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Thread: Henderson mandolins

  1. #1
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    I'm wondering if anyone on Cafe has ever played or owned a mandolin built by Wayne Henderson? Any feedback would be appreciated.

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    Ive never have played one of his mandos...but I have played Dempsey Youngs Hutto that Wayne set up at some point and I would have to say that it was the best feeling, playing mando I have ever played. Period.

  3. #3
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Ask me in a few years. I've been nagging Wayne to build me a mandolin for about a year. I've heard them and they sound great. Darryl Wolf has some experience with them. He's on the cafe as "f5journl"

    Now where'd you see one for sale?

    f-d
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    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    fatt-dad:

    From what I hear, I'll have to wait more than a couple of years to ask you about your Henderson mandolin. I understand for a guitar you have to wait 10 years or more.

    I haven't seen one for sale anywhere, and, in fact, haven't ever seen one at all. I know people idolize him for his guitar building, but haven't heard a peep about his reputation in the mandolin community.

  5. #5
    Registered User kudzugypsy's Avatar
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    this is one of those rare as hens teeth mandos. if you do find them, they are usually from the early 80's-90's. i dont think he has been building too many mandos since everyone started wanting his guitars.
    Mandolin Central had one over the summer, priced around $8k if i remember correctly (could have been more, but it wasnt over $10K)
    i have played 2-3 (one being Tony Williamsons "Cloyd" Loar knock off that is SMOKIN') and they are all very unique - sort of the *old school* sound that was popular before everyone started wanting big bassy woofy sounding mandos - very clean, even sound with excellent mids.
    if you want to hear one on record (if its still around) Arnie Solomon has played a GREAT Henderson for years
    http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/Stage/1171/

    look under MUSIC and there is a short clip of the henderson - thats pretty much what they sound like - and Arnie is a MONSTER player and exceptionally great guy too.




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    I've played a few of Wayne's mandolins and currently have some maple at his shop with my name on it. Everyone I've played has been great. A's, F's, all very Loar sounding with great fit and finish.

    I recently was at the shop, pestering Wayne to finish my guitar and subsequently to pick up the guitar. I took the wood to the shop 6-7 years ago. It turned out GREAT! A Brazilian 000, slothead. Well worth the wait!

    On the earlier trip Wayne must have had 5-6 F style mandolins in various stages of completion. A couple of weeks later they were either gone or in the finish room.

    It was incredible watching Wayne use a pocket knife and chisel to scallop the braces on my guitar. I can't wait to watch him carve my mandolin top.

    It's amazing how much he gets done. On what Wayne described as a slow day, I counted at least 7 phone calls and almost as many visiters. One typical visit was from a local who brought along his young helper who's homemade D-18 had horrible action. After about 15 minutes local chit chat, Wayne started to set up the guitar. The local says "while you're doing that, I'll go service your oil burner" and wanders off to the house. 15 minutes later, the oil burner is serviced, the guitar is set up great. This is then followed by 25 minutes of "how much do I owe you?" "Nothing, how much do I owe you?," with both parties fully aware from the outset that no money will ever change hands. What a great lifestyle.

    I can't recommend Wayne enough as a builder, player and great guy. I hope you're lucky enough to get a Henderson some day, but not until after I get mine.
    Tom Mylet

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    I'll let Wayne figure out who gets what first, second or third. I just would like to get one some day and will continue my pestering no matter when I get it.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    I played one. It was pretty old. It was poorly setup (the action was too low and it buzzed) but from what I could tell it sounded really good.

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    Registered User JimRichter's Avatar
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    I can't recall if Alex played mine or not, but mine wasn't so much poorly set up, as there was a raised area (maybe some bad frets) down around the 15th fret. #Thing needed some fret work, so maybe it's fair to say that it was poorly set up.

    Any case, I owned an early Henderson F5, around a 1980. #I'm sorry but I can't remember the number. # But it was a great mandolin--a great mandolin. #I wouldn't have sold it if I didn't need the cash. #But then again, had I not sold it, I would never have become a staunch Kimble man.

    The mandolin had a really skinny neck, played wonderfully, and had a great meaty voice to it. #It was more than loud enough and articulation was very good up and down the neck (except when getting up past the 12th fret). #Beautiful woods. #Wayne even hand made the tailpiece (I tried to include a photo). #

    Some of you may remember these photos cause I posted them a couple years ago when I owned it. #One thing I can say is that Mike Guggino of Steep Canyon #Rangers was playing a Henderson till he recently entered the Kimble camp--says something about Will.

