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Thread: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Hi all,

    I hope that all is well!

    To briefly introduce, I am Rob and I am about to embark on a journey to build my first solid body 8 string electric mandolin.

    I will be quite a daredevil and I will design and build the mandolin from scratch. Basis for the design will be A5 mandolin plans from GenOne, but "final" shape is something that looks good to me at the moment. Here is the picture of a plan still on paper (disregard the oil stain ):

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    Both body and neck will be made out of quarter sawn European cherry with some mahogany strips and fretboard will be made out of ebony. For nut I have a piece of camel bone and for the bridge I will choose between pink ivory, stabilized spalted birch or ebony. Here and there I might add some veneer accent pieces, but this I will decide along the way.

    Anyhow, this will be a rather long build, but I will document everything and upload some pictures here on the forum.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  2. #2
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Looking forward to seeing your progress but most of all your finished EM8.
    Stiver A style custom #388-5-20
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  3. #3
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Sounds like a fun project! Looking forward to following along with envy
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Hi guys and thanks for your comments!

    I made some baby steps, started to square up the fretboard blank. It is quite oversized, I will dimension it as I move along with the planing. Still working on the floor, waiting for my local Ikea to stock up on the benches, I found one which I will turn into something like a "modern" Roman workbench.

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    Cheers,
    Rob

  5. #5
    Registered User WarrenDeV's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Good luck to you. Very interested to hear how you work out the electronics. I'm a guitar / ukulele builder hobbyist and tried an electric solid body 8-string myself (my son's a player) - was quite an adventure, especially finding hardware for an 8-string.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Thanks for the interest. I have been quite busy with my day job and found some half hour here and there to do some work on the project.

    Regarding the electronics, I will have a custom, hand-made pickup. There is a fellow luthier and electronics enthusiast nearby with whom I talked and he will come up with something, once I come to the electronics installation. The plan is to have all the electronics on the pick guard, so I still have some time.

    In the meantime, I planed the fretboard blank to the desired thickness and marked the fret positions (perhaps a bit hard to see on the picture). Neck blank has also been planed to the desired thickness and I did the scarf joint at 20. You can see how it is clamped together for glueing. I also used an old Record 050C combination plane with 5 mm Veritas plow plane blade to make the truss rod channel. Truss rod will be Gibson style with 5 mm rod and brass nut and anchor. I still have to play around with tap and die to finalise the truss rod ends and anchor.

    Few pictures are here, others will follow in the next few days.

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    Cheers,
    Rob

  7. #7

    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Hi all!

    I managed to do some work today on the neck. I glued in the wings on the headstock and did some work on the headstock veneer. I had a piece of spalted maple (1-1/8 x 1-1/8 x 11-7/8), which I cut and bookmatched.

    Here are some pictures, I hope that more will follow soon.

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    Cheers,
    Rob

  8. #8
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    That spalted pattern is wild, it will make a cool headstock!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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  9. #9
    Registered User WarrenDeV's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Agreed - wonderful pattern. And if I see the pencil lines correctly, that's going to be an interesting headstock shape.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Newbie Builds an Electric Mandolin

    Hi guys, thanks for the comments!

    @WarrenDev
    Yes, you can see the pencil lines correctly, I went for this crescent moon shape, it just looked nice when I was drafting the initial plans.

    I managed to do just a tiny bit on the headstock, it is hard to catch some time between work and family obligations. Nevertheless, I glued today the headstock veneer and trimmed the sides with the drawknife. I will do a bit more shaping tomorrow, if I catch some time.

    Here are the pictures from today:

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    Cheers,
    Rob

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