honduran mahogany in progress
This looks like a place to show off "new" instruments. This is not a build from wood stock but a conversion. This instrument started life in 1951 as a New York Epiphone Zenith arch top guitar. (I say New York because at that time Epiphone was still and independent American company competing with Gibson et al.).
Briefly, I removed the guitar tuners, filled the holes with mahogany pegs, and re-finished. I made a K-5 style tailpiece and fitted a new bridge and then had Big Joe's Guitarworks in Goodlettesville, TN install the Grover mini-tuners and do the initial set up. I was concerned about the additional tension from the mandocello strings and wanted a bona fide expert evaluate it after the first stringing and tune-up. Attached are a link to a YouTube video of the instrument -- please ignore my statement about "carved sides -- I realize it when I said it but did not want to interrupt the video.
Here was a quick attempt to play it (Glasgow Reel) the day I got it back. I've improved a lot on the mandocello since that day -- still trying to decide between mandolin and guitar fretting. This mandocello is still a "handful" to play with the wide (1 11/16" nut) guitar neck. Gibson had the mandocello neck right with the 1 1/2" nut, flowing to 2" at fret# 21.
Couple of pics also...the "new" mandocello and how it compares in size with the Gibson K-1
That's very nice. I have a soft spot for 12th fret guitars. I remember a thread a year or two ago where we talked about the 13 fret Nick Lucas. I've wondered a lot about this configuration but, in the mean time, the 12 fret configuration is a treat to me. Beautiful guitar, Dave.
Thanks Ned. I remember that thread; in fact, that's what inspired me to build it, and very rewarding it was. I managed to produce a guitar with that early Dylan sound but also with a very rich range of overtones.. I think I really found the sweet spot for the bridge. Also loved the King Billy pine for the s/b..... it has characteristics I haven't encountered in other top material. I'm also trying out Aussie celery top pine which looks promising. Tried Huon but found it too dense although it would probably make good back/sides for flamenco.
Beautiful guitar!. If the back and sides are the blackwood --it does not look very "black" but it is a lovely wood nonetheless.
Or do you mean the fingerboard/headstock is Tasmanian black wood? I assumed the real black colored wood is the native ebony that grows down there?
Thanks Bernie. The back and sides are Tasmanian Blackwood (acacia melanoxylon)and yes, I can't see the reason for the name. It's a native to Tasmania and unfortunately has been extensively over-logged...there are still people in Tasmania who use it for firewood! Much of the timber is being reclaimed from stumps and as sinker wood. What doesn't show up on the photo is the beautiful flame this wood has. The characteristics are somewhere between mahogany and koa and it tends to have a wild grain which can be difficult to plane.
Other woods: neck's Honduras mahogany, f/b ebony and bandings, facings,rosette and bridge are made of Madagascar rosewood....I was given a beautiful piece, so dark it looks like ebony!