    Jim
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    Photo 2
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    Registered User JimRichter's Avatar
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    Last one. I do want to add that the ###### pickguard was not original and was an add on from the person I bought it from. Also, it shows my brief period of using the IMO silly grommets to reduce sympathetic harmonics. I don't think I've used them since.
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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    It's easier to find a Loar than a Henderson!

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    Registered User John M. Riley's Avatar
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    i played one...they are pretty darn good. the one i played was proably his most recent one... it was just a couple weeks old at the time, i think... reminded me alot of a collings mf5...
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    I have one of Wayne's F5's, # 42. I bought it new from Wayne in 1982. It will be passed down to my children...To me, it has the Loar sound.. Over the years, I have played 3 Loars and done an A/B comparison with one of them and my Henderson..I'm very very happy. It has a Fern headstock and " Henderson" in script. Wayne even hand built the case for it! The color and sunburst are darker than the Henderson pictures from Jim R.. I saw Wayne this past year and showed it to him, he was pleased with the way it sounded too! The only thing I have changed is the tailpiece, I put a Monteleone style tail piece on it about 9 years ago. The quality and workmanship are incredible. And Wayne is just a wonderful person! If you want to learn about Wayne, read "Clapton's Guitar" by Allen St. John. A great book!
    Jeff
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    Registered User G. Fisher's Avatar
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    Looks like it's going to be a Merry Chirstmas for me. I spoke to Wayne last night and he has my mando in the white. He said it should be done in about a week.

    “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

    My Mandos:
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    2001 Lloyd LaPlant F5 #106
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    1990 Gibson/Carlson F5L

  16. #16

    Default Re: Henderson mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by mandophil(e) View Post
    I'm wondering if anyone on Cafe has ever played or owned a mandolin built by Wayne Henderson? Any feedback would be appreciated.
    I have a Henderson mandolin which Wayne built in exchange for an old mandolin that was in the family. It plays really well and sounds great.
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  17. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyw View Post
    I have a Henderson mandolin which Wayne built in exchange for an old mandolin that was in the family. It plays really well and sounds great.
    I know that this is a 16-year old thread but that is a very cool Henderson mandolin. I can’t imagine that he made many oval-hole A-styles.
    Jim

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    harvester of clams Bill McCall's Avatar
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    I'm really curious what was the 'old mandolin' that was traded.
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  20. #19
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henderson mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I know that this is a 16-year old thread but that is a very cool Henderson mandolin. I can’t imagine that he made many oval-hole A-styles.
    I can think of 6 oval hole Henderson’s that I know about, but am sure the total Wayne built is a few more than that!

    The last time I looked in Wayne’s build book (maybe 2 or 3 months back) total mandolins built was up to 150.
    Russ Jordan

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    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henderson mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    The last time I looked in Wayne’s build book (maybe 2 or 3 months back) total mandolins built was up to 150.
    That's fascinating. I had no idea that he'd made so many. Especially when building flat top guitars is almost certainly by far, the most profitable for him. I can only imagine that he relishes the challenge. And that's as good a reason as any.
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  23. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    That's fascinating. I had no idea that he'd made so many. Especially when building flat top guitars is almost certainly by far, the most profitable for him. I can only imagine that he relishes the challenge. And that's as good a reason as any.
    I think the number of Henderson guitars vs mandolins is driven by what is ordered rather than which instrument is most profitable.
    Russ Jordan

  24. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    I think the number of Henderson guitars vs mandolins is driven by what is ordered rather than which instrument is most profitable.
    Very well stated.
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  25. #23
    ************** Caleb's Avatar
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    I was at a festival once and two brothers were playing old time music at their campsite. Nice guys who let me sit in and take the musical quality down several notches by doing so. They each had a Henderson mandolin, both oval holes, I believe. They let me play them and they were wonderful instruments.
    ...

  26. #24

    Default Re: Henderson mandolins

    It was an early 20th century round back mandolin built by a new york luthier with an Italian name (i don't remember the name), which belonged to my grandmother. It had some really intricate craftsmanship but was impossible to tune and didn't really sound that great. The back had a crack in it as I remember. It was at my mom's house and I guess Wayne saw it and offered to build one in exchange.
    Last edited by kennyw; Dec-01-2022 at 12:54pm.

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    Default Re: Henderson mandolins

    I forgot to say that this mandolin is #74

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