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Thread: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

  1. #1
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    The history of carbon fiber mandolins is littered with valiant attempts and followed by inevitable withdrawals. Here is a thread (among others) that mentions some of the CF warriors. It is not that it can’t be accomplished just that, for some reason, as a viable business model in a relatively small niche market, it seem to be a Sisyphean feat.

    The latest entry is KLOS (https://klosguitars.com/ who has quite a collection of CF guitars and ukuleles. They have a Coming Soon page on their site with many suggestions including mandolin. So I sent them a note and received the following email.

    You're receiving this email because you signed up to hear about the KLOS Mandolin. We have good news, the design is well under way, and we're hoping to launch the instrument in 4-5 months.

    If you are still interested in the mandolin, please fill out this short form indicating that you're interested! There is some additional information about the instrument there. Your indicated interest helps us plan ordering materials and parts and allows us to bring our product to life faster, so it's very important.

    We will have a lot more information about the design in about 2-3 months when we unveil our prototype. For now, I can tell you that:
    • it will be launched in our full carbon series (not hybrid series)
    • it will be a one-piece construction


    Please let us know if you have any questions. We're very excited!
    Pretty impressive that they can produce a working prototype in 2-3 months and a full-blown (maybe) production mandolin in 4-5 months. I will be impressed if it happens even in double that time for each.

    I guess we will see what they come up with. From what I understand, the bodies of the current instruments are manufactured in China and assembled and set up in the US.

    I just clicked on the “interested” link and got this information which is even more interesting to me:

    The mandolin will be launched in our full carbon series (100% carbon fiber), one-piece construction, and will be discounted for early buyers to about $999-$1249 in price (compared to $1799+ when it will be publicly live).
    I wonder if they can pull it off at those prices and continue to make these. I have a feeling that if they can swing it, there would be quite a few of us who would be interested in them.

    I remember that Canadian company which seemed to vanish after a while, no longer even making guitars from what I can tell. And it turned out also that the Z-mandolins was only a limited attempt to produce 25 instruments and then stop production. At least that was the last attempt at a larger scale production of these.
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I wonder if they will be flat tops since KLOS doesn't make any carved (formed?) top instruments right now.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Intrigued…been playing my CF McPherson Touring guitar all week on vacation but would love to have a more portable option (and of my favorite instrument)…
    Chuck

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Jim, thanks for the heads up. I had my KLOS email waiting for me, so I filled out my "interested?" form. I'm excited!
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Though I have my Mix A5, I, too, just filled out the form ... with the comment: "What I'm really after is a CF bowlback mandolin." I expect to get a reply something like: "Yuh! When pigs fly ... "

  8. #6

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    Though I have my Mix A5, I, too, just filled out the form ... with the comment: "What I'm really after is a CF bowlback mandolin." I expect to get a reply something like: "Yuh! When pigs fly ... "
    I can't imagine them making a bowl back, seeing that A and F styles outsell them 100 to 1. You probably just won't get a response.

  9. #7

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    Though I have my Mix A5, I, too, just filled out the form ... with the comment: "What I'm really after is a CF bowlback mandolin."
    avastrings.com

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Iíll have to sign up as interested. Iíd like to play one before ponying over $1249.

    Only really interested if itís an arch top F body.

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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'm very interested and replied back to their email. I'm hoping it's an F shape or a 2 point at least. But I do want to see a picture, know what kind of tuners, tailpiece, nut width, and hopefully some sound samples of the mandolin being played. I don't have to see it in person just know what its build is. But I'm very excited about this!

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  13. #10

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'm not abluegrasser, and have had CF guitars and loved them for how they sounded. I know a lot of folks want them to sound like other materials, insread of embracing the differences. I'm not going into it with a lot of preconceptions.

    I want loud, indestructible, and crystaline sustain for days. I'll be laughing when people start complaining that it doesn't sound like wood. Surprise! It's not wood!

    I'm hoping it's going to a flattop, like a crystal-sounding Tacoma mandolin.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Indestructible is the best part, to be able to take it anywhere without fear. I think an army-navy style pancake would be cool, but really, I like them all
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    Though I have my Mix A5, I, too, just filled out the form ... with the comment: "What I'm really after is a CF bowlback mandolin." I expect to get a reply something like: "Yuh! When pigs fly ... "
    I seem to recall a French maker who did make a CF bowlback. Ah, here is the thread with pictures: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/threads/100335-carbon-fiber-mandolin-building-pictures

    And here is a thread about Ava Strings who are in Portugal including some comments from the company and reports of a visit by Graham McDonald: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...fiber-bowlback
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    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Maybe we should contact the Klos company and invite them over here to talk to us, I mean, why wouldn't they? Unless it's some sort of violation of
    protocol to invite a company into the forum?

