cones around here in season if you know where the trees are. The seeds taste like piney chestnuts, but much better than that sounds.

  13. #12
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    It seemed quite heavy so I thinned it to a bit more than I would for stiff sitka, getting close to 4mm/.160" in the centre with Sitka X braces at around a 80° angle that cross above the bridge and sit underneath the adjustment posts. 10mm high at the crossing point. It was surprisingly hard to cut the f-holes with a new X-acto blade and a noticeable difference in hardness between the summer and winter growth lines. No idea where it came from, though I got it from Darrell Wheeler in Sydney and have enough for another soundboard.

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  15. #13
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    You wrote the book.
    Well done.
    Steve

  16. #14
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: A couple more new ones

    Thank you Steve, but I don't make nearly as elegant mandolins as yours 8-)

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