Electric Mandolin

This cool little one, is the first of the Drake electric mandolins.  Rosie and I wanted to see what we could do with some of the smaller pieces of wood around the shop, so we designed a couple of mandolins.  We thought that it would be nice to have a solid body feel, with electronics, but to still have some of the acoustic tone as well.  The result is this chambered out semi-hollow body mando.

The neck is of Hard Maple, quarter sawn, with a dual action truss rod inside.  The fret board is of some nice Rosewood that sports 22 EVO gold frets.  [EVO is between nickel and stainless steel as far as hardness rating].  The peghead front and back are the same Rosewood that made the fret board.

The body is Basswood with Cherry wood on the front and back.  Walnut accent stripes between the layers of the body.  Rosewood cavity cover.

The tuners are Gotoh and the bridge is custom made to use ball end strings.  I made the nut out of bone and finished the instrument with gloss urethane.






Bajo Quinto 050512

This is a Bajo Quinto made for a local customer here in Iowa.  It is used primarily in “Norteño” music of northern Mexico and across the border in the music of south Texas known as “Tejano music” or “Conjunto”.  The instrument is strung with 5 string courses that are tuned A D G C F.

The customer wanted to have a bajo that looks like an acoustic instrument but with electronics so that he could play it through an amplifier.   We made a semi hollow version that consists of layer of Mahogany wood that was reclaimed from a historical building in Des Moines.  I then hollowed out the Mahogany core and topped it with a beautiful Quilted Maple top.  The back was made from the same Mahogany as the core.  I then cut a faux sound hole and inlaid a rosette made with abalone shell and mother of pearl.  I then added some faux abalone shell binding that the customer picked out for this project. 

The neck is made from Jatoba, Wenge, and Hard Maple.  For strength we added two carbon fiber rods and a dual action truss rod.  The peghead is topped with Quilted Maple and Mahogany.  The 25.5 inch scale Cocobolo fret board has 19 gold tone frets and abalone shell diamond inlays.

The electronics we used is a EMG single coil pickup wired with a 9 volt circuit and with volume and tone controls.  We used Hipshot guitar tuners and I made a custom bridge out of Cocobolo wood.

A fun but exhausting project.  I plan to use this sort of design for some basses and guitars in the future.


TSP “The Science Project” 121110

This is what we have been calling The Science Project or TSP-8. She is a 34 inch scale tap style bass instrument that was commisioned back in October of 2010. She has a Padauk/ Wenge/ Maple neck with a Wenge fret board which is accented by Zebrawood block inlay, binding, and peghead veneer. Her body is made of Padauk with a center lamination of Wenge and Maple that matches the laminations in her neck. Her electronics are EMG DC40 bass humbuckers with a 9 volt configuration and mono output jack. Her hardware consists of Sperzel brand locking bass and guitar tuners. Her bridge is a Hipshot brand 8 string hardtail.
She was probably the most complicated build for me as of yet due to the fact that I have never built such a beast before. She was a lot of fun to build and she took a lot of thought and pre-planning to get her to this point. I can see building another one in the future as these type of instruments are as interesting as the people who know how to play them.