  17. #14

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Indestructible is the best part, to be able to take it anywhere without fear. I think an army-navy style pancake would be cool, but really, I like them all
    That would be cool! It would become the ultimate travel mandolin. Pancakes are the smallest mandolins I know of that still sound “full size”. I love mine, personally.
    I guess I'll just stay right here, pick and sing a while...
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  18. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    My daughter had a hiker friend she met on the Appalachian Trail and we got to hear his KLōs Travel guitar when we did trail magic. It was small but good sounding.
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  19. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I sent an invitation to the Klōs folks to post here and mentioned warnings about general forum rules. I know many reps from various makers are generally welcome to post here including individual luthiers and larger ones like Eastman, Gibson, and Northfield. I can’t imagine there would be a problem.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Feb-03-2023 at 9:23am.
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    That would be cool! It would become the ultimate travel mandolin. Pancakes are the smallest mandolins I know of that still sound “full size”. I love mine, personally.
    That's what I would want it for - as the ultimate travel mandolin. Once my DH retires, I hope to do a good amount of road tripping and would appreciate a worthy and durable companion.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I'd be interested in a CF mandolin, primarily because it wouldn't (I assume) be subject to the problems that humidity variations cause for wooden instruments.

    The humidity in my electric-heater-heated apartment is, right now, 16%. In the summer, with the windows open, it can be between 80 and 90%.

  22. #19
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by rnjl View Post
    Maybe we should contact the Klos company and invite them over here to talk to us, I mean, why wouldn't they? Unless it's some sort of violation of
    protocol to invite a company into the forum?
    I give my OK to this (which counts for nothing).

  23. #20
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Regarding a CF bowlback, I have tried to contact Ava Strings in the past without success. So today, from their website contact info, I've once again sent an email. Hope springs eternal.

  24. #21
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    Regarding a CF bowlback, I have tried to contact Ava Strings in the past without success. So today, from their website contact info, I've once again sent an email. Hope springs eternal.
    I wonder if those ever went into production or if there is only the one pictured on the site. Even in Europe bowlback mandolins are not as popular as the flatter ones and I would imagine the market for CF ones is even smaller, especially ones made in Portugal. Let us know if you ever hear anything from them.
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  25. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I just heard from Klōs PR and outreach guy. They are not revealing details yet but are reading this thread. So we should get future updates from them when they are ready. Fair enough.

    Tim here with KLŌS. I run PR and outreach for the company. Thanks for the heads-up about the forum. I think it would be best for us to wait a bit until we can share pictures and tell folks a little more about the instruments. But, it's nice to see that people are excited for it! This thread led to a couple of people saying they'd be interested in a pre-order. That's great!
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  27. #23

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    Couple of years ago I was hired to develop a low-cost collapsible bicycle helmet, not for the outback but urban convenience. How about a collapsible mandolin, maybe even an inflatable? Or maybe one that’s also a bike helmet?
    It’s so cold here this morning that I’m pretty sure my brain badly needs defrosting.

  28. #24

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    KLOS makes detachable-neck guitars, so they could probably make a detachable-neck mandolin. I think it’s mostly so it can fit in an airplane overhead bin.

    Mandolins, particularly if you don’t need a super intense case, are already pretty compact and fit in an overhead bin though, so I don’t know if it would be necessary.
    I guess I'll just stay right here, pick and sing a while...
    2022 Morris F5 #482, 1995 Flatiron 2MB

  29. #25

    Default Re: Yet Another CF Mandolin?

    I've been thinking of an Army Navy / Alrite / DY / pancake CF mando. I've wanted to get one for a long time.

    I have a pancake-ish Gypsy Music 10-string by the late Walt Kuhlman. The length is just right to avoid breaking the high E string, and the body is deeper to support the pitch of the low E. I've been waiting for a CF maker to be on that road to consider making such a 10-string in CF.

    I'd be jazzed if this KLOS is a Gibson pancake shape.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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