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Thread: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

  1. #1
    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I'm narrowing in on what I want in a mandolin, now that I've been playing three of them: A with F holes; F5 with F Holes and a round hole flat top ... ala my Big Muddy.

    The Big Muddy seems to be my favorite, but I hate the tailpiece and need an armrest. I was thinking of getting one of these puppies:

    http://www.elderly.com/accessories/i...TRAD-A-GLD.htm

    I was also thinking of getting some kind of design put around the sound hole.

    Does this seem doable?

    Thanks kindly for any ideas and advice.
    Just visiting.

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    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I almost got one of those Weber tailpieces. They're so pretty I started to drool but I ended up with another kind, a McClung. I opted for the black ebony with a silver/gold Texas Star on it. (Yes, Texas has it's own stars, of course.) It gussied up my mando and kept it understated at the same time. It was also 1/3 the price of the Weber and 1/3 was the inlay work.

    But I still like that Weber.

    Here's a quick pic from my ancient phone digicam.

    Last edited by greg_tsam; Oct-15-2011 at 11:22pm.
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    Registered User John Gardinsky's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Having a rosette installed around the sound hole of an already built mandolin is likely to cost quite a bit I would imagine. On a Big Muddy possibly a third or half of what it is worth. This is just a guess mind you. If you were commissioning a build then I assume it would be a bit less. Your armrest you have chosen requires changing out the tailpiece which sometimes is a simple swap and sometimes requires filling and drilling new holes. Many armrests come independent of the tailpiece and attach with the same hardware used on vioin chinrests.
    Last edited by John Gardinsky; Oct-15-2011 at 8:48pm. Reason: spelling

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    That Weber tailpiece may be designed for an arch top instrument.. You might want to ask before buying.

    At one time, the Mid Mos (Now Big Muddy) could be ordered with the tops having burned designs (Celtic artwork for example). I think the burnt wood color on the natural finish looked very classy. Contact Mike Dulak about something along those lines if it is still offered.

    From the Big muddy website you can see an example in this photo for their hard case.


    Jamie
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    Studies dead guys. Mandoviol's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I wonder if you could have a lute/gittern/renaissance cittern-style carved rosette installed in the soundhole. That would actually look really pretty on one of these.
    "When I heard what Socrates had done on the lyre, I wished indeed even [I had done] that...but certainly I labored hard in letters!" - Cicero, "Cato the Elder on Old Age"
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Doug over at Hill Country Stringworks makes an armrest specifically for Big Muddy/Mid-Mo mandolins, here's a link to a page where his different armrests are described - just scroll down to find the ones I'm talking about:

    http://www.hillcountrystringworks.com/readystock.html

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    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Oh, that's a pretty mandolin, Jamie. Thanks, Greg & Jill. Those McClung armrests are certainly more reasonably priced than the Weber tailpiece combo. I'm thinking I can get a tailpiece I like along with a McClung armrest and I'm good to go.

    Hmmm ... sounds like the rosette design will have to wait until I can afford a custom mandolin, John.

    Thanks for the help folks! The cafe always comes through!
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
    Newish Muddy M-4 Mandolin
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Judging by the picture, it looks like it comes with a free pick, so how can you go wrong? ;-)
    I agree-- it's pretty but on the expensive side.
    I have one resembling the McClung (I forget the maker) and it works just fine, for a lot less. Looks excellent too, in curly Maple.
    If you have any woodworking experience, you can make your own. I made one for my recently completed IV kit. It was easy and the results were excellent. You can get viola chin rest hardware for International Violins.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Hahaha, Paul ... indeed the free pick is the deal maker. I'm really liking the McClung armrest with the pretty hummingbird inlay. I emailed Doug to see if that particular one would fit the muddy.

    Found a reasonably priced open tailpiece (really don't like the el cheapo ones with the lids) .... this just might work.
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
    Newish Muddy M-4 Mandolin
    New Deering Goodtime Special open back 17 Fret Tenor Banjo

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I met Walt Kuhlman of Gypsy's Music this weekend at the CMSA convention and we talked a bunch since we were neighbors in the vendors' room. He makes simple flattop mandolins similar to Big Muddy's but with a different tailpiece. Astrid Wolf also works with him and does some beautiful carving -- they showed me a guitar top with some very attractive Celtic carving. You can see some examples here.

    I played his instruments and they are quite nice with wooden tailpieces. I am sure he can design an armrest as well. Anyway, another possibility.
    Jim

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Nice work from Walt Kuhlman, Jim. His mandolins make a good case for the unadorned soundhole.

    Mick
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    Registered User raulb's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    $180 for the Weber!?!?!?!? 3-4 months delivery???? You can custom order a McClung and have it on your mando in 2 weeks for about $40. I think mine is great. Maybe Doug will even throw in a pick if you ask him reallllllly nice?
    raulb

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  13. #13

    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    To be fair the Weber shown is a one piece tailpiece armrest combination.
    Bill Snyder

  14. #14

    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I bought a Steve Bell armrest that is beautifully made, and easily switched from one mandolin to another - unlike the combination armrest/tailpiece design. It is also a LOT cheaper.

