Available Instruments & New Work
The first gallery is of the third in there series of art-deco style mandolins inspired by the work of Jimmy D’Aquisto, the highly respected arch-top guitar maker from New York. In the book The Master’s Bench, published by the National Music Museum in South Dakota, is a sketch of a mandolin which was never built. This sketch was the start of this design. This one is made from bearclaw Sitka spruce and quilted Big-Leaf maple with an ebony fingerboard and burl walnut head overlay. The binding is tortoise celluloid with Gotoh tuners and an Allen cast bronze tailpiece. This instrument is available from emando.com in Seattle WA
Above is the latest of the King Billy pine and Huon pine oval hole mandolins. Both timbers only grow on the southern Australian island of Tasmania. The King Billy is related to North American Western Red cedar and makes a excellent soundboard. Huon is a relatively heavy conifer, wonderfully fragrant and combines with the King Billy to make a light and responsive mandolin. The neck is Australian Red cedar (a hardwood similar to mahogany) with a carbonfiber bar reinforcement. The fretboard is Madagascan rosewood using a zero fret with a Ziricote head overlay. Rubner tuners, an Allen cast bronze tailpiece and tortoise celluloid binding. The filler strip at the tail is a piece of Australian mulga.
When I started to think about the Australian Mandolin Quartet I wondered how f-holes might work with a King Billy pine soundboard. These are not so much f-holes as the sound holes developed for the Art-Deco series, but worked will with the combination of King Billy and Huon pine. This one has an Australian blackwood neck and matching binding with a Madagascan rosewood fretboard, an ebony head overlay, Gotoh tuners and Allen tailpiece. The soundboard has a small knot on the front treble side, but it is cosmetic.
I found a tracing I had made years ago when a Stromberg-Voisinet mandolin came to me for repair. They were made for only a few years in the 1920s by the company which became Kay musical instruments a couple of years later. The mandolin below is not a direct copy, but very much inspired by the original. A Sitka spruce canted soundboard and a body made from Tulip Satinwood, an Australian hardwood fro the northern NSW rainforests in Australia. An excellent tonewood and virtually unobtainable. A Queensland maple neck with a short classical scale 13”/33 cm Madagascan rosewood fretboard, Gotoh tuners and Ivoroid binding..