Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

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Brian Evans
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

Post by Brian Evans »

A friend of mine wants to get a good but cheap mandolin (we are looking at used). I can't find her one within Covid driving distance to even try, and the ones on line near here seem to think that a 10 year old laminated far east instrument has somehow doubled in price from when it was new. So I'm bored a bit, looking for a quick project to keep busy with this winter, got lots of wood, why not make one? I make fully carved archtop guitars. An A-style mandolin is kinda like a a small, round archtop guitar, I figure - carved, graduated top and back plates, tone-bar braces, could probably do a dovetail neck joint, otherwise similar. I have one to copy (1930's Kay with a pressed top, mind you). How different are they, really, in terms of skill-set and technique?

Brian

Darrel Friesen
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

Post by Darrel Friesen »

If you've already built archtops, it should present no problems. An F style would have a few more areas requiring attention as you likely know with getting the scroll and particularly the binding right. Sounds like you're planning more of an A style. I've also seen some archtop shapes done which look very cool to me. I've not done a mandolin but did make an archtop ukulele some years back. Way less carving than a full size archtop so much quicker to build for me.

Dave Meyrick
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Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:24 pm

Re: Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

Post by Dave Meyrick »

Are you aware of Graham McDonald's work: The Mandolin Project?

Good description of his build technique. Once you start reading about mandolins you find there is no standardised way of doing them. I have it on the list to try a flat backed version.

Good Luck Dave M

Dave Meyrick
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Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:24 pm

Re: Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

Post by Dave Meyrick »

Nigel Forster has some pretty pictures of his style of building on his website. DM

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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Mandolin - small archtop guitar or completely different?

Post by Barry Daniels »

Building a flattop/flatback instrument first might give you a better understanding of how this size of a mandolin works before you commit to the fully carved one. A flat one is so much quicker to build.
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