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Thread: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

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    Default A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    So, I've been bit by the bug again, been too long without an A-style mandolin and Andy at Muleskinner Instruments will be building me a new A5. We met over the weekend at his shop and selected materials for the build.

    He went through stacks of woods, pulled out various planks he has been wanting to use but hasn't yet had the chance and flashed them before my eyes. Taz Blackwood, some beautiful Curly Maple sets, a wonderful Maple plank that could have made a gorgeous one piece back and some Walnut as well.

    We both agreed on this plank of Birdseye Maple for the back, sides and neck. I have always been drawn to Birdseye but never considered it for an instrument for myself. But this one seemed just right.

    This particular piece was found by Andy's co-worker, Mark. Mark was doing some work for a fella who's father was a logger and had since passed. When he could come across nicer wood he would mill them up and keep them for himself. They were clearing out his shop and this piece was tucked away in the walls of the shop with a stack of other birdseye and beautiful maple. Mark snatched it right up and here we are with Andy now making a mandolin from it.

    More to come as the build proceeds. Andy also plans to build another 4 or 5 in this batch, so keep an eye out on his pages as things progress if you are in the market for a US made instrument from one of the finest builders in the Northeast! (NFI)

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    And, now the anticipation begins. Nice looking wood. Met Andy a few years ago at the (I think) GreenMountain Festival in Manchester Center. I was impressed by his mandolins but most impressed by his selection of beautiful woods resulting in stunningly pretty mandolin builds.
    Stiver A style custom #388-5-20
    Big Muddy EM8 solid body (Mike Dulak's final EM8 build)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Ibanez Bowl Back
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool & emergency canoe paddle)

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    And, now the anticipation begins. Nice looking wood. Met Andy a few years ago at the (I think) GreenMountain Festival in Manchester Center. I was impressed by his mandolins but most impressed by his selection of beautiful woods resulting in stunningly pretty mandolin builds.
    Yes, Andy really makes wonderful choices for tonewood (both from a visual and auditory standpoint).

    Some of my favorites are the back for my octave mandolin and this sycamore mando (I think he had the sycamore at Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots 2019). Just jaw dropping beauty!

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by redlineroots View Post
    Yes, Andy really makes wonderful choices for tonewood (both from a visual and auditory standpoint).

    Some of my favorites are the back for my octave mandolin and this sycamore mando (I think he had the sycamore at Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots 2019). Just jaw dropping beauty!

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    He did and it was my favorite of the half dozen or so mandolins I played from his display!
    Stiver A style custom #388-5-20
    Big Muddy EM8 solid body (Mike Dulak's final EM8 build)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Ibanez Bowl Back
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool & emergency canoe paddle)

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Well, Mr. Muleskinner moves quick and just sent me an update. He milled down that board and was able to get a back, sides and neck for my instrument and another back and sides set for another instrument.

    Also pictured, the top he plans to use for my mandolin. An old German Spruce bookmatched top.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Andy is a great builder and a nice guys to work with. I met Andy at The 2019 Artisan Guitar Show in Harrisburg, PA. Andy had some of his mandolins at the show and they were very nice looking mandolins.

    However, I ended up having Andy make me a beautiful H-12 model guitar with sinker mahogany back and sides. When he was finished with the guitar it was beautiful and the sound from the sinker mahogany wood that he used on the guitar was out of this world. Believe you will be very please with his workmanship! Enjoy the process working with Andy. When he is finished with your mandolin you will be one happy camper keep us posted.

    Here is a pic of the back of my sinker mahogany guitar.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    2022 Girouard Griffith Tribute A5
    2021 Ellis F5 Special
    2021 Girouard Concert Master F5 oval hole
    2020 Heiden Artist Plus A5
    1987 Flatiron Artist A5

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Darwin Gaston View Post
    Andy is a great builder and a nice guys to work with. I met Andy at The 2019 Artisan Guitar Show in Harrisburg, PA. Andy had some of his mandolins at the show and they were very nice looking mandolins.

    However, I ended up having Andy make me a beautiful H-12 model guitar with sinker mahogany back and sides. When he was finished with the guitar it was beautiful and the sound from the sinker mahogany wood that he used on the guitar was out of this world. Believe you will be very please with his workmanship! Enjoy the process working with Andy. When he is finished with your mandolin you will be one happy camper keep us posted.

