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Thread: New flat top mandolin

  1. #1
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default New flat top mandolin

    Recently completed flat top mandolin. I call it a "classical flattop" because it has a body shape and size the same as a Lyon and Healy style C. Top is red Spruce, back and sides are Black Heart Sassafras from Tasmania. You can really see the black heart that goes through the centre of the tree on this mandolin. Sassafras is a great tonewood, with a sound quite similar to Mahogany. I really like the sound of this one.
    Sound clips here -
    http://petercoombe.com/Pictures/for-...d-Inchquin.mp3
    http://petercoombe.com/Pictures/for-...4/hornpipe.mp3
    http://petercoombe.com/Pictures/for-...lin254/bsa.mp3

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    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

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  3. #2
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    That's a beauty, Peter.

  4. #3
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Sounds great!

  5. #4
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    I've got a bunch of Sasafras growing in my backyard. It grows like a weed here!
    Last edited by Elliot Luber; May-23-2020 at 4:12pm. Reason: correction
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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  6. #5
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Thatís beautiful. What are the tuning machines?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Elliot, it is most likely a different species. There are a number of different species of trees called Sassafras. In this mandolin it is Atherosperma moschatum, a tree native to Tasmania and south east Australia.

    The tuning machines are Schaller GrandTune black chrome.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  8. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    I love the tone and sustain. And the black heart. Must be a metaphor for something.
    Jim

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    "Black heart" is a fungal infection down the center of the tree that makes the wood a darker colour. It is effectively spalted wood. Eventually the wood rots, but usually the physical properties are not altered much by the spalting. Black Heart Sassafras can have quite a variety of colours, black, grey, green, brown, and quite spectacular patterns. It used to to be classed as rubbish wood, but nowadays is highly prized, difficult to get and expensive.

    Here are some more examples -
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    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  10. #9
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Peter,

    Always a treat to see your creations. Triple plus on this one.

  11. #10
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Mighty good looking "rubbish wood". Sounds great!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    I've been slow to jump in here in praise of Peter's beautiful work because I wanted to get a short video ready first.

    I'm the happy owner of Peter's "classical flattop" #248 (pictures and samples still on his website) that I ordered from him a little over a month ago. I almost ordered one a year ago but was held back by the possible import issues with the shell inlay. When I saw that he had built a few without that issue (thanks to an earlier thread here) I placed an order.

    Despite the situation in the world today this lovely mandolin from Australia was in my hands in about two weeks. It looks, sounds and plays great. I have to be a little careful because it has some real volume to it. The short video was made using a Dunlop Ultex .88 pick on TI mittel strings. It came strung with D'Addario flattops, which sounded really good, but I wanted to try the Thomastiks.

    Also, if you check the exchange rate you'll see that these flattops are a great deal.

    Many thanks, Peter, for helping me get this in my hands.


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  14. #12
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    "Black heart" is a fungal infection down the center of the tree that makes the wood a darker colour. It is effectively spalted wood. Eventually the wood rots, but usually the physical properties are not altered much by the spalting. Black Heart Sassafras can have quite a variety of colours, black, grey, green, brown, and quite spectacular patterns. It used to to be classed as rubbish wood, but nowadays is highly prized, difficult to get and expensive.

    Here are some more examples -
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! And that sassafras mando sounds terrific.
    belbein

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  15. #13
    We're all mad here elbent's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Hi Peter, I love your instruments. The sound is gorgeous and the natural woods are lovely. I am curious about your pancake mandolins - they seem far underpriced! I don't know much about making mandolins - why the large price difference between that and your other models?
    1996 Rigel G-110

  16. #14
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    Pancake mandolins are simple mandolins that are easy to make and are a lot less work, especially if they are unbound like the original Gibson army navy's. The less work is mainly why they are cheaper. I also use cheaper tuners to keep the price down. I have been using them sort of like a prototype to test new ideas because there is not so much time wasted if an experiment fails. The classical flattop is now more popular because they sound amazingly good for a flat top mandolin so the extra cost is well worth it. They are more work because of the oval shape of the sound hole, the rosette, bindings, and the bracing is more complicated with carbon fiber reinforcement. However, the overall sound quality overlaps into my arch top oval hole mandolins which are around twice as much work. They can sound better than some of my arch tops, but I don't think they match the very best I can do with an arch top oval hole. I started making flat top mandolins because I though it must be possible to significantly improve the sound. After all, flat top guitars can sound extremely good, so a flat top mandolin should also because Cohen and Rossing have shown they vibrate similar to a flat top guitar. Has been a challenge that has taken nearly 10 years and around 40 flat top mandolins to get there, but the end result is rather nice and I love playing them.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  17. #15
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: New flat top mandolin

    All I can say is WOW!
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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