Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

  1. #1
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,743

    Default New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    A couple of months back, I posted about a new flat-top piccolo mandolin I had just completed in this thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ilding-Project
    In that thread, I mentioned that I was also working on a short-scale mandolin of similar design. It is now complete. I strung it up just yesterday and am pleased with the results.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Moggy Front.JPG 
Views:	92 
Size:	1.42 MB 
ID:	187393Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Moggy Side and back.JPG 
Views:	74 
Size:	1.35 MB 
ID:	187392Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Moggy Back.JPG 
Views:	64 
Size:	1.26 MB 
ID:	187391

    While the shape is similar to the piccolo, this mandolin's body is larger, especially longer. The scale length is 13" and it feels good under the fingers. Back and sides are cherry, top is Adirondack spruce, neck is maple, fret board is bamboo. I gave it a one-piece maple bridge, but I still need to cut down the height a bit. Once I get the height right where I want it, I'll carve it a compensated cherry bridge as well.

    I took Pheffernan's advice and gave the headstock a bit more taper, although it doesn't actually look as if I did because the headstock is a bit shorter than on the piccolo. I would have liked to use a better tailpiece, but my COVID-era budget just doesn't facilitate that. I went with Grover tuners on this one.

    Its voice is sweet and clear, with the sound one expects from a flat-top. While there are always things I would do differently, I am pretty happy with it. I need to spend some time playing it to see what it becomes, but its voice is along the lines of what I was after. I like the cherry body. I will use cherry again in the future.

    I have two more piccolo mandolins in the works, one if which is nearly done. I'll post pictures of that one soon. I anxiously await the post-lockdown time when I can again play with my friends so I can pass these around for feedback from other mandolinists.

    Once I finish these next two, I think I'll try making a double case which will hold this mandolin and a piccolo. Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoy following my build adventures!

    Best wishes,

    Bob
    Purr more, hiss less.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bob Clark For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,444

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Thanks for sharing Bob! That's a cool looking instrument!... I'm working on my first build myself which is a Flatiron pancake style flat top using plans from Terry M. at Crystal Forest. Using mahogany for the back and sides and torrified sitka for the top.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype
    Soliver#001 Flattop Pancake style (in process)

    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it. -anonymous

  4. #3
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,743

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    Thanks for sharing Bob! That's a cool looking instrument!... I'm working on my first build myself which is a Flatiron pancake style flat top using plans from Terry M. at Crystal Forest. Using mahogany for the back and sides and torrified sitka for the top.
    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for the compliment! I am trying for something a little different with that elongated body. I like it and hope others will as well, but I recognize it may not appeal to everyone.

    I have been following your build with interest. You are aware of my high opinion of Terry's instruments. I have learned a lot from his plans, as well. They are clear and comphensive. Graham McDonald's book is also really helpful.

    I am curious to learn your opinion of the torrified wood, as your build progresses and is completed. I don't think Imhave seen a flat-top with the combination you have chosen. I think it will result in a gorgeous tone and wish you well with it.

    I really like working with cherry and like the results as well. The cherry I used in this one has been sitting in my barn for about 35 years awaiting the right project. This was the right project and I am really happy with the results. I have now found a local, small sawmill that I can get local cherry from and am anxious to get there to pick through his cutoffs. He uses large pieces and has no need for the size I need. What could be better?

    Best wishes, Spencer, for your build. I hope you get the same satisfaction from it as I am getting from mine.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  5. #4
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,444

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Thanks Bob, just so you know I only got the Torrified Wood because I got an offer fro Stew Mac for $20 towards whatever I wanted (I think I hadn't bought anything in a while and they were trying to entice me). I knew I'd eventually want to build a mando so I opted for the Torrified Sitka which was $30 in order to utilize the entire offer. After the $20 off and adding shipping, I only spent $20. I have never worked regular Sitka so I don't honestly have anything to compare it to. But so far, so good!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype
    Soliver#001 Flattop Pancake style (in process)

    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it. -anonymous

  6. The following members say thank you to soliver for this post:


  7. #5
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,743

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Just a quick update. I've been playing this new mandolin for a week or so now and it is really starting to sound good. I have adjusted the setup a bit and now have the bridge and nut where I want them, and the frets nicely leveled. The instrument is buzz-free.

    It really works with D'Addario EJ 73 strings, which is what I built it for. The basic goal was to build an instrument that sound good and play well with light strings at relatively low tension. I have achieved that goal. The tensions (as per D'Addario Tension Pro Calculator) are as follows: E 19.21 , A 16.77 , D 19.98 , G 21.93. By comparison, a 13.875 scale instrument with EJ 74 strings would have the following tensions: E 23.25 , A 19.26 , D 23.36 , G 24.48 . So, the reduced tensions per string are as follows: E 17.4% , A 12.9% , D 14.46% , 10.21% . This reduction feels like more than it appears on paper. The only down-side is that it requires a slightly higher action than I could get it with a little more tension.

    After my many decades of farming, my knuckles have about had it, especially the middle knuckle on the middle finger of my left hand. This is making fretting increasingly difficult. I desired a mandolin that would enable me to be heard in a group setting, blend well in my duo with classical guitar, but give my fretting hand an easier time of it. I have instruments that are nearly as low tension as this one, but I just wanted something a little different. My duo plays a lot of renaissance-era music, and I wanted something that looks a little bit more the part without being an actual period instrument, just suggestive of it (no gigs right now anyway). I also wanted to make sure my fretting fingers would have enough 'real estate' despite the shortened scale, and a 1 and 3/16" nut provided that.

    So, I have just one thing more to do to it. I find the neck just a little too thick for my liking. First chance I get, I will give it a light re-profiling and be done with it. That will probably be mid-week. I'll report back my observations when that is done.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bob Clark For This Useful Post:


  9. #6

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Bob, a quick search only finds a couple “stringless” guitars, no mandolins, which might be a solution for weak or painful hands. The guitar versions seem to have either physical buttons or infrared, but I’m thinking that touch screen versatility (and produceability) might be just the thing, even allowing switching between fretting and continuous (i.e. violin) playing. The picking part might remain mechanical for compatibility.
    Heresy, i know, but so were steel strings when they came along to save all those cats.

  10. The following members say thank you to Richard500 for this post:


  11. #7
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,743

    Default Re: New Build: 13 inch scale Flat-Top

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Bob, a quick search only finds a couple “stringless” guitars, no mandolins, which might be a solution for weak or painful hands. The guitar versions seem to have either physical buttons or infrared, but I’m thinking that touch screen versatility (and produceability) might be just the thing, even allowing switching between fretting and continuous (i.e. violin) playing. The picking part might remain mechanical for compatibility.
    Heresy, i know, but so were steel strings when they came along to save all those cats.
    Thanks for the idea Richard, but thankfully, my fingers are not yet to that point. Let's hope they don't get there. Lower tension might help maintain them. In the interest of full disclosure, you know how MAS is. . . Bad knuckles just may have been, in part, an excuse to build a new mandolin for myself. One can't be too sure of one's own motives when it comes to MAS
    Purr more, hiss less.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

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