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Mandocello build series #18: Gibson style Mandocello Full build

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Blog entry by Tomy Hovington posted 02-29-2020 01:34 AM 1218 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Installing the Binding on the Mandocello Part 18 of Mandocello build series series no next part

over a year ago I started my florentine style Mandocello based on prints that I’ve presonnaly made. so to be accurate I’ve started this build when I started gathering information about this instrument, size, dimentions, scale length, pro and cons etc… so in reality, I’ve been working on this baby for over 4 years.

well last week I’ve finally did the final setup and call it a wrap. I’ve just finished the editing on the full build and i’m happy to share with you all here…

let me know your thoughts!
https://youtu.be/edIKJsldijY

-- Tomy Hovington



3 comments so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7170 posts in 4436 days


#1 posted 02-29-2020 05:37 PM

Great video, Tommy. I watched the whole thing from start to finish. I was very impressed by some of your techniques, and templates you used during the build. Back in the day I worked with a guy in Oklahoma, and we built resiphonic guitars (they were known as DoBros), and we built all the jigs for all the parts. My question is: What was the purpose of putting the f-hole sound board on the back of the mandocello that sat on the little blocks.? And what was the small tool (it looked like a mini router) used to rout out the grove for the binding.? I also built an F5-style mandolin patterened after an old Gibson mandolin…I think I told you that some time back. When I did the mother of pearl inlay on the peghead and neck of the guitars, I cut it out just like you did with a coping saw, but used a Dremel tool to cut the pattern to inset it in the neck….!! Anyway I enjoyed watching the video, and following the build.

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Tomy Hovington's profile

Tomy Hovington

169 posts in 2428 days


#2 posted 02-29-2020 06:16 PM

Hi Rick, the little soundboard on blocks is called a Virzi tone producer. Sitting under the bridge it gets into motion when a string is plucked. It adds partials to the overall sound. In a bluegrass setting it is not ideal as it is more mellow and not as bright, but in a orchestra ensemble it would definitely sound great. It was invented and patented by the Virzi brother’s mostly in the violin family but was introduced in the Mandolin family when Lloyd loar was still at Gibson. Before the bluegrass really took off.

The mini router is an attachment for the Dremel you can find on stewmac website. It is used on archtops to cut the binding channel. the referring edge is narrow compared to a guitar Binding router jig Which make a better cut. I do use a Gramil to score the binding edge beforehand.

Thanks for your following and watching.

-- Tomy Hovington

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7170 posts in 4436 days


#3 posted 03-01-2020 08:31 PM

Hi Tomy,

I thought I would post a picture of my F5-syle Gibson mandolin I built back in the day….around 1983-4. The back and sides are Curly Birdseye Maple, the top is an 80 year old piece of Sitka Spruce I got from Martin Guitar Co., and the neck is Mahogany. In the neck I laminated a piece of Cherry wood just to spruce it up a little. It has a Walnut overlay on the peghead, and Gibson tuners. I can’t remember where I ordered the binding and all the parts from. I think the tailpiece is a Gibson, but not sure….Too many years ago…:) I built the neck and body, did all the scroll work, then I sent the mandolin to a good friend of mine who worked in the mandolin dept. at Gibson. He put on the overlay on the peghead ( I had already did the mop inlay), and sprayed the sunburst finish, and then sprayed on lacquer. Put the parts on the mandolin, and once dried, put it in a new case. By the way, my friend’s name was Charley Derrington, who also repaired Bill Monroe’s 1923 Lloyd Loar after vandals broke into his home and busted the mandolin up with a fire poker…He put it back together splinter by splinter and piece by piece….!!

Didn’t mean to ramble…just a little background history…...Here’s a couple of pictures of the mandolin…

I had a picture of the label you could read under the f-hole, but can’t find it…..Anyway, that’s the mandolin….!


-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

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