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I'm making me an 8 string.....electric mandolin


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A few months back, my buddy Hook--@skullsessions--suggested to me that he and a couple of his bandmates might be interested in electric mandolins. I was working on Cody at the time, and while I was carving I mentally designed one. I figured I ought to build one first, to sort of get the taste of it before committing to anything. They had tiny teles in mind, but what I wanted to start with is more of a nod to the F-style.

So I re-sawed a zebra wood plank I had leftover, badly, and glued it up. Then I sharpened up my trusty low angle plane and got to work making shavings.

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Cody had to come out and see what I was doing.

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Then I rough cut the body to shape and started prepping the gluing surface.

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I wonder if they make mando sized P-90s?

SR

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After a bit more leveling, yet still matte, I had to have a few in the sunlight. This is closer to actual color...but still a bit hot from the direct sunlight. SR

This is fun stuff! SR

In the bright sunlight. And with the first coat of Tru-Oil. SR  

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54 minutes ago, psikoT said:

Great!

I'm wondering... do you have the plans already, do you make them in the computer or you don't even use plans?

The plans are mostly in my head....

I do have detailed plans for an acoustic mandolin.. I took the body outline from that  for a general idea of size and modified the shape to match what is in my head. I did scribble out a sketch to see how it would look. I'll use the plans for fret placement. The rest of it will be constructed pretty much the way I make my guitars. I'll use the plan for a starting point for the nut width and wait till I have a bridge to set the neck width and angle.

SR

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In all my years, I never thought of that as a planing jig to hold irregular shapes.  Need to make one now - my round brass dogs are barely ever in the right position.  Such a wealth of info in your pic - I never applied sandpaper to the bottom of my plane either, just struggled holding paper over a block of wood for flat sanding.  My two 3M stickit blocks are great though - holds the rolls and you tear off old, and pull new, but the felt bottoms aren't good for flattening, so the plane is better with the built in handles.   

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14 minutes ago, StratsRdivine said:

In all my years, I never thought of that as a planing jig to hold irregular shapes.  Need to make one now - my round brass dogs are barely ever in the right position.  Such a wealth of info in your pic - I never applied sandpaper to the bottom of my plane either, just struggled holding paper over a block of wood for flat sanding.  My two 3M stickit blocks are great though - holds the rolls and you tear off old, and pull new, but the felt bottoms aren't good for flattening, so the plane is better with the built in handles.   

You know.....I built that little work bench over twenty years ago and yesterday was the first time I thought of using those bits of screen printing blade material with a nail through them as bench dogs. I have no clue why it took so long for that to occur to me, it's a bit embarrassing.:blush

I have been using the plane as a sanding block for a number of years and it works great.

SR

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9 minutes ago, komodo said:

I'll never get enough of that little bench cube! Didn't it have a vice on it?

The sandpaper / plane is genius. Total headsmacker moment.

It does have a vice on it. It's turned so it is on the side....and mostly cropped out of the pics. It has been a very useful bench for a lot of years.

SR

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4 minutes ago, Mr Natural said:

Didnt you build one for your daughter in law or so a couple years back??

I did build her an 8 string mandolin, but those play like 4 string instruments.

I think Andrew is talking about an 8 string shredder like he's been building lately.

SR

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On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 8:52 PM, ScottR said:

I wonder if they make mando sized P-90s?

Again, pardon my complete ignorance, but,

I am wondering what any kind of  pickups work for a mandolin?

And ... would a short-scale mando-bass be possible? (as in 28 or 30" scale)

 

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13 hours ago, charisjapan said:

Again, pardon my complete ignorance, but,

I am wondering what any kind of  pickups work for a mandolin?

And ... would a short-scale mando-bass be possible? (as in 28 or 30" scale)

 

 

I used a rail pickup on mine. There are some custom jobs and small manufacturers out there though.

As far as a mandobass, it does exist. It would depend on tuning, but 28" might just be on the long end of the mandocello scale.

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On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 8:52 PM, ScottR said:

I wonder if they make mando sized P-90s?

SR

Was looking around and found this!

Seymour Duncan Custom Shop P90 for Mandolin

I am barely able to play a 4-string bass, but after building the short-scale, wondered if I could make an even shorter scale ... and something different!  My Sunday band plays pretty mild stuff, so don't really need a huge amount of thud or volume.

 

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12 hours ago, charisjapan said:

Was looking around and found this!

Seymour Duncan Custom Shop P90 for Mandolin

I am barely able to play a 4-string bass, but after building the short-scale, wondered if I could make an even shorter scale ... and something different!  My Sunday band plays pretty mild stuff, so don't really need a huge amount of thud or volume.

 

That's flippin' awesome! Thank you for that.:)

As far as the as the short scale mando-bass goes, I'd say it doesn't have to exist to be doable. If you can dream it up and conceive of a way to build it, it can be done. In fact those are probably the most exciting builds to my mind.

SR

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On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 10:54 PM, ScottR said:

I have been using the plane as a sanding block for a number of years and it works great.

SR

Nice Tip!!

Used 3M on my #5-1/2 today, and was perfect for finishing the pinstriped Wenge fretboard.  I was pretty close just eyeball/sand/measure/eyeball/etc. but the flatness of the plane plus the weight plus the handles made it exact!

Thank you!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been spending quite a bit of time turning a twisted rough cut jotaba timber into a straight square neck blank, and a twisted cupped little piece of cocobolo into a flat fretboard blank. Once that was close to done, I taped my fretboard plan to an old drawing/light table that I rescued from work some time back. It was being put out to pasture since computers, Photoshop and Illustrator took over for drawing and drafting. I taped some paper over the plan flipped on the light and did some light drafting of my own.

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I traced out the fret pattern square to the center line and to a parallel data line that will line up to the straight edge of the fretboard blank.

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Cocobolo shavings look like candy!:D

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That cocobolo was much darker when I started.

SR

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I glued the pattern to my blank and used shims to hold it tightly in place and cut my slots. This is the first time I've cut slots with a notched template...it went fairly smoothly.

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My bridge came in, so I was able to use it to lay out my neck outlines on the blank. I had already cut the headstock angle, and located the nut and fretboard. I clamped it in place and drill some locating holes. I used finishing nails clipped off below the height of the fretboard for my pegs.

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I decided to create a little overhang for the fretboard over the neck tenon. I'm not ready to cut the tenon yet, but I need to start the cut and create a little space that doesn't have fretboard glued to it.

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And it's glued up.

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SR

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