    Here is a pic of the back of my sinker mahogany guitar.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ahhh, I remember seeing your H-12 in his shop. He has built me a beautiful "slightly smaller" dread style as well (photos below) and the walnut back in the thread above is the guitar bodied octave that he built me.

    Andy is a special guy and a special builder for sure.

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    A small update from Andy at the Muleskinner shop.

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    One of the sets on the left side of Birdseye will be the side of my A-style mandolin. Andy is also building an A-style in this batch for a customer that will be kind of a smaller sibling to my GBOM with the English Walnut back in the thread above. Photo of that joined back piece below...its stunning!

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    You can see he is also building a tonewood twin to my mandolin in this batch. Along with two European Sycamore (maple) and a Tazmanian Blackwood. I believe the other 4 mandolins are currently unclaimed, but would be for sale down the line once completed.

    Who wants to be mandolin siblings?!? Ha-ha!
    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

  12. #9

    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Looks to be on your way to fine instrument. Congrats! Birdseye is my favorite wood. Reminds me of one I made many moons ago.
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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Andy sent me over a good morning Mule earlier. Neck is taking shape!

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    I've thought about buying one from that batch, but I can't really afford it yet...
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
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    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    I've thought about buying one from that batch, but I can't really afford it yet...
    Keep saving, its well worth it! As someone who has played most of the mandolins to come off of Andy's bench, they are well worth the price for a beautiful, US made, handcrafted instrument from a builder who is genuinely so intrigued and joyful to see the music that players create with his instruments.
    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Gunnar 

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by redlineroots View Post
    Keep saving, its well worth it! As someone who has played most of the mandolins to come off of Andy's bench, they are well worth the price for a beautiful, US made, handcrafted instrument from a builder who is genuinely so intrigued and joyful to see the music that players create with his instruments.
    What are the necks like? I'm a bit particular about them.
    Also, how are they tonally? Traditional/Bluegrassy, or more modern?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
    My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChF...yWuaTrtB4YORAg
    My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanbanjogunnar/
    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    What are the necks like? I'm a bit particular about them.
    Also, how are they tonally? Traditional/Bluegrassy, or more modern?
    Kind of all over the map...really depends what your preference is. He is really willing to work with you to get you the instrument you want. Andy is a fairly tall fella and has larger hands. So the neck on his personal mandolin I think is a little wider at the nut (maybe 1 3/16"?). Slightly wider. Mine will have a more standard size nut at 1 1/8". But, wide or not, I find them all incredibly playable all the way up the neck.

    I think tonally, its really dependent on what wood you are choosing. He built a beautiful oval hole birch back and sides one a few years ago that I wanted to play celtic tunes on all day long. The one he is building me has a super tight grain, old german spruce top that I am incredibly lucky he is allowing me to have as part of my instrument. Its from the same sets he has for his personal mandolin and I would say really attributes to the chop and bark you want in a bluegrass setting. My guitar bodied octave, is just a beautiful, deep but subtle and sweet sounding instrument. Kind of perfect for me.

    Others, the spalted sycamore one he build had the perfect balance that I covet. Somewhere in the middle thats good for everything. But I was regretfully not in a financial place to purchase that one and it got sold before I was able to.
    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    What are the necks like? I'm a bit particular about them.
    Also, how are they tonally? Traditional/Bluegrassy, or more modern?
    And, while its obviously hard to tell in a video. In person is of course much better...he has loads of video content on his Youtube channel of previous instruments:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzB...orFLA09zIk4P5Q
    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Number 20, right there, will be mine.

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    Andy has a beautiful batch of A-styles being built alongside my A-5. One with a back and sides from the same batch of walnut as my octave mandolin. Another Birdseye, Taz blackwood and two fairly traditional curly maples. I got to spend a little time in his shop a couple weeks ago. Here are a couple more images:

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Got a message with the two attached photos last night...its finally a box!

    Rounding the final corners of this instrument build and I couldn't be happier and more pleased with Andy's work (again). Can't wait to see when it begins the finishing process and to see how she barks.

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    Got a first spray...and POP!

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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    Default Re: A New Mulerskinner Instruments A5 build starts...

    More progress. Andy absolutely nailed the finish color I had in my head. Can't wait to see her buffed out.

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    Brian Carroll

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    Muleskinner Instruments - Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolin

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