Tuesday 12 September 2023

Electric Mandolins (emandos)

I've always enjoyed making the occasional solid bodied instrument; I like the sculptural process of shaping a large solid piece of wood by hand. So, it's only natural that I find myself building e-mandos. An electric, solid body mandolin offers a robust alternative to an acoustic instrument for the gigging musician or an interesting variation for the player who wants a different voice.
There are many possible designs and here you can see some of mine, including 4 and 8 string octave mandolin variants.
humbucker & piezo pick-ups with stereo output

humbucker & piezo pick-ups with stereo output

Black walnut left handed version 
humbucker & piezo pick-ups with stereo output
 Twin humbucker & piezo pick-ups with stereo output

Left-handed Figured Sapele/ash/maple
 Twin humbucker & piezo pick-ups with stereo output

Octave E-mando  
4 string Octave E-mando  

Sycamore and cocobolo, single humbucker, adjustable bridge

Chambered body electric mandolin:
Carved spruce top with Koa back & sides
The chambered body is designed to enhance the natural resonance of the emando and you can see its internal construction (and other details of how I built this emando) in a series of YouTube videos.

Solid body, Tasmanian Blackwood with Bird’s eye maple neck.

Twin humbuckers

Thursday 29 June 2023

Nava Standard Mandolins

My “Standard” mandolins were first introduced in 2011. The intention being, to focus on the features that influence its sound and playability. It has a simple, elegance which depends only on the instrument’s form and its materials rather than any unnecessary decoration: everything you see is pure mandolin. The Japanese word Shibui best describes my approach to its design.

Below are all the “Standards” that I have made. One thing that I didn’t anticipate was, that players who commissioned one, would ask for custom upgrades, this led to the evolution of my “Standard Plus”.

So here they are in chronological order; from July 2011 to now……

 Scroll to the end to see my new version. It now has a 360mm scale length and individual Gotoh mini tuners.

Standard I

Standard II
 This mandolin had the first prototype of my own design of tailpiece
Standard III

Standard IV
Standard V

One thing that I didn’t anticipate was that players would pre-order a “Standard” and ask for custom upgrades…..
 Standard VI
 with herringbone rosette and back strip upgrade.

Standard VII

with tailpiece and head inlay upgrades

Standard VIII
(with cocobolo, abalone rosette and head inlay, and transducer up-grades)

Standard IX  (residing in Finland)

Standard X
(with handmade tailpiece and Headway transducer up-grades)

Standard XI
English walnut and Sitka (now residing in Portugal)

Standard XII
Mahogany and Sitka (with herringbone upgrade)

2022 New version: 360mm scale length and individual Gotoh mini tuners.

Figured Sapele & Adirondack

Figured maple & Adirondack

Adirondack top. English Walnut, back, sides and neck. Bog Oak fretboard and bridge.

Adirondack top. Indian rosewood, back, sides, fretboard and bridge.