    I love the look of Weber mandolins, but think they are let down by horrible tailpiece designs, so if I was in the market for a fancier tailpiece, I would certainly look elsewhere.

    rm

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    no accounting for taste - as they say - but, armrest aside, i'd leave the "gussying-up" out. mike's design is simplicity itself - pure proportions and shape; excellent finish, etc., etc.. with the passage of time, a fine patina of essence of human oil on the sound and fingerboards will show more originality than anything else.

    i thought of putting a rose in the sound hole of my m-0 and substituting the tuning pegs with some gotoh (spelling?) ukulele pegs - to make it look more medieval - but thankfully talked myself out of it.

    just my 2 cents, but why mess with perfection?

  16. #16
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    I have a Weber tailpiece (Sans Armrest) on my 2 Mid Missouris. I also have a Cumberland Acoustics Armrest on one and a McClung on the other. I am happy with all, but would recommend the McClung slightly over the Cumberland Acoustic. Only for the Slight Increse in Angle on the McClung.

    I also hav e a home-made pick guard that I designed myself. It is an abreviated one with a point. The M-4 is of Ebony and the M-1 is of Cherry. I had them friction fitting under the fingerboard but I have crazy glued one in and put a pin for the other.

  17. #17
    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Thanks for all the help. The cafe comes though again!

    Iíve been properly steered away from the $180 Weber combo with the ridiculous wait. Iím getting a rosewood McClung tailpiece with a hummingbird inlay to match the rosewood of my Muddy. I found this tailpiece, and it looks like itís going to fit nicely: http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=9093

    Thanks, Jim, those Walt Kuhlman mandolins are gorgeous. I may consider one. I love, love, love the tone of my Muddy. What I really want, when I can afford it, is a mandolin with a tone like the Muddy with a radiused fretboard, a little fancy pants rosette and an Allen kind of tailpiece.

    If I'm going to sit out tunes I don't know at a session, I want my mandolin to look pretty. That way maybe folks won't notice I'm not playing it.
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
    Newish Muddy M-4 Mandolin
    New Deering Goodtime Special open back 17 Fret Tenor Banjo

  18. #18
    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	78414Okay ... getting there! Mike at Big Muddy is gonna install a radiused fretboard and put on the nice tail piece I bought. I just put on the McClung armrest I got from Doug at Hill Country String works. The muddy's getting real pretty!
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
    Newish Muddy M-4 Mandolin
    New Deering Goodtime Special open back 17 Fret Tenor Banjo

  19. #19
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Loretta,

    Have you considered one of the Flatiron pancakes in a 3 series? I had a beautiful 3MB mandola, have a 3K bouzouki, and have seen many pictures of 3-series mandolins that are quite mouth-watering. Does the herringbone rosette of these instruments constitute "a fancy pants rosette" from your perspective? Check the "impulsive purchase ... Flatiron 1N" thread if you dare.

    Just askin'....
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  20. #20

    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    "pretty muddy" ... looking good, loretta!

  21. #21
    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Yeah, she sure is pretty, Bill. The hummingbird is just the ticket.

    Oh, those Flatirons look awesome. Yes, the herringbone is definitely fancy pants. They don't make them anymore? That's what I gathered from doing a few searches, Michael. My goal, however, is not to buy another mandolin right now. My long term goal is to have fellow Portlander, Keith Newell, build me my dream mandolin. It's gonna take a while to save up for that one.
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Sorry for having misinterpreted, Loretta. I only skimmed the final post you made ahead of mine (your #18 above) and didn't understand that you already -had- the Big Muddy you were considering having modified. I'm going to add a picture of a -very- nice-looking 3MW Flatiron that was for sale from Boston a year or two ago. An owner had addressed the top scratches coming from enthusiastic play w/o a pick guard by engaging a luthier to mill out (some unspecified but probably) a shallow recess and inlay a pickguard. And they did the headstock, too. My gosh, it's pretty, like the upper-end (also Boston-based) Vega cylinderbacks. I was too scared of a weakened top and subsequent splits to pull that particular trigger. But it's beautiful work, and I rather hope I see it for sale again sometime.
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    Registered User Mary Weber's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    Well, the armrests are $180.00 but not a 3-4 month wait (unless we lost track of an individual's order sometime or something, and if a dealer orders several at once they can take a little while). I am going to be posting these as soon as we set a price for them...we thought they make great stocking stuffer for that mando player in the family. It's our endpin (that won't fall out) they'll come with the rubber endpin hole insert too...
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  24. #24
    Unruly Crumudgeon Loretta Callahan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    No sweats, Michael. Wow ... that Flatiron is quite lovely. Just what I'm looking for ... if I had the cash!

    Beautiful, Mary .... is an endpin what fits into the tailpiece??
    Just visiting.

    1923 Gibson A jr Paddlehead mandolin
    Newish Muddy M-4 Mandolin
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  25. #25
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How to gussy up a Big Muddy

    To answer that question Loretta, That is a standard endpin (fancier though) that comes with a Weber Tailpiece. It has to be drilled out to 1/2 inch instead of the taper for a noral endpin. You screw it into a rubber insert that tightens against the sides of the hole. Works great.

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