Friday, 12 June 2009

Mandolin Stuff

Mandolins are a bugger. Were I a guitarist of note there would be millions of guitarists to compare me with and demonstrate that I'm a guitarist of relatively poor achievement. When it comes to famous mandolin players, it's like the old business of trying to name famous Belgians. There are loads of them but nobody quite recalls them. Thus, it is incumbent upon me to represent famous mandolin players in Ledbury, even though I only know half-a-dozen chords and thrash them out like I am trying to saw a biscuit tin in half with a junior hacksaw.
Talking of which, why do I get funny looks when I go into Rodway's and ask for the Adult hacksaw section?
Cutting to the main story, an acquaintance of mine brought an ancient mandolin to me, explaining that it had been a gift and that he wanted to know if it could be rendered "playable". Looking at the poor thing, it was indeed in bad shape. I took it home for further inspection. Peering through the soundhole I could see the Vicar's house through the back - and the Vicar waving - not the best sign for a mandolin. The neck had been replaced at some point in its history and had been set at the wrong angle, producing an unplayably high action. The tailpiece was shattered - generally speaking, it's a good idea to have something to tie the ends of the strings to. The face was sunken, like your granny's cheeks when she tries to smoke a tightly rolled ciggie.
However, the Secret Laboratory loves a challenge...
Back glued together, no more gaps. French Polish applied!
New tailpiece! Bit of old scrap alu found in the dark recesses of the Secret Laboratory.

Some Abalone used to replace the missing Mother-of-Pearl inlay.
In short, this mando is now just about playable. I've worked on the action but I just can't get it down any further - there's no room. The sound, however, is astonishing! I wish my regular mando sounded so bright.
By the way, I can thoroughly recommend "The Secret of Successful French Polishing" [Lindsey Doyle].

1 comment:

  1. OOps.Put my comment for this one,on the next one,sorry.